VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 18th April, 2018
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PAKISTAN
Army, judiciary urged to work within constitutional framework: Dawn
April 18, 2018

The country’s five major political parties — four of them from the ruling coalition — have vowed to launch a movement for the supremacy of parliament and preservation of the democratic process and urged the army and the judiciary to work within “constitutional framework”. Speaking at a “National Seminar on Sanctity of Ballot” at the National Library auditorium here on Tuesday, supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) president Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and National Party (NP) president Hasil Bizenjo expressed concern over “continued interference of the judiciary and the military in the domain of the executive” and warned that the country could face a 1971-like debacle if they did not act now. Click here to read...

Pakistan cautions India against fanning row over pilgrims: Dawn
April 18, 2018

The Foreign Office (FO) denied an Indian allegation on Tuesday that Pakistan had instigated Sikh pilgrims to agitate over the Khalistan issue and cautioned New Delhi against fanning this controversy. The ongoing row has marred the Sikh pilgrimage for Baisakhi and Khalsa Janamdin ceremonies over the last fortnight. “Pakistan categorically rejects Indian allegations of attempts to incite Indian pilgrims on the issue of Khalistan. By spreading such falsehoods, India has chosen to deliberately stoke further controversy around the visit of Sikh pilgrims,” the FO said in a statement. India’s external affairs ministry handed to Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi a protest over alleged attempts to raise the Kha­listan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims. The ministry asked Pakistan to immediately stop the alleged activities “aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and incitement of disharmony in India”. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan should honour promises, says Abdullah: Pajhwok News
April 17, 2018

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah on Tuesday said a clash between Afghan and Pakistani forces had ended and both sides were trying to deescalate tensions on the Durand Line. The CEO told a gathering here the bodies of five Pakistani paramilitary soldiers, who were killed during the clash with Afghan forces, had been handed over to Pakistan. Referring to the Pakistani prime minister’s recent visit to Kabul, Abdullah said: “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi supported the position of the Afghan government. We expect practical measures from the neighbouring country.” Three days back, a border skirmish erupted between Afghan and Pakistani forces in the Zazai Maidan district of southeastern Khost province. Pakistani soldiers tried to establish a check-post on Afghan soil. On Monday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said 14 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a border clash in Khost province. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Unification hits a snag: Kathmandu Post
April 18, 2018

The unification of the two left parties has hit a major hurdle after CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal questioned the modality of the convention and sought clarity on the further processes. Dahal raised issues of clarity on the processes of finalising leadership and the unified party’s policies during the meeting of Party Unity Coordination Committee (PUCC) that included senior leaders of both parties on Tuesday. Leaders claimed Dahal questioned the working methods of Prime Minister and CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli. The PM’s unilateral decision of reshuffling secretaries and centralizing power at the Prime Minister’s Office has irked many. UML leaders said the vexing issue was the settlement of Chairman Dahal after the unification though the Maoist leaders have talked about equal share and respecting the ‘People’s War’. Some UML leaders opined Dahal wanted his share in leading the government and he wants the agreement formally endorsed. PM Oli is reluctant to do this. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Aid agencies fear for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh's island relocation plan: Reuters
April 17, 2018

Bangladesh has failed to persuade aid agencies to sign up to its plan to move 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island in June, internal documents show, amid fears they could be trapped there at the mercy of cyclones, floods and human traffickers. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring Myanmar are living in crowded camps in Cox’s Bazar District where they are threatened by flooding, disease and landslides with the monsoon season scheduled to start in the coming weeks. The government of Bangladesh has for months been developing Bhasan Char island as an alternative location. However it has not allowed aid agencies to view conditions, and officials failed during an April 4 briefing to convince them it was safe. The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which oversees the camps in Cox’s Bazar under the leadership of the humanitarian agencies’ Strategic Executive Group (SEG), expressed deep caution about the plan. Click here to read...

CHINA
National security will be enhanced: China Daily
April 18, 2018

The Communist Party of China's centralized and unified leadership over national security must be enhanced, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday. Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark while presiding over the first meeting of the National Security Commission of the 19th CPC Central Committee. Click here to read...

Net cast wider for corrupt civil servants: China Daily
April 18, 2018

The first corruption suspect detained by the Zhejiang Supervisory Commission, a civil servant, was imprisoned for 15 years and fined 2 million yuan ($318,000) by Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court in December. China's supervisory commission pilot program had been launched in Zhejiang province, as well as in Beijing and Shanxi province, just over a year earlier. Click here to read...

Donald Trump says US has had ‘extremely high-level’ talks with North Korea, praises Chinese diplomacy: South China Morning Post
April 18, 2018

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that his administration has conducted direct talks with North Korea at “extremely high levels” and praised China for helping to put pressure on Pyongyang. Click here to read...

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