March 9, 2007Foreign Affairs

Not a boring neighbourhood at all

A federation, another American foothold and some high-level detentions and sackings

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Even as Nepal attempts to decide what to do with the monarch and the Maoists, it has decided what it wants to do with the Madheshi question. It has opted to become a federal state.

A federation is perhaps the only solution to Sri Lanka’s civil war, if only the LTTE was interested in one. Meanwhile the current Congress party-led government of India has permitted—or could do nothing about— something which all previous Indian governments resisted. Thanks to India’s reluctance to intervene in the Sri Lankan conflict, the United States has secured a military foothold in yet another country in India’s neighbourhood. The United States, of course, is India’s strategic partner, but interests are interests. Lax Indica continues.

And in Bangladesh the military-supported interim government has been cracking the whip. Tareq Rahman, the son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia has been locked up, along with other political worthies. And to show that it is bipartisan, the anti-corruption investigators searched the home of Awami League leader Shiekh Hasina Wajed. Elections, meanwhile, are off the timetable for now. Like their counterparts in Myanmar, the Bangladeshi junta has realised that they can hold-off pressure from India by announcing, and perhaps acting against, anti-India terrorists and insurgents holed out in Bangladeshi territory.

Finally, in Pakistan Gen Musharraf has sacked the chief justice of the supreme court. The last time he did this was because the judge was too full of integrity. This time it is because the judge had too little of it (and a penchant for publicity). Despite summoning him to Army House and explaining’ the charges against him for five full hours, Gen Musharraf observed some legal niceties this time. Instead of firing him outright, he has filed a reference to the supreme judicial council, charging Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with “misconduct and misuse of power”. Delicate is the irony.

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