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Discussion thread for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (Except for Indian and Pakistani elections, terrorism, or drone strikes, since they have their own threads).
Some news to start us off:
- Afghan Elections, preliminary results seem to suggest a run-off between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah (with Ghani winning). Thoughts, wonderings, understandings, more news?
- Pakistan bombings, in the last week, there have been two major bombings (one of a train in Balochistan and the other of a vegetable market in the capital), both claimed by the seperatist United Baloch Army. Gov't is denying they did the latter, due to the implications.
- India, most news is taken up by the elections, but there have been a spate of military accidents since late last year, most recently with a brand new C-130.
Is Iran part of South Asia?
Nepal's government faced calls on Friday from human rights and victims' groups not to grant amnesties over atrocities committed during the country's civil war for which nobody has been brought to justice.
Abdullah Abduallah is the same guy who ran against Karzai back in 2009, and quit during the runoff because of allegations of electoral fraud (mostly on Karzai's part). He has consistently promoted democracy and public health since the Soviet occupation.
If he had won back then, Afghanistan might be in better shape today.
I dont know as much about the other candidate, Ashraf Ghani. He seems to be an experienced government official, and did some work at the UN and the World Bank. Probably competent, but I dont know anything about his politics.
I would say that Iran fits better in the Middle East thread.
He's a great candidate, but in a country where ethnicity matters, he has no chance of leading as a half-Tajik and half-Pashtun (even if personally, I think that'd be an asset). His victory would make non-Pashtun people happy, but would make the Pashtun wary (especially given Taliban propaganda on the matter). Ghani is Pashtun and his main asset is, like Abdullah, he's anti-Karzai. The third guy was supported by the Karzai brothers basically to make sure Ghani can't win, though clearly doesn't seem to be working.
On Nepal - They haven't been able to create a permanent running government yet. I suspect this has more to do with jettisoning issues they find extraneous than any sort of actual reconcilliation (considering the hatred that created the war still exists). That place got problems...
edited 11th Apr '14 6:49:33 PM by FFShinra
Pakistan Drops Attempted Murder Charges...against a 9 month old baby.
Just...all of my why.
I remember reading a story about the ancient Greeks, and how they once put a cow on trial for killing a person. The point of the story was to illustrate how primitive they were way back then.
Putting dead people on trial can actually make sense for a dictator (or even a flagging democrat) because it provides a convenient target for public anger that can't hit back. But trying a baby is only going to piss people off.
Probably why the trial was canned as soon as it possibly could. Nawaz Sharif is many things, but he's no fool to let something like this continue.
Indeed. It sounds more like local over-zealousness on the part of the Lahore police than anything else: perhaps they wanted to send a message, or perhaps some ridiculously By-the-Book Cop just couldn't conceive of any deviation from the rules. Ridiculousness like this happens all over.
Speaking of Pakistan, huge debate over the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance. The lower house passed it, the PPP-controlled Senate threw it out for human rights reasons (seriously, the law reads like something the Nazis would have put through).
The law is flawed, but there are a few things that make me wonder if a compromise solution could be had. I'll find the text of the law and edit in the link if I can find it. Very curious how to go forward, given Pakistan's problems with terrorism.
Here it is.
edited 13th Apr '14 10:26:39 AM by FFShinra
India officially recognizes third gender for form purposes. 
So that's one way India is now more progressive than most of the West.
I think it's good that we're not always ahead of the curve; for liberal types like me, it just reinforces the understanding that we're not better or more advanced than others, and that social progress is achieved through political and cultural work that must be done before the progress is achieved. In other words, it prevents complacency.
And now I've turned the triumph of Indian human rights activists into a personal message for me: how Western of me.
So, more importantly than what this means to me: congratulations to everyone involved in taking that step forward in India. I have no doubt that there are millions whose lives are in some ways improved by this (small?) step.
They've been around for centuries and are part of the social fabric. This is more of a formalization of that under law.
edited 16th Apr '14 7:16:43 AM by FFShinra
I know about the hijra and so on. It's good that they're finally getting legal recognition. Hopefully this will result in improved rights and representation for them.
What's the story between India hating Pakistan and vice versa?
edited 16th Apr '14 4:33:28 PM by Sledgesaul
Precisely what part do you mean? That's a rather broad question.
Meaning, what's the reason for their animosity?
The Partition of India is a good place to start. In essence, the Muslims of India didn't want - and not without good reason - to be part of a Hindu-majority India, so they, led by the incomparable Mohammad Ali Jinnah, asked for a new country, which the British split-off from India and called Pakistan.
It's down to centuries-old sectarian tension.
edited 16th Apr '14 4:39:25 PM by Achaemenid
Pakistan was initially split in two - what is now Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan. Eventually East Pakistan decided to become its own country, and Pakistan didn't want that. There was a war, and India sided with Bangladesh. That's not even the only war there's been between the two countries.
Eh, kinda. Most Hindus and Muslims were getting on perfectly fine (and still are, for those still left). It just became an issue for the nutjobs on either side. Also business interests. Jinnah himself wasn't actually interested initially, but Nehru wouldn't yield to the idea of a confederation (either he didn't want India to break apart or he didn't want Congress to have it's grip weakened, depending on who you ask), so Jinnah (who'd bluffed about leaving til that point) had no choice but to go through with it.
Indeed. The first and second wars those two fought was over Kashmir.
edited 16th Apr '14 4:49:55 PM by FFShinra
Also, the fourth.
Kargil? That was more General Musharraf having a Batman Gambit go horribly wrong (or right if you believe as many do that it was entirely to screw over the peace process going on at the time) and his ass handed to him.
Pakistan doesn't seem pleasant.
I had to read up on it and it seems you're right. Still, it was over Kashmir.
Neither side is pleasant to the other. Look:
It's a clip from a programme I don't recognise but it shows (with some amusing commentary) a border closing ceremony between India and Pakistan. The border officials (or soldiers or whatever) on both sides do as much as possible to show disrespect and contempt for the other side.
edited 16th Apr '14 5:15:21 PM by BestOf
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