By Tushar Kumar
Over the past week, Bangladesh witnessed an increase in country-wide anti-narcotics drives. Over 100 drug dealers have been killed and over 10,000 arrested in the last 17 days. A local councillor was also killed in action. Those killed have mostly been foot soldiers and drug users, not gang leaders, raising concerns over the efficacy of the drive, rule of law in the country and humans rights.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in India for a two-day visit on May 25-26. After inaugurating Bangladesh Bhavan at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan in West Bengal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hasina discussed issues education, trade and economic issues with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. However, there was no concrete discussion on the Teesta water sharing deal.
Khaleda Zia, leader of the opposition Bangladesh National Party, remains in jail despite getting bail last week. Her release remains uncertain as she is charged in many other cases of corruption.
Rohingya refugees housed in camps will face the brunt of the upcoming rains, including fears of floods and landslides. There is a scarcity of potable water in the camps. There has been minimal progress in repatriating the refugees to Myanmar, despite Bangladesh and the UN agreeing on measures to ensure conditions for their safe return.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) have merged to form the ruling Nepal Communist Party. The merger makes it difficult to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the CPN-Maoist Centre party during the decade-long civil conflict.
The Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum Nepal (SSFN), the fourth largest party in the country, joined the National Communist Party-led government. The ruling coalition now has a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, making it easier for the government to amend of the constitution. Two members of the SSFN were inducted as cabinet ministers, with party chairman Upendra Yadav now serving as deputy to Prime Minister K.P. Oli.
The government also presented the federal budget of $12.15 billion for the current financial year with a target of 8% growth. The expenditure of funds was focused on energy and infrastructure, with reforms in social and agricultural sectors. Nepal saw its deficit growing and foreign reserves depleting. The opposition criticised the budget for the planned increase in taxes and its lack of vision.
The merger of the autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has been completed. The National Assembly, the Senate and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly passed the bill after approval by the National Security Committee (NSC), the country’s apex civil-military body. FATA is expected to be see some development after the repeal of colonial-era regulations. But questions remain on how the merged entity will be funded and governed.
India and Pakistan have agreed to restore the ceasefire on the Line of Control based on the 2003 ceasefire agreement. The decision came about after a conversation between the director generals of military operations of both armies on the hotline.
The results of the sixth population census were announced by the government without a third-party audit of 5% of the population. The audit was postponed until after the general election. Opposition parties have alleged that not conducting a third-party audit means that large sections of the population may have been excluded from the population list to keep them out of voting in the poll.
Tushar Kumar is a writing analyst at Qrius.
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