The Pakistan army announced the success of its four-month long campaign to wipe out militants in the North Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan. The offensive, initiated in June, has claimed the lives of around 1,100 militants. According the army, the campaign has resulted in the reduction of terrorist attacks in the country. Army’s spokesperson Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa reported that most of the areas in North Waziristan has been cleared of militants and reconstruction has begun. Highlighting recent success, Bajwa spoke of Pakistani troops seizing large amounts of explosives, weapons, ammunition belonging to militants. However, he expressed his dismay at the lack of cooperation from Afghanistan in the counter-insurgency effort, and further criticized Kabul for failing to prevent militants from “roaming freely” across the border.

Relevant News Stories:

  • Pakistan Lodges Protest on Fresh Ceasefire Violation – (Dawn)
  • Afghanistan Not Cooperating with Pakistan Army: DG ISPR – (Express Tribune)
  • ISIL’s Rapid Rise in Pakistan Smacks of Desperation – (The National)
  • Pakistan Experts Expect More Defections to the Islamic State – (McClatchy DC)
  • Pakistan is Now the Major Stumbling Block to Global Polio Eradication – (WSJ)


    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of the largest Islamic party in Bangladesh was sentenced to death this week for war crimes committed during the country’s independence movement in 1971. Nizami faced 16 charges including genocide, murder, torture, and rape. Nizami led the Jamaat-e-Islami party and served as a minister in the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) government from 2001 to 2006. Among the accusations against him, the most notable was Nizami acting as supreme commander of the al-Badr militia, which operated as a paramilitary wing of the Pakistani army fighting against Bengali independence fighters during the 1971 civil war.

    The verdict, announced on Wednesday, resulted in a three day strike by the Jamaat-e-Islami. Police and paramilitary forces were mobilized to key parts of the capital city to contain violence. This move will likely led to diminishing credibility and influence of the Jamaat-e-Islami, with the main leader and several other key figures either executed or jailed for life. The BNP usually allies with the smaller Jamaat-e-Islami, and serves as the main opposition to the ruling Awami League.


    Relevant News Stories:

    •          Bangladesh: Capitalist Haven – (Forbes)
    •          UAE Keen to Strengthen Ties With Bangladesh: PM – (BDNews24)
    •          Bangladesh Tops 32 Nations in Climate Risk Chart – (The Daily Star)
    •          India Uncovers Suspected Plot to Assassinate Bangladeshi PM – Security Officials – (Reuters)


    The Imam of India’s largest mosque, the Delhi Jama Masjid, has decided not to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his son’s anointment ceremony—but will invite Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.

    Imam Bukhari, known as the “Shahi Imam,” is drawing increasing political clout in India and has been courted recently by different political parties to enlist support. Bukhari’s son, 19-year-old Shaban Bukhari, is to be anointed on November 22 at the Delhi Jama Masjid as the next chief cleric. When asked why he did not invite Modi, Bukhari replied, “Muslims have not forgiven him for the Gujarat riots.” Bukhari also added that Modi has not done anything for the Muslim minority since coming to office, arguing he “has always treated Muslims as second class citizens.” Even though he has explicitly expressed his disapproval of Modi, Bukhari has made political calculations, inviting other BJP leaders to his son’s ceremony along with top-level Congress Party leaders, such as Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

    The invitation to Sharif is an especially audacious move by the Imam in the context of recent exchanges of fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Relevant News Stories:

  • India Man Arrested in Bangalore for Being Gay – (BBC)
    •          India’s Universal Healthcare Rollout to Cost $26 Billion – (Times of India)
    •          Modi Fails, So Far, to Return Illicit Funds to India – (NYT)
    •          India Media: Government ‘Embarrassed’ Over ‘Black Money’ List – (BBC)
    •          China Expresses Concern About Indian Plan to Build Border Posts – (Reuters)
    •          India to Supply Naval Vessels to Vietnam – (WSJ)
    •          India Drops to 142 in “Doing Business” Ranking – (Hindustan Times)



    Amid threats of sanctions from the United States, Pakistan and Iran agreed this week to find middle ground on the stalled Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline. The Pakistan delegation reportedly informed Iran that they plan to construct the pipeline, but only if the threat of US sanctions is lifted. According to an agreement signed in 2010, if Pakistan does not complete its portion of the pipeline in 2014, it will have to pay a daily penalty of $1 million to Iran until completion.

    To avoid this penalty, Pakistan has proposed an alternative in which Iran would convert natural gas into LNG and then export to Pakistan via an existing LNG facility in Oman. Nearly half of the total gas exported to Oman would be delivered to Japan, South Korea, and India. Iran is likely to accept Pakistan’s proposal, as economic sanctions on its neighbor will impact demand for natural gas exports, and therefore its pocket book.


    Relevant News Stories:

    •          The Revolution is Over – (The Economist)
    •          David Ignatius: An Iranian Who Could Balance Tehran’s Factions – (Washington Post)
    •          Israeli Policy On Iran Is The Biggest Threat To Its ‘Special Relationship’ With America – (The Guardian)
    •          U.S., Iran Relations Move To Détente – (WSJ)
    •          Human Rights In Iran Worsen, U.N. Investigator Says – (NYT)



    A new Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report to Congress shows the fight against opium production in Afghanistan is failing. SIGAR attributes this partly to increasingly affordable deep-well technology made available in Afghanistan by international aid agencies during the thirteen year war. The new wells have turned 494,000 acres of barren desert land into arable agricultural farmland over the past decade, and their water is providing ample water for poppy plants in southwestern Afghanistan. Because of high opium prices, cheap labor, and a skilled agricultural work force, much of the newly arable land has sent opium production soaring in the country. The $7.8 billion the US has spent on poppy eradication over the last thirteen years has been offset by a record opium harvest in 2013 in conjunction with a decreased international military presence in rural Afghanistan. The SIGAR report will likely compound “Afghanistan fatigue” in the US Congress, already distracted by a number of other international crises and midterm elections.

    Relevant News Stories:

  • The Good War? – (Foreign Affairs)
  • New Afghan President Ghani Visits China – (RFE/RL)


    Doing business in Nepal became easier due to regulatory reforms made in 2013-14, said the World Bank in its report released Wednesday, titled Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency. Nepal has been ranked 108th out of 189 countries on the ease of doing business index. Last year, it was placed in the 109th position. Nepal comes before the Maldives (at number 116), Bhutan (125), Pakistan (128), India (142), Bangladesh (173) and Afghanistan (183) in the South Asian region. Sri Lanka is ahead in the 99th spot. The regional average for South Asia is 134.

    The report showed that Nepal made applying for construction permits easier by implementing a new electronic building permit system. “Doing business is easier in economies with administrative efficiency and strong regulatory protections,” said Rita Ramalho, lead author of the World Bank report. “We are encouraged by the modernization of regulatory processes in South Asia because it is benefiting local entrepreneurs.”

    Relevant News Stories:

    •          Between a Rock and a High Place – (The Economist)
    •          Nepal, Korea Sign Grant Pact – (
    •          Working Style of Nepal Police Not Transparent:  Report – (The Himalayan Times)
    •          Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2014 Slated for Nov. 11-12 – (