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Three years on, Nepal peace pact fails to achieve goals

world Updated: Nov 22, 2009 15:50 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 to usher are yet to be witnessed in the Himalayan nation.

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

The only silver lining in the ongoing political impasse is the Maoists concern for the economy and willingness to let parliament function for three days to pass the annual budget tabled in July this year.

“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 GP Koirala to end the violent war that 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 general elections, Maoists emerged as the largest party and formed a coalition government. But in May this year, it stepped down from power 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 these have affected drafting of the new constitution, which is to get over in May 2010. The constitution-making schedule has been revised seven times till date as committees failed to complete work on time.

Rehabilitation of 19,500 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.

Mines planted during the civil war were to be disposed within 60 days of signing the agreement. But although the UN Mines Action Team has diffused nearly 47,000 of them, many more still remain active across the country.

Peace has also remained elusive in the past three years. The National Human Rights Commission recently disclosed that the government and Maoists were behind 133 killings and 447 ‘disappearances’ since signing of the CPA.

The state of affairs has led to worries not just within the country but outside as well. Last month UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern at non-implementation of several key issues of the agreement.

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