Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Tuesday, 29 January 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in PAKISTAN

  • Security in the national capital Islamabad has been tightened today as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a petition seeking review of its verdict of acquitting Aasia Bibi on blasphemy charges in October last year. Paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the city.
  • Islamist groups like the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have threatened a protest movement if Bibi is given “judicial relief”. The Islamist groups had led countrywide mass protests against Bibi’s acquittal in November last year.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the development in the blasphemy case which can trigger nationwide unrest.


  • Two people were killed in a gunfight between two gangs of drug traders at Hoaikkong near of Cox’s Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh
  • Police said that the men killed in the shootout were drug dealers, they were accused in several arms and drugs related cases. Drugs and arms trafficking along the international borders with India and Myanmar is a major concern for the security forces in Bangladesh. Clashes between the criminal gangs pose a threat to civilians and businesses.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the towns and villages near the border areas where the criminal gangs are known to be active.

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in MALAYSIA

  • Malaysia was barred from hosting the 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships after Malaysia banned Israeli athletes from the event. The Israeli foreign ministry condemned the decision and accused Malaysia of anti-Semitism.
  • The 2019 championships, which are scheduled from 29 July to 4 August, act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The International Paralympic Committee said it had been given assurances by the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in 2017 that all eligible athletes would be allowed to compete safely in Kuching.
  • Malaysia, which is a majority Muslim country, banned the athletes because of Israel’s alleged poor treatment of Palestinians.


  • Yesterday former prime minister Najib Razak was charged in the High Court on three additional charges of money laundering. Najib already faces three charges of criminal breach of trust involving funds amounting to USD 10.2 million of SRC International funds, a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad company.
  • The three additional charges of money laundering are for being involved in money laundering of a total sum of USD 11.4 million through three Private Banking accounts.
  • Najib pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the High Court.


  • Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department announced two indictments against Huawei and its subsidiaries, and the company’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. US prosecutors are seeking to extradite Meng Wanzhou from Canada.
  • The prosecutors have charged Huawei of doing business in Iran through a Hong Kong company called Skycom in violation of US sanctions and alleged that Meng deceived US banks into believing the two companies were separate.
  • The company was also charged in a separate case of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile.


  • To Further heighten tensions with the USA, on top of the ongoing Huawei issue, the Trade issue, and the South China Sea issue, China has sparked more controversy to further risk  Asia’s stable decades by testing a next-generation missile dubbed by western Media as the Guam Killer. The Dongfeng-26  missile has improved stability and accuracy launched during military exercise this week. The intermediate-range ballistic missile has an estimated range of 3,000 to 5,700 km capable.
  • The new missile has been revealed reportedly to send a message to the United States about China’s military strength. The missile could be used in nuclear, conventional and anti-ship strikes, implying China could use it to attack US aircraft carriers and naval bases in the Asia-Pacific region. This is of course subject to the USA anti missile technologies.
  • Military tension between the US and China has been escalating after the US sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait last week.
  • This latest move, from a Chinese perspective, also may be a message to the USA to heed that they are no longer the only Super Power and thus can’t dictate their every whim.


  • Yesterday the website for early-voting registration crashed after a huge number of voters rushed to secure their voting rights. The high traffic on the registration website suggests that the upcoming election may see a high turnout.
  • The March 24 general elections will be Thailand’s first election in seven years. The online registration opened after midnight on the website of the Department of Public Administration (DOPA). The website crashed in the morning after too many voters tried to access the site at the same time. The issue was resolved yesterday itself.
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