VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 12 March 2018


Banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat faces isolation, plans to contest polls under new name: Dawn
March 12, 2018

The proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) is likely to contest the upcoming general election on its own but in disguise by fielding candidates either as independent or as representatives of another registered party. Some ASWJ leaders belo¬nging to Punjab believed that the group would form an electoral alliance with the largest religious party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl or JUI-Sami but their expectations shattered with the emerging political scene, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, too, was moving away from their traditional allies to take maximum advantage of their closeness with the Pirs and Barelvi groups as witnessed in the recent Lodhran election. ASWJ-backed independent candidate Maulana Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, the son of slain Sipah-i-Sahaba founder Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, had defeated the rival PML-N candidate in the by-election for the Punjab Assembly constituency PP-78 in December 2016. Later, the ASWJ-backed candidate joined the JUI-F, bringing the lone presence of the party to the Punjab Assembly. Click here to read...

Iranian foreign minister to hold talks with civilian, military leaders: Dawn
March 12, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived here on Sunday night on an official visit. He is leading a high-level delegation that includes a large group of businessmen. During his stay in Islamabad, the foreign minister is scheduled to meet Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership. He will also deliver a lecture on 70 years of Pak-Iran ties at the Institute of Strategic Studies. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted by Iranian media as having said that the Iranian minister would review issues of mutual interest with a special focus on expansion of economic and trade relations between the two neighbours. The two countries are continuing to face challenges in ties despite the apparent improvement in them since Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s trip to Tehran late last year. Click here to read...


China, Afghanistan to be connected via rail soon: Envoy: Pajhwok
March 11, 2018

China’s Urumqi area would be connected with northern Afghanistan soon, the country’s envoy in Kabul said Sunday. Liu Jingson was speaking at a meeting here, where a number of political parties’ members and civil society activists were in presence. Jingson said his country wanted to pave the ground for extension of railways through northern Afghanistan’s provinces. He said Urumqi, a commercial town of China, would be soon connected through road and railways with northern region of Afghanistan. Business affairs started through a railroad between Afghanistan and China a year ago, but the process stopped soon after one or two cargo exchanges. Click here to read...


PM Oli secures three-fourths vote: Kathmandu Post
March 12, 2018

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli secured a three-fourths majority at the 275-member strong House of Representatives, emerging as the most powerful executive head of the nation in the post-1990 period. In the vote of confidence motion tabled at Parliament on Sunday, Oli garnered 208 votes out of the total 268 cast. The vote share is over 77 percent when the total vote cast is taken into account and is 75 percent against the total strength of the House. Among the nine parties and an independent present in the Lower House, six parties including an independent, voted for Oli while the Nepali Congress was the only one which stood in the opposition. Out of the total 63 NC lawmakers, 60 who were present in the House voted against the motion. Baburam Bhattarai of the Naya Shakti Party-Nepal was absent, while Prem Suwal of the Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party abstained from the voting process. Click here to read...


Prime MInister Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with President Sirisena: Sunday Times
March 11, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held bilateral talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on key issues, including developmental cooperation, besides holding parleys with leaders from nine other countries on the sidelines of the solar alliance meet, NDTV reported.
Neighbourhood first! PM @narendramodi met Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, on his 5th visit to India as President, on the sidelines of the #ISA. Leaders exchanged views on developmental cooperation, among other areas of bilateral cooperation," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. Click here to read...
US Democrats considering revoking State Counsellor’s honour: Mizzima

March 12, 2018
Some Democrats in the United States are wondering whether Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar human rights advocate and Nobel laureate, should be stripped of her Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honour, according to the website The Hill. Congress voted unanimously in 2008 to present Suu Kyi with the award. A decade later, lawmakers are questioning whether the honor should be revoked over Suu Kyi's reticent response to Myanmar's campaign against the Rohingya. Suu Kyi, now Myanmar's democratically elected civilian leader, has faced intense international backlash over the campaign, which the United Nations has deemed “acts of genocide.” Just this week the Smithsonian’s Holocaust Museum in Washington rescinded a prestigious award named after another Nobel Peace laureate, Elie Wiesel. Click here to read...


Over 40 countries to UN Human Rights Council over Maldives govt ‘regrettable’ decision not to engage: Haveeru
March 10, 2018

A joint statement endorsed by over 40 countries, delivered at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council have addressed the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives and expressed “grave concern” that the human rights situation in the country is deteriorating significantly. The statement narrated by the UK Mission to UN Geneva on Thursday stated that it was “regrettable that the Government of Maldives has not chosen to engage constructively with [the UN] body and its mechanisms.” At the UN Human Rights Council session on June 2017, 34 states had supported a statement on the Maldives that underlined the importance of allowing the opposition its freedom of expression, the importance of an independent judiciary, and emphasized the need to uphold constitutional guarantees for human rights. Therefore, the statement had highlighted how the “situation has further deteriorated significantly” since the session in June, adding that “under the state of emergency declared and prolonged by President [Abdulla] Yameen a large number of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution were suspended.” Click here to read...


Keep the political ecology clean, Xi tells lawmakers: China Daily
March 12, 2018

President Xi Jinping called for the building of a clean political environment and safeguarding the authority of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, of which he is general secretary. Xi made the remark on Saturday during a panel discussion with lawmakers from Chongqing municipality in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Click here to read...

China’s state media defend changes to constitution removing presidential term limits: South China Morning Post
March 12, 2018

Chinese state media on Monday attacked critics of ending presidential term limits, which effectively allows President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely, saying the key to the country’s path was following the Communist Party. Click here to read...

China’s goal in Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un talks is to make sure they don’t collapse: South China Morning Post
March 12, 2018

For much of the past year, China has repeatedly – sometimes with exasperation – called on the United States and North Korea to sit down and chat. Now the goal is to ensure they keep talking. Click here to read...

China sets up new super agency to fight corruption: South China Morning Post
March 12, 2018

China’s legislature officially set up the country’s new super anti-graft agency on Sunday, but the most contentious part – giving it the power to deny suspects access to lawyers – will be voted on at the end of the annual session. Click here to read...

No winners – only catastrophe – in a China-US trade war, Beijing says: South China Morning Post
March 11, 2018

A trade war between China and the United States would be disastrous not only for the two countries involved, but also the rest of the world, Beijing warned on Sunday. Click here to read...

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