10, No. 19,
Tuesday, July 3, 2001
NC-UML return to table for
Koirala prepares quit-speech
Ruling Nepali Congress
and Opposition Party CPN UML had an about turn this week when they
re-opened talks obstructed for over eight months to find out solution
to the present political crisis.
The key to the change
in their hearts is the 14- point proposal made by Prime Minister
Koirala at the outset of the 20th session of the parliament. The UML
has already given green light for talks on the proposal keeping in
view the broad goal of national interest and that of the people.
Analysts point out
Koirala’s pledge to sacrifice anything for the higher national
interests expressed in his proposal. He had then pointed out that he
is not actually fighting for securing his position in the government
or ensuring his post. "What I am engaged in is getting the honour
due to the high post of the Prime Minister in the multi-party
parliamentary system in which the Prime Minister holds the key
Interpreting the pledge
as preparedness to quit the post, the UML that passed several months
in the past urging the Premier to resign decided to respond to the
proposal positively. Although the UML leaders are emphasizing the
resignation of the PM as prelude to talks, they have decided to return
to the table to have negotiation with the government.
appreciate the wisdom the two big parties have displayed at present
for the sake of the national interest. One highly placed NC source
said Koirala has already asked his colleagues to prepare his good-bye
speech. While the successor of Koirala is still not in sight yet, the
PM has kept the card related to this point to his chest without
letting anyone have an surmise of the same. The UML high command
believes that the successor will be a comfortable person for the
Some say the present
coming together of the NC and UML is nothing but a rehearsal for an
all party government which will ultimately seek to tackle the problems
facing the nation. Their talks will gradually fan out and engage all
in the political spectrum of the country. The currently underground
leftists may also join it, some predict. However, the underground
party has not made anything public about this.
The UML has, for
consumption of those who consider its latest stand as a sell out to
the ruling party, started saying that the PM will resign immediately
after the Parliament endorses the Vote on Account Bill. This has been
interpreted as the party’s explanation of why it joined the
parliament and talks without getting its previous single point agenda-
the resignation of the Prime Minsiter- fulfilled.
Having the UML change
mind and not disrupt the parliament-session, and getting it back to
the negotiation table without having to quit under pressure from the
street has by themselves been great achievement for Koirala. His
insistence that as an elected Premier of the party having majority in
the House of Representatives has also been honoured, although somewhat
indirectly, point out seasoned politicians.
The high level
understanding among the political parties is actually the need of the
hour. In this hour of crisis no politician can afford to differ or
remain prejudiced because of petty party politics, opine
intellectuals. They have, therefore, welcomed the coming together of
the NC and UML. This will certainly result ultimately in the all party
The only point not
clear is the silence of the Constitution on formation of all party
government in times when the parliament has decisive structure of
ruling and opposition parties. Will the all party government be
constituted after dissolving the parliament? Or will it be formed
through understanding with those in the majority party government?
experts seek ban on Shahtoosh
Nepal and her
neighbours India and China should undertake joint efforts in banning
trade of the world’s costliest wool - Shahtoosh.
The view is stressed by
wild life experts but no serious efforts have so far been made by the
government of the concerned countries.
Shahtoosh wool is so
fine that the shawls made of it can be pulled through a finger ring.
An international ban on
shahtoosh was imposed in 1995 after environmentalists alleged that the
chiru were being hunted into extinction for the soft underbelly hair
that is used to make the wool.
In the meanwhile the
Wildlife Trust of India called for a common strategy by authorities in
India, China and Nepal to fight the lucrative but illegal trade in the
world’s most wanted wool.
hope in Upper House
His Majesty the King’s three
nominees Dr. Roop Jyoti, Ms.Yangkila Sherpa and Dipta Prakash Shah
along with elected Upper House members such as Mahesh Mani Acharya
Dixit, Radheshyam Adhikari, Bala Bahadur Rai have inspired confidence
and hope among politicians and the general people.
Their personalities guarantee
that they would do something substantial for uplifting the image of
the 60-member Rastriya Sabha, a permanent parliamentary chamber which
refreshes itself once in two years with fresh election for one third
of its members.
The June 27 election left the
CPN UML in majority seat in the RS as against its second position in
the House of Representatives. The total number of seats of UML in RS
at present stands at 23 while that of the ruling NC has dropped to 21.
Because of the previous
nonperformance of the RS, the House could not be very effective,
complain politicians. The fresh men and women this time will make the
difference, they hope. The RS being the House of the elites is
considered very important but in practice it is taken as secondary to
the HOR. The members would work hard to raise the status of the RS in
future, said political analysts as they wrapped up the 2001 poll of
The election handed over the UML
a prestigious position in one Camera of the parliament. Its victory in
all five seats from the development regions accompanied by similar
gain in three seats elected by the HOR heralded a new era for it.
Moreover, UML’s being instrumental in making one RPP candidate win
the poll has earned a friend in RPP.
NC, majority party in the HOR,
could get its seven candidates win the seats elected by the House.
Ashok Koirala, Akkal Bahadur Bista, Deepak Bahadur Gurung, Bal Bahadur
Rai, Radheshyam Adhikari, Ramjivan Singh and the only female candidate
Maiya Devi Shrestha have become MPs.
So have UML’s Mahesh Mani
Acharya Dixit, Laxmi Das Manandhar, Beduram Bhusal and RPP’s Lok
Bahadur Thapa. UML’s Ram Prit Paswan, Lalitkumar Basnet, Shree Maya
Thakali, Ranganath Joshi and Urbadutta Panta have also been elected
from development regions.
of public interest and delivery of justice
The cases of public
interest and delivery of justice constituted the theme of
deliberations at a programme held in Kathmandu under the auspices of
the Judicial Service Training Centre and Judicial Council Secretariat.
Delay in delivery of justice was the main issue that worried many
speakers including the Chief Justice. They underlined the need to
expedite the process of delivery of justice.
Supreme Court Chief
Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya urged judges on the occasion to be
more careful in handling the cases of public interest.
"You have to do
three things at the same time in such cases: quick delivery of
justice, maintaining constitutionality and ensuring legality."
Judges should deliver
justice wisely in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution
keeping in view the people’s right to justice, he added. Deliver
justice quickly to the commoner, the CJ told the participants.
Justice Laxman Prasad
Aryal was of the view that in dynamic societies legal principles and
definitions change frequently and justice should be done in accordance
with the spirit of the Constitution. Judicial Council Secretary Kashi
Raj Dahal pointed out the need for ensuring quick delivery of justice
in the cases of public interest. In absence of such provision, the
people will feel deprived of justice, he opined.
Nepal Bar Association
President Sindhu Nath Pyakuryal expressed the view that such
programmes would contribute to making people conscious about the
importance of timely delivery of justice.
The programme brought
together a number of important persons such as Minister for Law and
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Mahanta Thakur, 21 justices, and
to Public Security
Despite DPM and Home
Minister Ram Chandra Paudyal’s brilliant defense of the Public
Security Regulations introduced by the government in the aftermath of
the Palace Tragedy, politicians and Human Rights group are continuing
their protest against the provision arguing "they undermine the
civil rights and democratic freedom of the citizens to express their
Series of protest
activities are being undertaken in Kathmandu Valley and outside
denouncing the government regulations first announced on June 4. Those
who have joined the opposition to the PSR-2001 warn that they would
not discontinue their protest. "We are ready to resort to any
action against the government on the measure."
A big rally was
organised in Kathmandu on Monday to emphasise the point. Organised by
34 political parties, student wings and Human Rights Organisations,
the procession indicated public anger against the regulations. The
government first wanted to discourage the move, later sought to
disrupt it and finally, upon realisation of massive public support
behind it, allowed it to be staged.
Some analysts pointed
out "the very fact that the groups are using their right to
protest and express themselves openly and freely against the
government in the streets of the capital city and elsewhere proves the
provisions positive and not objectionable. Had it been oppressive,
they would not have been allowed to bring out protest
However, a publication
prepared by the protest-organisers mentions "the regulations have
hurt the rights of thought, including rights of speaking, writing,
publishing, gathering peacefully without arms, rallying, demonstrating
and even travelling throughout the country."
Former Speaker and a
member of the Constitution –Drafting Committee Daman Nath Dhungana
opined that the Regulations made an attempt to undermine the gains of
the People’s Movement and those of the Constitution.
Chairman of Human
Rights Protection Forum Padma Ratna Tuladhar accused the government of
having nourished ill intention in introducing the Regulations during
such crucial time. "It has insulted the spirit of the
Constitution that ensures all Human Rights without fail."
Even politicians close
to ruling NC view the regulations as anti-democratic measures. A
number of the MPs denounced them at the party meeting the other day.
This forced the DPM explain the PSR more elaborately among the people
and media. Although the second man in the Cabinet who is regarded as
the next PM did his job of explanation well, the argument he forwarded
could not make the protestors satisfied.
report questions Pakistan’s survival
By Amir Mateen
A US study expresses
concern about Pakistan’s survival, saying that the current military
government may be Pakistan’s last chance to get its economic house
in order. The Rand Corp, a Santa Monica-based think-tank with close
ties to the Pentagon, questions if Pakistan is heading towards failure
as a state. While acknowledging that some positive steps may have been
taken by the military government initially, it says the pace of reform
seems to have slowed. If the military government fails, separatist and
Islamic forces are in the wings, it adds. The US study expresses
concern that a failed Pakistan may both invite and compel India to
react more forcefully to the next Kargil episode. In a separate
chapter devoted exclusively to Pakistan, the study does not rule out
the possibility of another Kargil, saying that it could lead India to
consider whether a more forceful response might not be advisable to
solve the problem once and for all.
The primary author of
the report is Zalmay Khalilzad, a Pentagon official during the first
Bush administration. Khalilzad joined the National Security Council
staff on Monday in a senior position that makes him a top strategist
on international security. The report says there may be a major change
in opinion in New Delhi, from a relatively relaxed posture towards
Pakistan to one that actively questions whether the stability of
Pakistan is in India’s interest. This view could be bolstered by a
sense that Pakistan may in any case be on its last legs, says the
report. In contrast to the situation in Kashmir, Pakistan has been
more successful in Afghanistan, where its backing of the Taliban has
enabled it to take control of almost the entire country. However, most
of Afghanistan’s other neighbours remain suspicious of the Taliban
and fearful that its religious extremism will harm their stability;
indeed, even Iran is hostile. "Thus, Pakistan’s success in
Afghanistan affair has had the effect of furthering its isolation and
providing Russia, China, Iran, and the Central Asian states with a
motive for uniting in opposition to it," says the report.
The United States has
no reliable military access to the India-Pakistan subcontinent, says
the report adding the military government of Pakistan "is hardly
a reliable partner, and current domestic trends promise to make it
even less so." As for India, it says, relations are in a stage of
post-Cold War thawing. The report suggests that although the shape of
Sino-Indian relations may be the most significant issue influencing
the future Asian political-military environment, the current concern
in South Asia centres on relations between Pakistan and India,
especially as it is manifested in Pakistani support for the Islamic
insurgency in Kashmir. The nuclear tests of 1998 appear to have
convinced Pakistan that a nuclear stand-off exists between India and
Pakistan, thus making the situation safer for lower-level conflict.
For Pakistan, says the
report, this type of low-level harassment of India represents its best
chance — albeit not a very good one — of gaining control of
Kashmir. As long as the indigenous insurgency is not fully suppressed,
Pakistan can support it at a low cost to itself while imposing a
larger cost on India. While it may seem remote, Pakistan may hope that
the victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan can be duplicated in
Kashmir. In any case, the struggle in Kashmir provides a rare point of
unity for Pakistan, and it employs Islam-inspired guerrilla warriors
who might otherwise cause trouble in Pakistan itself – a nation in
which Islamic fundamentalism is gaining in political influence. In the
past, India has adopted a defensive stance toward this sort of
Pakistani harassment. But that may change at some stage, the report