Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Thursday, 31 January 2019

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

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • Yesterday 11 people were arrested in Contai town in the eastern state of West Bengal for vandalism and violent clashes. Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress party clashed after a political rally addressed by the Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah.
  • More than 15 people were injured in the clashes. Dozens of vehicles were damaged, and two Trinamool Congress party offices were vandalized. Political parties have planned statewide rallies before the general elections scheduled in April 2019. More clashes and vandalism in West Bengal are expected during the political rallies.
  • Clients are advised to avoid all political events in the state ahead of the general elections.


  • Yesterday police have arrested more than 60 members of right-wing groups including the Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan. The arrests were made after the right-wing groups called for protests in the national capital, Islamabad. The right-wing groups have again called for a “peaceful strike” across the country tomorrow.
  • The protest has been called against the Supreme Court’s decision to reject a review petition on Tuesday against its earlier verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi on blasphemy charges. The Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan religious group had led countrywide protests last year after Aasia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy charges.
  • Clients are advised to avoid major landmarks in cities across the country expected to host the protests tomorrow. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in the THAILAND

  • Yesterday the pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party revealed three prime ministerial candidates. One of the candidates is Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who will be approached with the offer this week. The other two candidates are Uttama Savanayana and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. The three candidates received unanimous approval from the party leaders.
  • Secretary-general of the party Sontirat Sontijirawong said that the party is yet to decide which of the three candidates will be on top of the list and the three candidates will be invited to accept the offer by the deadline to submit the list of prime ministerial candidates on Feb 8.
  • Sontirat denied that proposing Prayut as prime minister was an attempt to extend the power of the junta beyond the election. He claimed that the party was founded on democratic principles and the party is not a political front for of the National Council for Peace and Order.


  • The Appeal Court yesterday rejected a lawsuit against nine leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (yellow shirts) over the group’s protest against the Samak Sundaravej government in 2008.
  • They were indicted in December 2015 on charges of inciting public chaos and illegal assembly.
  • Leniency toward the anti-Pheu Thai yellow shirts can be seen as a political move by the current government.


  • The Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah, will take the oath of office as the new King of Malaysia today to reign for a five-year term. At the same ceremony, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, will take the oath of office as the Deputy King of Malaysia to reign for five years.
  • Functions of the King are largely ceremonial in Malaysia. The King serves as the nominal head of the country, and his assent is needed for the appointment of a prime minister and various senior officials.
  • Former king, Sultan Muhammad V abdicated on Jan 6, after two years on the throne.


  • A series of floods struck four areas in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta yesterday. The inundated areas include Kelapa Hybrida, Pegangsaan Dua and Bukit Gading Raya. Some areas were inundated with floodwater as high as 40 centimeters.
  • The floods were caused by an overflow of the Bukit Gading Raya Boulevard River. Flooded streets blocked the traffic and caused disruptions. The flood water is expected to recede by tomorrow as the water is being pumped out by the local authorities today.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the areas affected by the floods and consider contingency plans for supply chain disruptions in North┬áJakarta.
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