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Koirala defeated, Nepal gets new PM

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Kathmandu: After defeating Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala in a keenly contested vote in parliament, Communist leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was on Sunday elected the prime minister of Nepal. He became the first premier of the Himalayan nation after the September 20 promulgation of a federal constitution.

Notably, support from the main opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist helped the CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist) chairman to bag support of 338 lawmakers out of 587 voting in the 599-seat house.

63-year-old Oli, a chronic patient of kidney-related ailments, is known to be a hawkish politician, whose sharp-worded statements have made headlines in the media.

An earlier sharp critic of the Maoists, Oli joined hands with UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to become the 38th prime minister of Nepal.

The key challenge for Oli now is addressing the demands of agitating Madhesh-based political parties and other groups over concerns related to the newly-promulgated constitution.

He also needs to carry out on war footing reconstruction and rehabilitation necessitated by the April 25 earthquake, restoring peace and tranquillity in the Nepal-India border area and working towards political stability.

Oli started his political career some 45 years back from Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. He represents Jhapa-7 constituency in the parliament.

He served many years in jail during the party-less Panchayat era in Nepal before 1990 when the king was head of state.

He has served as home and foreign minister in the past.

Oli is married but has no children. He has no formal education from a college or a university but speaks several languages.

The 63-year-old leader was elected chief of the CPN-UML in July 2014, defeating Madhav Kumar Nepal, another former prime minister.

He was chief of the UML’s international department before being elected to the top post in the party.

Oli had served as the deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs in the Girija Prasad Koirala-led interim government formed immediately after the 2006 People’s Movement.

In 1994, he was minister for home affairs in the cabinet led by then UML chairman Man Mohan Adhikari. He was elected a member of parliament thrice in 1991, 1994 and 1999 from various constituencies in Jhapa district.

(Anil Giri, 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