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Constitution of Nepal: How long will it last?

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by Dinesh Gautam

Recently, Nepal adopted its seventh Constitution in 67 years. This exercise of forming the Constitution took two Constituent Assemblies, seven years of time and 150 billion from Nepali exchequers. Out of a total of 610 representatives of the Assembly, 85 per cent voted in its favour.

credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com
credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com

However, 60 representatives belonging to Nepali tribal population or Madhesis rejected the process. They had issues with the seven states coming to life after the Constitution is adopted. Earlier, there was a proposal of forming 14 states as against the current seven.

Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, repeatedly, asked three main parties of the nation, namely, Nepali Congress Party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist, to not to overlook the concerns of the Madhesi leaders on the issue of formation of states. But, his words were not given any attention. The happiness for adopting the Constitution was missing from the face of the President when it was being announced.

India’s hand in bringing the Nepali Maoists to the mainstream, in 2006, under the 14-point agreement can’t be ignored. Another fact is that India is Nepal’s second largest neighbour that it shares a long and open international border with.

This is the reason why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to Nepali Parliament, requested them to include the concerns of all sections of the society. In the same regard, to reiterate India’s stand, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jayshankar met with Nepali PM and the President before the announcement of the new Constitution.

It was a reason for astonishment when leaders like Koirala, Prachand or KP Oli didn’t care for India’s concerns on the matter. The result came in the form of Constitution– opposing violent rebellions that took the lives of 43. How many breaths could this seventh constitution take is a question with little answers!

For a peace-loving and helping neighbour like India, this is a cause of concern. India’s low-spirited stance was evident from the statement: “We are looking at the process of Nepal’s adoption of its Constitution. India’s absence from the celebrations in Nepal as well as no functions at the Nepali Embassy, said more about the low key response from the neighbours in this regard.

Apparently, there are several challenges in front of Nepal, and India’s challenge is to help Nepal by being in its diplomatic limits.

The author is the Deputy Editor/Senior Anchor with Sahara Samay.

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Nepal, Pakistan agree to revitalise Saarc process

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for "greater peace, security and prosperity in the region"

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  • Nepal and Pakistan agreed to revitalise Saarc
  • This is done to promote greater peace and security
  • It will be apparently beneficial for both the nations

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for “greater peace, security and prosperity in the region” during talks that visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held with the Himalayan nation’s leadership.

Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons
Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons

Abbasi on Tuesday met Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and addressed a programme at the Saarc Secretariat here. He also held a meeting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” in the morning.

Bhandari and Abbasi hoped to reinvigorate the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as an important regional organisation. The Pakistani leader said that “issues of the countries in the region should not affect the activities of Saarc and its performance”.

He emphasised the need to make Saarc “more effective” in the days ahead. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual importance, including political, economic, defence and cultural fields.

On Monday evening, Abbasi met his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli and both decided to revitalise the stalled Saarc process.

Also Read: India pulled out of SAARC meeting that is to be held in Pakistan

The Pakistani leader sought to host the 19th Saarc Summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a “favourable environment” for the same. The summit has been postponed since 2016 after a military attack on an Indian Army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the attack, India unilaterally suspended its participation from the summit. Several member states rallied behind India’s position.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping. Oli’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal said “both leaders held a common view on taking the Saarc forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member countries and still significant”.

The step is taken to improve relationships between the two countries.

Addressing a function at the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu, Abbasi said peace, security and mutual friendship were essential for the prosperity of South Asia.

“Pakistan has undivided belief in the Saarc objectives, ideologies and principles,” he said, adding that Islamabad was fully committed to the Saarc charter.

Abbasi also announced doubling the scholarships provided to Nepal by the Pakistan government and proposed to set up a joint parliamentary panel between Kathmandu and Islamabad. IANS

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