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Maoist army’s settlement must for Nepal’s new constitution writing

Drafting Nepal’s new constitution will not be possible without immediate management of the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army, Madhav Kumar Nepal, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee said.

world Updated: Feb 04, 2009 04:49 IST
Anirban Roy

Drafting Nepal’s new constitution will not be possible without immediate management of the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Madhav Kumar Nepal, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee said.

In an interview with a Kathmandu-based news-portal, Nepal said the government should immediately manage the arms and the PLA soldiers should be managed immediately as dispute and mistrust among the political parties could pose a serious challenge in drafting the new constitution.

Earlier, Nepal had promised to complete the entire process of drafting Nepal’s new constitution within May 2010. In January 2007, the political parties had scrapped the old constitution and vowed to draft a new “democratic” statute for Nepal.

Nepal said his committee has been facing enormous challenge of forging consensus among the 25 political parties primarily on the issue of management of the PLA soldiers. “In such a situation, writing a progressive constitution is impossible,” he said.

The veteran leader said political situation may not be congenial for drafting new constitution as long as the future of the PLA soldiers are not finalised.

At present, more than 19,000 PLA soldiers are camping in seven cantonments across Nepal, and their arms have been locked in containers under UN supervision. While the Maoists are demanding for integration of the PLA soldiers with the Nepal Army, the other political parties are opposed to the idea.

Nepal said that even after joining the political mainstream, the Maoists have not given up their rebel attitude. “Various sections of society have nurtured their own values and we face a major challenge addressing them,” he said.

Mistrust among political parties is growing, the former general secretary of Communist Party of Nepal (UML) said, adding that all political parties have their different demands.

“All political parties must forget their individual political interests and come together for writing a progressive constitution,” Nepal said, adding that even the opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress, should play a pro-active role.

The new constitution should ensure social justice and will be a document for a new era, Nepal said. The new constitution should be able to incorporate the spirit of the 21st century, he maintained.