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Four Madheshi parties announce fresh agitational programmes in Nepal

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Kathmandu: At a time when the process of drafting Nepal’s new constitution has gained momentum, four dissident Madheshi parties announced fresh protest programmes on Friday.

Objecting to the 16-point deal reached among the four major parties on June 8, the four disgruntled Madheshi parties — Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Nepal Sadbhavana Party, Tarai Madhesh Democratic Party and Tarai Madhes Sadbhavana Party — decided to go for fresh agitation beginning on July 11, Xinhua news ageny reported.

According to a statement issued by an alliance of the four Madhesi parties, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), on Friday, they would hold a mass assembly in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on July 12, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ending continuous differences over the past eight years on key contentious issues of the new constitution such as federal system, forms of governance and electoral system, major parties of Nepal struck the 16-point deal on June 8, which had paved the way to ensure the drafting a new constitution.

The four major parties agreed to federate the Himalayan country into eight provinces on the basis of economic viability and identity through the new constitution.

According to the agreement reached among the major parties, the government will form a high-level commission with a six-month mandate to take decisions over demarcation of the federal units. The Madheshi parties have objected to the formation of such a commission stating that this was against the provision of the Interim Constitution.

The protest programmes jointly unveiled by the four parties include showing black flags in public places and holding mass assemblies in Kathmandu and major cities till July 25 across the country.

Last week, the UDMF had burnt the copies of the draft constitution in Kathmandu as part of its first round of protest against the 16-point deal.

The Madheshi parties have been stating that the first draft of the constitution did not resolve the issue of federalism and provision on citizenship mentioned in the first draft was discriminatory for Madheshi people.

“The first draft of the new constitution is against the spirit of the Interim Constitution, past accords and recent ruling of the Supreme Court and aspirations of Madhesis, indigenous nationalities and marginalized communities,” a leader of the alliance, Laxman Lal Karna, told reporters in Kathmandu. He also argued that such a constitution was unacceptable to these communities, including Madheshis.

Earlier, issuing an interim order against the 16-point deal, the Supreme Court of Nepal had said that a new constitution without names and borders of the provinces would be against Articles 138 and 82 of the Interim Constitution. The Madheshi parties are urging the major parties to respect the court’s ruling in line with the Interim Constitution.

Despite strong objection of the Madheshi parties and the interim order of the Nepal’s Supreme Court, the major parties — the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (Democratic) — have geared up for drafting the new constitution.

According to the action plan endorsed by the Constituent Assembly on Thursday to seek public feedback on the preliminary draft of the constitution, lawmakers from various parties are visiting 240 electoral constituencies and 75 districts.

(IANS)

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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