07/05/2009

Political turmoil in Nepal

In neighbouring Nepal,the differences between Prime Minister Pushp Kumar Dhuhal Prachand and Army's Chief Rukamanga Katwal took a serious turn when on one side the Nepali Prime Minister announced the sacking of the Army Chief and on the other hand the Nepali President Dr.Ram Baran Yadav issued a notice to reinstate him. The situation became even more serious when two of the coalition partners of the ruling coalition government, the CPNUML and the Sadbhawana Party decided to take away their support from the coalition government. It is being told that the decision of the allies to take away their support has caused danger for the government because now they do not have the support of the majority. It is being told that the Nepali President Dr. Ram Yadav had advised Prime Minister Prachand, not to take up any such steps against the Army Chief which will worsen the conditions. On the other hand the Nepali Army Chief Rukamanga Katwal has refused to follow the Prime Minister's order. This situation has taken the form of a constitutional crisis. It is being told that the two allies which had taken away their support have put a blame on the government saying that the government did not take their opinion or discussed the matter with the allies and hence this decision is a one-sided one, whereas the government's spokesperson Krishan Bahadur Maharaj stated that this decision was taken up during the cabinet meeting and was passed according to the military act which was made after the reinstating of democracy in April 2006. As per the reports the majority of the supporting political parties of the coalition government disagree with this act of the pro Maoist communist party. It is being told that eighteen out of the twenty four political parties have declared the sacking of the Army Chief as breach of the complete peace pact, and the Nepali President has advised the Prime Minister to follow the complete peace pact and work within its boundaries.

The Nepali Prime Minister had many complaints against the Army Chief, which he had already expressed. He also had a doubt that conspiracies were hatched to overthrow his government. He had also put a blame on the former King in this regard. He also complained about it to India, which he had declared on various occasions. The differences between the Nepali Prime Minister and the Army Chief came out in the open when the government demanded an explanation from the Army Chief regarding the three points, it is being said that the government had ordered the Army Chief not to carry out any fresh recruitments in the Army at present. Inspite of this the Army Chief started new recruitments. It is said that the pro Maoist Prime Minister had a desire to recruit armed Maoists in the Army. Second main point of conflict was that why were the eight high ranking retired army officers still present in the army and the third was that the government had ordered the Army sportsmen not to participate in the National Games organised in Kathmandu last month because the pro Maoist People's Liberation Army was taking part in it. It is being told that the Army Chief had given replies to these questions but the government and specially Prime Minister Prachanda were not satisfied due which, his doubts that a conspiracy was plotted to remove him from power, were strengthened. The expression of anxiety from America and India gave strength to his doubts, so hastily he took this step but it is appears that he is left all alone. The Army also refused to obey his orders. They say that the Nepali Prime Minister had no right to dismiss the Army Chief. On the other hand his allies are also angry with him and the Nepali President has also declined to approve of his actions. All these have made the conditions very critical and this has led to a constitutional turmoil.
07/05/09 Editorial by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Asma Anjum Siddiqui

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