List of our Special Assessment Report produced in 2018-19




India-Pakistan Security Assessment Report: Special status of Jammu and Kashmir revoked India & Pakistan 14-Aug-19
Thailand Security Assessment Report: Multiple Bomb Blasts in Bangkok Thailand 9-Aug-19
Special Security Assessment Report: Hong Kong Extradition Protests Hong Kong 7-Aug-19
Indonesia post election security assessment Indonesia 22-May-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Post-Election Uncertainties Thailand 14-May-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment: Sri Lanka remains on high alert under emergency laws Sri Lanka 3-May-19
(Update) Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 300 people Sri Lanka 23-Apr-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 290 people Sri Lanka 22-Apr-19
India Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 India 19-Mar-19
India-Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Diplomatic Tensions Persist After Pulwama Attack India & Pakistan 8-Mar-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 – Implications and outlook Thailand 5-Mar-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Conflicts within the ruling coalition Malaysia 18-Feb-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Princess disqualified from elections Thailand 12-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 Indonesia 12-Feb-19
India Country Assessment Report: Government proposed interim budget India 6-Feb-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: New autonomous law faces early challenges Philippines 1-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prison sentence for hate speech Indonesia 30-Jan-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Twin bomb blasts in Jolo Philippines 28-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Political parties issue statements on Section 44 Thailand 25-Jan-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Corruption pervades politics and business Indonesia 24-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Islamist militants arrested Bangladesh 22-Jan-18
India Country Assessment Report: Political turmoil in Karnataka India 21-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: GDP growth rate revised Timor Leste 18-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: Political jostle continues Timor Leste 16-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Government pulls out of IMF package Pakistan 14-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Tensions rise over election delay Thailand 14-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Strike continues in Mumbai India 11-Jan-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Negotiations with the IMF expected to restart Sri Lanka 10-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Garment workers continue protests Bangladesh 9-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: An analysis of the upcoming elections Thailand 9-Jan-19
India Country Assessment report: Two-day nationwide strike India 8-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Allied parties excluded from the new cabinet Bangladesh 7-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Political rallies planned in West Bengal India 5-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Members of parliament sworn-in Bangladesh 4-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Violent clashes reported in Kerala India 3-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence reported Thailand 3-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Security situation continues to deteriorate Pakistan 2-Jan-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: PPBM promotes self as protector of Malays Malaysia 31-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Awami League wins the elections Bangladesh 31-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Anti-terrorism operation announced Pakistan 28-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: 2018 GDP growth tops 7% Vietnam 28-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Islamic State terror plot foiled India 27-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Judicial impartiality praised Sri Lanka 26-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Nawaz Sharif convicted on corruption charges Pakistan 25-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Vehicular restrictions imposed on election day Bangladesh 24-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Suharto-style liquidation of communists Philippines 24-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka 21-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: Calls for political freedoms Vietnam 21-Dec-18
East Asia Pacific Country Assessment Report: The economies of East Asia Pacific countries East Asia Pacific 20-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Verdicts on former PM deferred Pakistan 20-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Civilians killed in Kashmir India 19-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prabowo says Indonesia could go extinct if he loses Indonesia 19-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 18-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Bersatu to vet ex-UMNO politicians Malaysia 18-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Papuan tribesmen fear hostility Indonesia 17-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the prime minister Sri Lanka 17-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh confirmed India 15-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: UMNO exodus continues Malaysia 15-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 14-Dec-18
Cambodia Country Assessment Report: Cambodia eases ban on opposition Cambodia 14-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Martial law in Mindanao extended Philippines 13-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: US blacklists Pakistan Pakistan 13-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Jokowi skips Human Rights Day event Indonesia 12-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Congress Party wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh India 12-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Hasina to begin campaign Bangladesh 11-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Najib arrested Malaysia 11-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: President Sirisena dismisses snap presidential elections Sri Lanka 10-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General election date confirmed; concerns over fairness Thailand 10-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Extension of Mindanao martial law sought Philippines 8-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Large-scale anti-ICERD rally tomorrow Malaysia 7-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: olitical tensions rise in Pakistan Pakistan 7-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Parties to boycott NCPO meeting Thailand 6-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Report: Political crisis continues Sri Lanka 6-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report:: Factional rivalry causes violent clashes Bangladesh 5-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report:: Military, police evacuate survivors of rebel attacks Indonesia 5-Dec-18
APAC Assistance Special Report – Current Terrorism Threat in Australia Australia 4-Dec-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – India Ground Transport Assessment India 4-Dec-18
Papua New Guinea Risk Case Study Papua New Guinea 28-Nov-18
Thai Special Report: Assessment of Thailand’s Upcoming General Election Thailand 18-Nov-18
Special Country Report: Update on Freeport Indonesia 14-Nov-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – Bangladesh Election Synopsis Southeast Asia 22-Oct-18
Malaysia Special Feature Malaysia 13-Oct-18
Myanmar Special Feature Myanmar 9-Oct-18
APAC Assistance: Cambodia Country Report Cambodia 13-Aug-18
APAC Assistance: Vietnam Country Report Vietnam 11-Aug-18
An Assessment of Increased Risk from New People’s Army, Philippines Philippines 28-Jun-18
APAC PNG Report: Summary of Recent POM Incidents Papua New Guinea 14-May-18
Thailand’s Emerging Political Parties and Personalities Thailand 23-Apr-18
Indonesia General Election Synopsis Indonesia 2-Mar-18
Thailand General Election Synopsis Thailand 26-Feb-18
SE Asia Hot Issues Report Southeast Asia 29-Jan-18

APAC Assistance Panel Discussion on elections in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia together with Bhargav Reddy and Carol Librojo discuss the general elections in India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Paul is one of Asia Pacific’s most versatile security and disaster management professionals. Paul has held various demanding roles in military and civil positions. He is a rare expert in the risk management sector with an advanced commercial acumen. Paul has an extensive network throughout South Asia, SE Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Islands. His network includes business executives, contractors for various industry sectors, government personnel, international agencies, and armed forces.

Carol Librojo heads our analytical team. She mentors our researchers and analysts while guiding the production of APAC-A reports and publications. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. She once headed the monitoring and assessment unit of the Philippines’ National Security Council-Secretariat. She also served as Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Presidential Situation Room, a unit that provides round-the-clock news monitoring and intelligence updates to the Philippine President.

Bhargav Reddy leads South Asia operations of APAC Assistance. He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a master’s in International Business and Politics. His most recent experience was with Pinkerton as an Intelligence Specialist for APAC and EMEA regions.

The general elections in India were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes is underway and the results are expected on 23 May.  The exit polls have indicated that the ruling BJP is likely to return to power with an overwhelming majority. The BJP led by Prime Minister Modi had won the general elections in 2014 after defeating the Congress Party which was in power since 2004.

The Thai Elections were held on March 24. It was the first election since the 2014 military intervention that installed General Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister. The election results are expected to be formalized on May 22.

The Philippine Senatorial Elections were conducted on May 13. Those elected in this midterm election will take office on June 30, midway through the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The mid-term elections were a referendum of Duterte’s governance and his controversial policies which include his war on drugs.

The Indonesia Elections were held on April 17. This is the first time in Indonesia’s election history that the president, the vice president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day. Elections results are expected on May 22 while the quick count of votes shows a clear victory for President Widodo. The final official count of the General Election Commission (KPU) shows President Joko Widodo winning with 55.5% of votes against the 44.5% of his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto. The KPU released the official results of the April presidential election early today. Widodo won over 85 million of the total 154 million votes. The results, however, could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

APAC Assistance Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research

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Database Extraction of Transnational Crime & Cash Crime Incidents

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Database Extraction of Domestic & Gang Crime Incidents

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Database Extraction of  CiT Vehicle Robbery Incidents

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Database Extraction of International Heist Incidents

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Database Extraction of Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery Incidents

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APAC Assistance CIT Truck Features


Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019



Zardari threatens to topple government. Former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari accused the government of trying to roll back the 18th amendment of the Constitution and targeting the opposition parties with corruption charges. He was speaking at a rally on the 40th death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan who was sentenced to death and hanged by the military government in 1979. He said It is time to march towards Islamabad and oust the government. He said that if the Prime minister does not have funds and if he can’t collect funds through the Federal Board of Revenue then he should leave. Tensions between the political parties have been rising with multiple corruption cases against the opposition party leaders. Tensions can potentially trigger nationwide unrest if the protests by the opposition parties gain traction across the country.



(Update) Jute mill workers protest turns violent. Into its third day, the protest by the jute mill workers turned violent yesterday, leaving more than 16 people injured in Khulna district. Workers from major mills including Crescent, Platinum, Khalishpur, Daulatpur, Star, Eastern, and Alim Jute Mills held separate demonstrations to press home their nine-point demand which includes clearing their arrears, clearing gratuity and insurance payments of retired workers and regularising temporary workers. Jute mill workers also blockaded roads and railways in different parts of the country during their demonstration.  Clients are advised to steer clear of still ongoing protests and plan for potential transport and road travel disruptions.


Travel Alert by the United States. The United State Embassy in Dhaka has updated its travel advisory for Bangladesh. The US embassy has cautioned that In light of calls for revenge in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand, U.S. citizens should exercise heightened awareness of the ongoing threat posed by transnational terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida. The update comes about a month after the Christchurch attack. Nore of the other Five Eyes countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have issued a similar alert. Clients are advised to note the updated advisory from the US embassy and employ caution while traveling in Bangladesh.



Highways closed for civilian traffic. The government of  Jammu and Kashmir has announced that civilian traffic will be banned on the Baramulla-Jammu highway twice weekly to facilitate movement of security forces. A government spokesman said, “No civilian traffic movement will be allowed along the highway on Sundays and Wednesdays between 4 am and 5 pm. Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the parliamentary elections and associated possibility of the fidayeen terror attack on security forces’ convoys”. The restrictions will remain in force till May 31. The decision has been taken after the February 14 terror attack on a paramilitary convoy at Pulwama along the highway which left 44 security personnel dead and several others wounded. The spokesman said that another “possible fidayeen attack” on another security force convoy at Banihal took place on March 30 but was foiled by the security forces. Security in the state has continued to deteriorate since the suicide attack and cross border shelling and firing continues along the line of control. Clients are advised to avoid all nonessential travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant


FRIDAY, April 5, 2019



Terror suspects arrested. The anti-terrorism Special Detachment 88 arrested a suspected leader of terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Karawang, West Java on April 3. The suspect was allegedly involved in several terror acts last year, including the bombings in Surabaya. He is now detained in East Karawang, West Java. The anti-terror arrests are indicative of persistent terror threat, and Indonesian authorities are likely to step up such operations to ensure a trouble-free election this coming April 17. There is no certainty that all terrorists with a plan to disrupt the upcoming elections have been arrested. Clients are advised to employ extra caution for the entire election season. As much as possible, avoid political campaign rallies and religious events. Be alert and cautious near polling stations.



Election Commission orders recount. The Election Commission ordered the recounting of votes at two polling stations in Khon Kaen province and re-voting at six polling units in Bangkok, Lampang, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, and Yasothon. The commission said recounts are needed for the Khon Kaen polling stations because the first counts were inconsistent with the number of voters and marked ballots. New voting is needed in polling stations where the number of voters who turned up on March 24 did not match the number of marked ballot papers. The Election Commission’s order of recount and re-voting gives credence to allegations of election-related anomalies. However, the recount and re-voting in the eight polling units are not expected to significantly affect the outcome of the elections.



Duterte rebukes China.  President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted China to keep away from Thitu Island, an island in the Spratly archipelago held by the Philippines. He said he would send troops to defend the island if necessary. Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the presence of Chinese boats near Thitu Island is “illegal” and a “clear violation” of national sovereignty. The Philippine Navy has said it had spotted almost 300 Chinese vessels, suspected to be militia boats, near Thitu Island from January to March. Duterte’s statement was a rare rebuke of China. The president has chosen to be friendly with China in exchange for Chinese investments and aid. He has publicly said several times that the Philippines cannot go to war with China because the country is no match to the Asian superpower. China is yet to respond to Duterte’s latest statement.



Opposition leader calls for Hun Sen’s ouster. Exiled acting Cambodia National Rescue Party chief Sam Rainsy has called on the Cambodian public to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen like the Algerians recently did to their ruler. He said he would throw his support behind Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng if he were to stage a coup. Hun Sen has been Cambodia’s PM since 1985 and is expected not to transfer power until his dying days or until one of his sons is ready to assume leadership of Cambodia. The chances of a successful coup against him in the foreseeable future remain uncertain.



Fire triggers an evacuation. An enormous fire in the South Korean border town of Goseong left at least one person dead, injured at least 11 others, destroyed about 120 houses, and forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. The blaze broke out yesterday in the northeastern province of Gangwon near the frontier with North Korea. It is now subdued after South Korea mobilized about 200 firetrucks and 2,700 emergency personnel and firefighters to battle the inferno.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

THURSDAY, April 4, 2019



Pakistan debt at alarming levels. Finance Minister Asad Umar said yesterday that Pakistan’s basic debts have reached an alarmingly high level and that the country is near bankruptcy. Pakistan is in an economic crisis over mounting external debt, with more than USD 60 billion owed to China alone. Pakistan continues its prolonged negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and has entered a final round of talks last week with the aid agency for an economic assistance package. Asad Umar defended the economic policies of the government, claiming that the inflation has not increased to double digits despite the debt crisis.



(Update) Jute mill workers continue protests. Jute mills workers in different parts of the country continued their protests for the second day yesterday, blocking off railway tracks and highways over unpaid wages and other benefits. A shutdown was enforced by workers of nine state-owned jute mills across several districts including Khulna, Jessore, Rajshahi, and Chittagong, on the second day of the 72-hour strike. Protesters claimed that the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation promised to fulfill only one point of their nine-point demand, and did not give any directives regarding the other eight. Clients are advised to avoid all protests and employ high caution in the districts affected by the rallies and the blockades. Consider contingency plans for potential supply chain disruptions.



Colombo police use teargas on students. The police fired tear gas on protesting university students near the Parliament roundabout in Colombo yesterday. The protest forced traffic in the area to grind to a standstill. The students marched from Rajagiriya to the Parliament roundabout, demanding an audience with the Education Minister. The protest took place while Parliament sessions were underway, prompting the city police to block the road leading to the facility. The students then pushed down the barricades, forcing the police to fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Students are likely to continue their protest today. Student demonstrations near the legislature are common, and skirmishes between security forces and protesters do sometimes erupt. Clients are advised to avoid the vicinity of the Parliament building in Colombo while rallies are in progress. Special traffic measures may be implemented near Parliament and surrounding areas; seek road advisories and plan your routes accordingly.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4 2019

Paul Quaglia  – APAC Assistance Director


THURSDAY, April 4 2019



Widodo retains lead in the opinion polls. Two new surveys indicate that President Joko Widodo and his running mate, Mar’ruf Amin, will win in the April 17 presidential election, with the election just two weeks away. The Melbourne-based Roy Morgan released yesterday its March survey of 1,102 respondents across Indonesia showing that the Widodo-Ma’ruf pair is 13% ahead of their rivals. The margin is lower than in February when the Widodo-Ma’ruf tandem was 14% ahead of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. Another survey of 1,200 respondents released on April 2, that of Indo Barometer, also showed that 50.8% of voters were expected to vote for Jokowi-Ma’ruf, compared to Prabowo-Sandiaga’s 32%. An 18% gap in favor of team Jokowi. The survey also gathered information that explained why Indonesians would be voting for Widodo-Ma’ruf. The latest survey of the Indo Barometer, an Indonesian research company, adds to other Indonesian polls showing that Widodo and Ma’ruf will win with 17% to 20% margin over their rivals. The Roy Morgan survey is different from the Indonesian polls in that it shows a lower margin for Widodo-Ma’ruf, 14%. It confirms a survey by Kompas last month showing Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno gaining momentum as voting day approaches. The decline of Widodo’s lead, however, is not as big as in the Kompas survey, where Widodo’s margin was reduced to 11%.



Sedition case against Thanathorn. The Pathumwan police station in Bangkok summonsed Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to appear on April 6 to answer a sedition complaint. Thanathorn is accused of helping anti-coup demonstrators in 2015 escape arrests, a crime punishable by up to nine years in jail. Col. Burin Thongprapai, legal affairs chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, said that in May 2015, about 20 demonstrators protested at the Pathumwan police station and fled in a van, escaping arrests and detention by authorities. The authorities found later that the van was owned by Thanathorn. The sedition complaint against Thanathorn suggests that he and his Future Forward Party are being targeted by the military regime. Thanathorn and several other officials of the party are also facing a cybercrime charge over a speech made on Facebook criticizing the military government in July 2018. Prosecutors will decide on April 26 whether to put the party leaders on trial for the cybercrime charge. The Future Forward Party made a strong showing in the March 24 election, coming in third with 6.2 million votes, after the Palang Pracharat Party and the Pheu Thai Party. It has joined a coalition led by the Pheu Thai Party that has vowed to block Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha from staying in power.



Protests against mining company. Porgera town in the central Enga province has come to a standstill as 17 of 24 landowners and their supporters stageed protests, calling for gold miner Barrick (Niugini) Limited to leave the mining area. The Porgera landowners have been given the opportunity to speak their minds on Barrick’s application for renewal of mining lease for another 20 years. Barrick has operated the Porgera mining area for 30 years and its special mining lease is expiring on August 19.   The fate of Barrick’s application for mining lease extension is uncertain. Barrick’s mining operations in Porgera have been hounded by many controversies, including alleged exploitation of miners and violence against the locals. The Porgera landowners have the support of the Enga provincial government. Clients in Papua New Guinea are advised to avoid protest-hit areas in Porgera and exercise high caution across the town at this time due to ongoing tensions.



Najib pleads not guilty. Former prime minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to three counts of breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power at the Kuala Lumpur High Court complex yesterday. The charges were related to transfers totaling USD 10.3 million into Najib’s bank account from SRC International, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The trial started at 2:00 PM and was adjourned to April 15 at 5:36 PM. Najib is facing a total of 42 charges over his alleged involvement in the looting of USD 4.5 billion state funds from 1MDB. The trial of 1MDB cases will be a test of the functioning of Malaysia’s judicial system.



Explosion in Sultan Kudarat province. More than 18 people were injured in an explosion outside a small restaurant in Isulan town in southern Sultan Kudarat province on the Mindanao island yesterday. Military officials said the attack was believed to be either an extortion attempt or retaliation by Islamist separatist militants targeted in recent military offensives. Unidentified people had recently tried to extort money from the restaurant owner, who refused to pay up. Authorities are also looking into the possibility that the attack was carried out by Muslim militants belonging to the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who have been targeted by military offensives. Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province witnessed two consecutive bomb attacks in August and September 2018 carried out by suspected BIFF militants who have aligned with the Islamic State group. The bombings, which injured five people and injured 45 others, occurred despite tightened security on the Mindanao island. The whole of Mindanao has been under martial law since the five-month long siege in Marawi City in May 2017. Clients in the southern Philippines are advised to employ high caution in Sultan Kudarat. Travel to high-risk insurgency and kidnapping hotbeds, particularly in Western Mindanao, is not advisable.


Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019



Pakistan could be blacklisted by the FATF. Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to “lobbying by India”, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Lahore this week. Qureshi said he estimated that the country could suffer USD 10 billion loss annually if it remains on the watchdog’s grey list. A group of experts from the FATF recently visited Pakistan to review whether Islamabad has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list. During its three-day visit to Islamabad last week, a delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the FATF, expressed reservations over insufficient physical actions on the ground against banned groups to block the flow of funds and activities. The FATF noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate a proper understanding of the risks posed by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-i-Insania, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.



Jute mill workers go on protest. Jute mill workers in Dhaka launched a three-day strike on Tuesday, April 2. The blockades created traffic congestion, causing inconvenience to commuters. Workers of two jute mills in the Demra area of Dhaka blocked a road while observing the 72-hour strike. The workers of Latif Bawani Jute Mills and Karim Jute Mills blocked the road near the Demra Staff Quarter area for more than five hours. The workers have announced that they will continue their protests today. The Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation has agreed to implement the wage commission long demanded by the workers of the state-owned jute mills, hours after the workers launched a fresh strike to press home their demands. But unless the company issues a more concrete assurance, the protests could persist and spread, gaining support from workers of other jute mills around Dhaka. Clients are advised to avoid all protests. Check on the status of roads in the southern and eastern parts of Dhaka, where several jute mills operate, before attempting travel.



Congress promises review of AFSPA. The Congress party released their election manifesto yesterday ahead of the general elections in April and May this year. The Congress party has promised to review the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in their manifesto. The party has promised to amend the law that gives special powers to security forces in conflict zones, taking into account humanitarian issues. In insurgency-hit areas, AFSPA allows security forces to arrest and open fire on anyone breaking the law. There have been allegations of excesses, including extra-judicial killings in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeastern states where the law is in force. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party criticized the move and accused the Congress party of catering to terrorists and anti-nationals.

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