Category Archives: NewsLetter

Vietnam Communist Party elects new leader

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party re-elected Nguyen Phu Trong for a second term as party chief on January 27, unnamed officials have said. Trong, 71, was elected to the country’s 19-member Politburo, receiving a second exemption from mandatory retirement, and was subsequently chosen as general-secretary, effectively the most powerful position in Vietnam. Earlier the same week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Trong’s powerful rival, ended his bid for the top party spot and is expected to retire from politics. In a compromise with Dung’s supporters, Trong is expected to only serve part of his five-year term.

Afghanistan & Pakistan: Strength in unity

A new wave of terrorism has hit Pakistan just as people were beginning to relax due to the improved security situation.

The latest terrorist strike on January 20 targeted the Bacha Khan University, named after the revered freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was a practitioner of non-violence and was affectionately called Bacha Khan by his Pashtun followers.

Four militants attacked the university campus-located in Bacha Khan’s hometown of Charsadda, about 30 kilometres from Peshawar-by taking cover in the thick morning fog and the sugarcane fields, and scaling the rear walls to unleash death and destruction. The killing spree ended when the gunmen were eliminated by the police, who were quick to arrive at the scene and were backed by the army. Earlier, the university’s security personnel had offered resistance to the terrorists and saved others while sacrificing their own lives. Even so, 21 innocent people, mostly male students along with two teachers and other employees, were killed and many others were wounded.

‘CPEC: could it be a strategic game-changer for the region?’


University of London’s Senate House was the setting for The Democracy Forum’s January 20 2016 seminar, at which speakers addressed the central question: ‘Could the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor be a strategic game-changer for the region?’

TDF Chairman Sir Peter Luff presided over the event, and on the panel were Professor Lawrence Saez from SOAS; Dr Adnan Naseemullah and Dr Samir Puri, both from the Dept of War Studies, King’s College, London; Georgetown University’s Dr C Christine Fair; and Dr Jan Knoerich of the Lau China Institute.

Pakistan radical cleric building a militia in Islamabad

maulana Abdul Aziz, the Red Mosque cleric and one of Pakistan’s most dangerous men, said at a news conference in Islamabad on February 6 that if the country does not implement Islamic law, he and his followers ‘will solve it’.

Is terrorism an existential threat?

In a recent interview, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked US President Barak Obama to respond to charges that he is downplaying the threat of terrorism to the United States. Obama responded by saying that he believes the threat of terrorism must be kept in the proper perspective and that it is important not to overinflate the importance of terrorist networks. He also said he believes that terrorist groups do not pose an existential threat to the United States or the world order.