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Stability still eludes Nepal

world Updated: Nov 23, 2009 01:16 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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The historic peace pact that ended 10 years of Maoist-led civil war in Nepal turned three on Saturday. But the changes it promised are yet to be witnessed.

Now, with the Maoists announcing month-long agitation from Sunday seeking restoration of ‘civilian supremacy’, the country is on the brink of another crisis in the coming days.

The silver lining in the political impasse is that the Maoists are willing to let parliament function for three days to pass the annual budget tabled in July.

“The agitation will end with a three-day general strike beginning December 20 and will intensify further if the government fails to address our demands,” said Chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Saturday.

It was on November 21, 2006 when Maoists led by ‘Prachanda’ signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with then Prime Minister G.P. Koirala to end the violent war that had claimed more than 10,000 lives since 1996, and join the political mainstream.

Drafting of a new constitution and general elections were part of the agreement. The pact also ended 240-year-old rule of the Shah dynasty and Nepal transformed from a Hindu nation to one with secular credentials.

After last year’s elections, Maoists formed a coalition government. But in May 2009, the government fell after President Ram Baran Yafav overruled an order to sack the Army chief.

Since then, Prachanda and his cadres have been agitating across Nepal seeking to restore ‘civilian supremacy’ and an apology from the President for his ‘unconstitutional act’.

All this has affected drafting of the new constitution, which has a deadline of May 2010. The schedule for this has been revised seven times .

Rehabilitation of Maoist guerillas staying in barracks after giving up arms is yet to take place and successive governments have failed to constitute the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meant to investigate violation of human rights during the civil war.

The turmoil has led to worries outside the country as well. Last month UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern at non-implementation of several key issues of the pact.

Earlier this week, heads of 14 diplomatic missions to Nepal issued a joint statement urging parties to abide by the tenets of the CPA in letter and spirit.