SAPAC Weekly News Digest 11.1.2016

Go Nawaz Go

“I wait for the day when Nawaz, Shahbaz are put behind bars”

-Imran Khan

Thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf  (PTI) supporters gathered in Islamabad to celebrate after the Pakistani Supreme Court court hearing of Panamagate petitions. Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif and his brother have been accused of corruption, fraud, and money laundering after the leaked Panama Papers which were published in April 2016. Imran Khan has encouraged his supporters to protest against corruption in the country and has threatened to “shut down” Islamabad on November 2nd.

More civilians killed in Kashmir

13 civilians were killed in Kashmir along the de-facto line of control between India and Pakistan after cross-border shelling. Indian authorities claim that seven Indians were killed from Pakistani shelling, while Pakistan claims that six of their citizens were killed from Indian shelling. Over 10,000 Indian civilians have been relocated from the disputed border region since September.

So far neither side has addressed ceasefire violation allegations.

Hindu temples vandalized

Angry mobs have vandalized at least 15 Hindu temples and 200 Hindu homes in Bangladesh after a FaceBook post by a Hindu-Bangladeshi appeared to mock the Kaaba ( holiest site for Muslims). Nine men were arrested by police following the violence, including the Hindu man for the FaceBook post.  In recent months there have been increased attacks against religious minorities in Bangladesh, many which have been claimed by extremist groups.

SAPAC Weekly News Digest 10.24.2016 

Voices of peace in Pakistan and India

Activists are calling for peace between Pakistan and India as tensions over Kashmir grow. Aliya Harir of Pakistan created the program called Aaghaz-e-Dosti (Beginning of Friendship), a cross border initiative that calls on Pakistan and India to hold diplomatic talks rather than carrying out retaliatory attacks. Harir has been quoted by saying “"Most media houses tend to ignore the voices of peace. TV shows get the most jingoistic voices from both sides. It is like a shouting match," she says. "[The] media needs to play a responsible role and present a more nuanced understanding of the people [of each country]."

An end to poverty and illiteracy in South Asia

#ChaiWala was the trending topic on Twitter in both India and Pakistan. The image of a handsome tea seller in Pakistan has been retweeted thousands of times with people swooning over his blue eyes. The image went viral and now the 18 year old Arshad Khan has landed a modeling contract. However, many used the image to address poverty and illiteracy in SOuth Asia because Khan had never been to school. Quickly images of young children selling tea instead of going to school circulated Twitter, showing the true Chai Walas who need help.

Largest Strike

Tens of millions of workers are on strike demanding higher wages and to protest against the government's economic directive to privatise the public sector and to invite foreign capital into some parts of the industry. Activists argue that less than 10% of Indian workers come under labor protection (“Tens of Millions in India Rise up Against Right-wing Economic Policy”). Al Jazeera reports that 180 million workers could strike including state bank employees, postal workers, and construction workers.