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31.01.2009 Feature Article

Changing showground of South Asia

Member Nations of South Asian Association of Cooperation (SAARC) have experienced many changes in the political showground of the region. From Afghanistan to Bangladesh, people observed many changes have taken place, most of these are positive in nature.

Afghanistan, the youngest member of SAARC, is running through the problems yet, those were emerged from the Taliban militancy. As of information appeared on media the Afghan society became more conservative in present time ever before though a government is working with a secular manner. Moreover, most of the members of the government are western trained and committed to reform the nation as a modern secular nation state. In spite of this commitment and presence of US led allied military, the Talibans are yet strong in the society and growing stronger in rural area. Changes in this nation are US administration is going to reinforcement in their military presence in terms of number of personnel and fire power, government trying to keep grip on the society but reality is that government is losing as social power structure is contradictory to the secular philosophy, but diplomatic support for afghan government is seen as an increasingly developed phenomenon.

Pakistan is a country, which get a elected government and parliament along with a powerful presidency. But the nation is yet to address the burning issue of South Asia Region, the militant activities in the country and the nation is being blamed for a safe haven of many regional based militant groups. After assuming state power by an elected political civil government it was expected that Indo-Pak relationship would be warmer but many incident including Mumbai terror push the relationship towards a war like tension.

As a nation, Pakistan gets only the important change in political system that is an elected political government. But the war in North Western province against militant factions is remaining the same as it was in the time of Taliban rule in neighboring Afghanistan; and facing an image problem in international community.

India the largest among SAARC nations is heading to a National Election in near future. Elections in provinces are emerging as acid test for the ruling Congress led government. Though the nuclear power nation is facing an extra stress of terror and tension with another nuclear power neighbor has advancements in war technology, social sector investment and economic growth despite of global economic crisis.

Maldives has a very significant development in politics and social power structure. Once autocratic-like governance system of this country has been changed to a democratic system by electing a President through a popular election. This change pushed the nation to reconstruct the power structure in social and political level. As a matter of fact the island-state started journey through democracy towards social changes.

Sri Lanka is also a war trodden nation like Afghanistan with different character. Presently the army achieved a very important military victory over the LTTL, the politico-military organization of Tamils minority of Sri Lanka. It is an apparent victory of the government over LTTE; problem should be resolved by political initiatives as the source of the problem had been emerged from political causes. As of available information government and military of the country are tempted to resolve the crisis, but only military operations cannot remove the problem. Tamils are legitimate citizen of Sri Lank. The issues related to them are political; LTTE is only one of those issues. The change of the Sri Lankan political attitude is Tamil issues could be resolve through military drive, though once they have a belief that issues should be settled politically.

Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have sharp changes in their political milieu. Nepal was a kingdom just a few days ago. Presently the nation is a democracy and has an elected government that is running under the leadership of a Maoist party, who were engaged in guerrilla warfare for at least 14 years. The social power structure of Nepal was a mixture of feudalism and democratic essence. Now, though the kingdom is in nonexistence, the social power structure remained in the same nature. But as the democratic and anti feudal political forces are governing the government, local bodies and administration, the weave of the change giving pressure on the walls of old fashion social power structure.

Bhutan, a small Himalayan Kingdom, has got an ornamental monarch, a democratic government and a significant level of economic growth despite global economic crisis. Only important pending political issue is the refugee crisis of ethnic Nepalese. In Bhutan, Capital getting roots in to the deep of society and pushing slowly the society to many phenomenal changes. Though the nation has a king, who is very respected and beloved to the citizen, the society is moving to the capitalist nature.

Bangladesh was under a rule of extra constitutional military backed interim government for January 2007 to December 2008. Bangladesh observed parliamentary election on December 2008 and a nationwide local body poll on January 22, 2009. The result of the both of poll went in favor of a political alliance led by Bangladesh Awami League (AL). Mentionable that the AL led alliance got an absolute majority in parliament, which is a record after 1973. This overwhelming support of the people is to the AL led alliance for many changes in governance system, process of administering the state and make the local government active & autonomous. Though changes in practical field of the said issues are not yet in reality, the people's mind is already in the process of change. The people of this nation are thinking about the changes in socio-political behavior, delivery system of public offices and in the fields of political economy & development philosophy.

SAARC is the forum of South Asian nations to discuss the problems and prospects of the people of the region. It is the platform of economic activities. This regional association is the common stage of decision makers of the member nations. The changes are going over the region should be understood by the people-concerned. Particularly, terror and militancy is a vital issue for the SAARC members to be addressed in a proper way. If the socio-political and psychological changes in the mass are not understood by the policy makers, it would be a difficult task to prioritize and address the issues.

By Kazi Mohoshin Al Abbas

Mohoshin Abbas
Mohoshin Abbas, © 2009

This author has authored 26 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MohoshinAbbas

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