Bar wants hearing on Sri Lanka presidential terms

Updated 07 November 2014
0

Bar wants hearing on Sri Lanka presidential terms

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s Bar Association on Friday asked the Supreme Court to hold an oral hearing on whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa could seek a third term in office.
Rajapaksa on Thursday sought the court’s opinion if he could contest an election two years before his second term ends. The constitution has been changed to allow a third term, but there is debate over whether the change applies to Rajapaksa.
The president wants the court to rule by Monday, and the court gave the Bar Association until Friday evening to submit its arguments, only in writing.
Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya wrote to the Supreme Court on Friday seeking up to two weeks and an oral hearing.
“The incumbent president of the republic has over two years left of his term of office. There is no urgency in this matter and certainly no urgency such as would require refusal of an extension of time of up to two weeks,” Jayasuriya wrote.
Rajapaksa in 2010 used his party’s overwhelming two-thirds majority in Parliament to scrap a two-term limit for president; however some legal experts argue that the changes could only take effect to the presidents after Rajapaksa because he was elected under the old rule.
The Supreme Court judges are his appointees, so the court is widely expected to rule in favor of Rajapaksa. He took over the authority to appoint judges under the same 2010 constitutional change and last year his party lawmakers impeached a sitting chief justice and appointed his own aide.
Rajapaksa was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2010 riding on his popularity after leading a successful military campaign to end a 25-year civil war.


Kabul rejects reports of secret border deal with Pakistan

Updated 38 min 47 sec ago
0

Kabul rejects reports of secret border deal with Pakistan

  • The Durand Line Agreement was signed between British India and Afghanistan in 1893

KABUL: Kabul on Thursday rejected reports that it has secretly recognized the disputed Durand Line as the official border with Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. The reports, citing Afghan analysts, emerged amid a series of visits by Pakistani and Afghan authorities aimed at restoring bilateral ties, and the killing of Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazalullah in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.
The reports coincided with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement of a truce over the Eid period with the Afghan Taliban, which declared a three-day cease-fire but has resumed its attacks since Sunday night, killing dozens of troops.
An Afghan government delegation led by National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar visited Pakistan on Wednesday to discuss what Afghan officials said was implementation of security and peace plans reached months ago between the two countries.
The visit led to reports that Atmar had struck a deal with Pakistan to abandon Afghanistan’s historical claim over the Durand Line in return for Islamabad’s help in persuading the Taliban to begin talks with Kabul, and a vow to not derail parliamentary elections slated for October and the presidential vote next year.
“Baseless reports about the supposed Durand Line are changing hands on social media,” Atmar wrote, adding that no such discussions have taken place with any Pakistani official. 
The Durand Line is an issue that belongs to all Afghans, and no government “has the right” to talk about it, he said.
The Durand Line Agreement was signed between British India and Afghanistan in 1893. Since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has maintained that the treaty is binding and forms the border between it and Afghanistan.
But no Afghan government has recognized the line as the official border, and the issue has been a historical source of dispute between the two countries.