Betwixt and Between: Bhutan‘s Royal Way to Democracy and Upcoming Challenges

24 February 2016

Image by Birger Hoppe

On 5th February 2016, Queen Jetsun Pema gave birth to her first child, a son, at the Lingkana Palace in Thimphu, the capital of the last Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan (Drukyul – Land of the Thunder Dragon). The royal birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey will most likely indicate the further entrenchment of two major trajectories in Bhutan’s political development.

Continue reading “Betwixt and Between: Bhutan‘s Royal Way to Democracy and Upcoming Challenges”

Ansarullah Bangla Team: A Major Threat for Bangladesh’s Democracy

30 January 2016

Image by UNAMID (Albert González Farran)

Since 9/11, the world has considered Pakistan and Afghanistan as the epicentre of Islamic fundamentalism in South Asia, incarnated in the Taliban movement and its affiliates. Many of the early observations dealt with the tremendous challenge which terrorism and religious-militant extremism would pose to peace and stability (from a geopolitical perspective). Continue reading “Ansarullah Bangla Team: A Major Threat for Bangladesh’s Democracy”

From Dhaka to Singapore: The Growing Involvement of Bangladesh in the “World of Global Jihad”

26 January 2016

Against the persistently recurrent official statements that Bangladesh has no links with internationally acting terrorist organisations like Islamic State (IS) or al-Qaeda, there are more and more indications how deeply the Islamic fundamentalists of the South Asian country are involved in the “world of the global jihad”. Continue reading “From Dhaka to Singapore: The Growing Involvement of Bangladesh in the “World of Global Jihad””

Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus

8 October 2015

Image by Marianna Karakoulaki

Afghanistan has experienced close to four decades of perpetual violence wars, political upheavals, and religious and ethnic clashes, resulting in millions of Afghans fleeing to neighbouring countries for protection. Facing the Soviet invasion after the Saur revolution and the ensuing civil conflict, between 1979 and the early 1990s approximately [1] six million escaped to Pakistan and Iran, marking the first exodus of Afghan refugees. Continue reading “Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus”

Nepal constitutional reform an uphill battle

25 September 2015

Nepal is once again trying to change the nature of its political system. After the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency in 2006, it is drafting a new constitution. Due to numerous unfortunate political undercurrents, numerous interruptions meant the constitutional-building process was delayed for more than seven years. Finally, on 20 September 2015 Nepal has formally adopted a new constitution, the first to be drawn up by democratically elected representatives after centuries of autocratic rule.

Continue reading “Nepal constitutional reform an uphill battle”

Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: Entrenching Democratic Change

29 August 2015; by Siegfried O.  Wolf

Image by Vikalpa | Groundviews | Maatram | CPA

Rather a Referendum than a Vote

On Monday, August 17, Sri Lanka’s 15 million strong electorate went to the national polls for the second time this year. Among analysts, there is no doubt that this was not only a ‘popular vote’, which decided over the new composition of the country’s 225-seat-parliament, it was also a referendum regarding the basic nature of Sri Lanka’s political culture. Continue reading “Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: Entrenching Democratic Change”

Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”

Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan

14 July 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

In witnessing the 2013 general election and the installation of a new government entrusted with a remarkable majority in vote, the people of Pakistan and many international observers thought that the time for major change had finally come. Especially the country’s neglected and repressed areas, like North Waziristan, which is part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), were hoping for significant improvement of their socio-political and economic conditions. However, after two years in power, it seems more and more obvious that the current administration of Nawaz Sharif did not intend to change the patterns of Islamabad’s decision-making in any significant policy area. Today, the country’s political arena is still determined by the unchallenged supreme role of the army, the lack of political will and capacities of civilians to implement any noteworthy reform measures, endemic corruption, and the ongoing dominance of the Punjab province and its establishment leading to the consequent side-lining of the smaller territorial entities. Continue reading “Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan”

India’s General Elections 2014 and the Role of Media: New Course or Entrenching Old Patterns?

24 April 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

Source: Blue Chip, Issue 119, Vol. 2/4, pp. 59-61, Islamabad, Pakistan.

More than two centuries old, the media sector in India is intrinsically tied to the political trajectories of the country. Even before the country gained independence in 1947, the print media especially, being largely associated with the freedom struggle against the British colonial ruler, turned into a crucial actor in the political arenas of urban India. Quite from the beginning of the country’s state and nation­building, the press served as a platform for individuals as well as whole movements to articulate their ideas, protests, and/or demands for social, economic and political improvements. The media earned a high reputation for being a major element of resilience of India’s democracy. Continue reading “India’s General Elections 2014 and the Role of Media: New Course or Entrenching Old Patterns?”

2015 Senate Polls in Pakistan – Urgent need for Reforms and some Recommendations

March 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

After having completed its 12th Parliamentary year on March 4th, Senate Polls took place in Pakistan the following day. The Senate is the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan, also known as Majlis-e-Shura. Pakistan’s political system consists of a President and the Parliament, which comprises two houses, the National Assembly (the Lower House) and the Senate. It came into existence on 6 August 1973 after the introduction of the 1973 Constitution (especially Article 50) which was adopted on 12 April of the same year. Before, the Pakistani Parliament had only one Chamber, the National Assembly. Basically, the Senate consists of 104 members elected indirectly by the members of the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. Senate polls are held every three years for one half of the Senate and each Senator’s term lasts for 6 years. Continue reading “2015 Senate Polls in Pakistan – Urgent need for Reforms and some Recommendations”