Daily Briefs

Photo : The Kathmandu Post

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #42, 19 July 2023, Wednesday

“Silk Roadster” platform under BRI launched in Nepal

In Thailand, the Constitutional Court suspends Pita’s MP post

The NIAS Neighbourhood Reader Daily Brief #42, 19 July 2023, Wednesday
Immaculine Joy Paul C, Melvin George, Ryan Marcus and Lakshmi Parimala H

CPC launches ‘Silk Roadster’ platform under BRI
On 19 July, The Kathmandu Post reported on the launch of the “Silk Roadster” platform in Bhaktapur. This was launched by the Communist Party of China, as part of the BRI initiative, marking its tenth anniversary. The platform is intended to bring practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between China and the Southeastern and South Asian countries. The platform included five projects: Silk Road Embarkment, Silk Road Empowerment, Silk Road Enjoyment, Silk Road Enlightenment and Silk Road Enhancement. Through these projects, the platform focuses on improving people’s lives, vocational education, cultural exchanges, exchanges among the youth and business exchange and cooperation. A CPC leader underlined the inclusion of small projects like training, skill building and short-term exchanges besides the earlier big projects related to infrastructure, connectivity, ports, railways, etc. (Anil Giri, “China launches ‘Silk Roadster’ projects under BRI in Nepal,” The Kathmandu Post, 19 July 2023)

BNP holds procession, seeking resignation of PM Hasina
On 18 July, the BNP (Bangladesh National Party) held a procession from Gatboli to Roy Saheb Bazar, emphasizing its one-point demand seeking the resignation of PM Sheikh Hasina and the upcoming election to be held under a non-partisan administration. The procession turned violent as clashes emerged between the BNP and AL (Awami League) activists, killing one and injuring several hundred. The AL apparently also called for processions as a counter to the BNP’s road march, calling for unity among the party’s activists. (“BNP road marches attacked,” The Daily Star, 19 July 2023; “AL calls for unity among party activists,” The Daily Star, 19 July 2023)

NUG commemorates Martyrs Day
On 19 July, Myanmar's National Unity Government (NUG) marked the 76th Martyrs' Day by remembering General Aung San and his colleagues who were assassinated 76 years ago. The NUG also recognized the brave individuals who have lost their lives in the ongoing Spring Revolution, which seeks to overthrow the current regime. During a memorial speech, NUG Acting President Duwa Lashi La conveyed his deep admiration and appreciation for all the martyrs who sacrificed themselves to free the nation and its people from colonial rule. Mr. Duma said: “We need to remember that in addition to the great martyr leaders who worked hard to get out from under colonial rule, there are also many martyrs who sacrificed to get out from under the current military dictatorship.” (Myanmar’s National Unity Government Commemorates Martyrs’ Day,The Irrawaddy, 19 July 2023)

Regime bars Aung San Suu Kyi to honor her father on Martyr’s Day  
On 19 July, the Irrawaddy reported that Aung San Suu Kyi was not allowed to attend the Martyr commemoration day honoring her father, Gen. Aun San and his colleagues. Her elder brother, eighty- year- old U Aung San Oo attended the event. She was not allowed to attend the commemoration since the military coup in 2021. Ming Aung Hlaing, the junta boss, did not attend the commemoration. In 2022, deputy junta chief Soe Win attended the event. The report says that the Regime humiliated the event by sending only Deputy Prime Minister and Transportation Minister Tin Aung San to the event. (“Myanmar Regime Again Bars Daw Aung San Suu Kyi From Honoring Father on Martyrs’ Day,” The Irrawaddy, 19 July 2023)

Joint house meeting rejects Pita’s re-nomination 
On 19 July, Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said that Pita Limjaroenrat’s re-nomination was rejected in the Joint House and Senate meeting. Out of 715 parliamentarians, 394 voted against Pita’s renomination while 312 voted in his support. Eight parliamentarians abstained from voting and one did not vote. The Constitutional Court suspended Pita’s MP post and thus the majority vote required was adjusted to 374. The next voting for the prime minister has been scheduled on 27 July. Pheu Thai Party would be proposing Srettha Thavisin as the premiership candidate. To avoid the protestors gathering in front of the parliament complex in support of Pita, the MPs and senators went out by boat from the backside of the parliament. (“Parliament rejects Pita’s renomination for PM,” Bangkok Post, 19 July 2023)

Constitutional Court suspends Pita’s MP post
On 19 July, the Constitutional Court suspended Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s MP post by accepting the Election Commission’s (EC) complaint over his shares in iTV. The court ruling on suspending Pita’s MP duties is pending. The decision came by seven votes to two. The court ordered Pita to give an explanation within fifteen days of receiving a copy of the ruling. (“Charter court suspends Pita,” Bangkok Post, 19 July 2023)

President outlines comprehensive proposal for Tamils
On 18 July, President Ranil Wickremesinghe met with the Tamil Parliamentarians representing the Northern and Eastern province, and expressed his genuine intention to resolve problems faced by the people in those regions. He also elaborated on government initiatives for those regions ranging from projects on renewable energy, water supply, infrastructure development, investment promotion zones and the tourism industry. Further, regarding the reconciliation efforts, he mentioned that the draft for the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation was undergoing constitutional review and the National Action Plan on Reconciliation would be submitted to the Cabinet. (“President urges Tamil party leaders to decide on optimal solution for North and East issues,” The Island, 19 July 2023)

Maldives, Egypt hold bilateral talks
On 17 July, the Maldives and Egypt issued a joint statement after holding their second round of bilateral political consultations. Both described their talks as successful consultations, reaffirming their mutual interest in enhancing the existing bilateral relations. Deepening economic cooperation and trade, technical exchange, tourism, culture and heritage, health, education, and climate change were among the focused areas of discussions. Additionally, Maldives also pitched for opening resident missions in the two respective capitals for diplomatic ties. (“Maldives, Egypt hold second round of bilateral political talks,” Sun.mv, 18 July 2023)

Iraq to pay Iran with 120-day US waiver
On 19 June, Reuters reported that the United States permitted Iraq to pay Iran for electricity with non-Iraqi banks. Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a 120-day security waiver to allow Iraq to deposit payments to non-Iraqi banks instead of restricted accounts in Iraq. The accounts will be restricted and will require US permission to access them. Earlier, Iran had pressured Iraq to secure US permission to release funds by cutting Iranian natural gas exports. ("Exclusive: US issues new 120-day waiver letting Iraq pay Iran for electricity," Reuters, 19 July 2023)

Afghanistan to export carpet to China
On 18 July, Arab News reported that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce revealed its plan to boost carpet production to meet rising demand in China. Additionally, it revealed its target to employ 1.5 million people in the sector. Additionally, the authorities stated that Pakistan, Turkiye and the UAE are among the key markets. The authorities remarked that the initiative would address the unemployment rate in 34 provinces. ("Afghanistan to boost carpet production as demand rises, especially from China," Arab News, 18 July 2023)

Pakistan detains Afghan citizens
On 18 July, Tolo News reported that the Afghan Consul Adbul Jabar stated that more than 302 Afghan citizens were imprisoned in Sindh prisons. Additionally, 122 citizens have been released in June. Afghan immigrants in Pakistan have alleged regarding the misbehavior of Pakistani soldiers and requested the Taliban government to address the issue. Amnesty International has urged the government of Pakistan to refrain from mistreating Afghan immigrants. ("Detention of Afghan Citizens in Pakistan Continues: Consul," Tolo News, 19 July 2023)

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