Peace Building Process in Nepal
Organized by Nepal Foundation for Advanced
Studies (NEFAS) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung(FES)
8 October 2007, Lalitpur
Excerpts of the discussion
Chairperson: Kasiraj Dahal
Ananda Srestha's welcome address: We
are meeting after a long time and many developments have taken
place in between. We discussed issues like the constituent assembly
polls, the Kapilvastu violence and the like in yesterday's discussion.
Today's theme of discussion is not much different from yesterday's
as both are somehow related with each other.
In all these developments that have taken
place in the country the academicians have remained silent.
This discussion is expected to open ways for the thinkers to
come up with their ideas about these developments. We have taken
democracy as beyond criticism, a holy cow of sorts. Now we see
it being turned into a muscle-flexing bull as well. Those in
power appear to be doing what they like.
The question is why the constituents in the
ruling alliance have not been able to see eye to eye on major
issues and on national questions. It may be pertinent to ask
whether our politics is in our hands at all. Or, is it being
remote-controlled by international powers? The record of the
eight parties has been dismal. Even after the Maoists quit government,
things have not shown any difference.
Since we are talking about the peace process,
the question to ask is whether the peace process is actually
in motion. Rome is burning and Nero is playing his flute. Violence
has continued. This is a picture far from the promised democracy.
Who is to blame for this? The political parties have not been
able to perform. Even when eight parties are in power, nothing
has happened. The leaders say they will perform, but they have
not. People have been crying hoarse for peace but to no avail.
At least, the silent majority is allowed to speak during the
vote. But, today, even the elections are not happening.
Let me welcome you all, once again.
Devraj Dahal's address: The International
Crisis Group gives three reasons for absence of peace-- weak
governance, lack of political will and marginalization of sections
of the populace. As long as these factors prevail, there will
be no peace.
How can we avoid violence in the society?
We entered a peace process, but then policies and institutions
laid down by the process have not been formed so far. Conflict
was bipolar-between the Maoists and the state, before the peace
agreement. But, after the agreement, the conflict has taken
the social dimension as well. And, the peace agreement does
not visualize the social conflicts. Unless we get into the roots
of the conflict, we cannot resolve it. This must be done in
the political sphere. But, today's politics is based on, and
counts on, enmity among groups.
In the changing context, conflict resolution
knowledge has no relevance. The various perspectives of political
actors and the sectoral perspectives must be transformed into
executable policies by finding the converging points.
The nature of Nepalese conflict is that it
is open ended, thus equilibrium of the state is proving to be
elusive. This is perpetuating and reinforcing the inherent contributing
factors of the conflict.
The factors that contribute to stability must
be sought. Heterogeneous actors must be allowed to have their
stake in the state. The problem has been aggravated by the political
parties and by the civil society. Parties must be mass based
and civil society must be democratic to come out of this situation.
One of the reasons for the intensification
of the conflict has been the weakness of the state to resolve
the issues before they come into fruition. The state must begin
to act to resolve the issues, otherwise we find that it encourages
other groups to confront the state. Management of the transition
should be geared towards reconstruction.
The leaders must change their behaviour and
we should raise awareness of the people in this, through the
media. The civil society too contributes to lawlessness and
they should mend their ways. Some points to consider:
- Monopoly of power must be balanced among
politically significant groups. The international community
can help in stabilizing the situation.
- Optimizing the group interest rather than
- The state's focus should be the citizen.
- Non stakeholders must be co-opted.
- A system that focuses on the destruction
of the weak creates conflict.
- Power transfer must be based on democratic
methods. Violent means only justifies a violent culture.
Chairperson Kasiraj Dahal's remarks
My predecessors described the political developments leading
up to the present and also the different dimensions of the conflict.
We see that conflict is continuing in various forms even today.
This is perpetuating instability, violence and weakening the
state. Only a strong state can mitigate all these vices.
The views so far show that there is a need
to seek consensus between the status quo and the revolutionaries
to mitigate the conflict. Devraj Dahal said that if democracy
is thwarted for self-interest there will be no peace. He also
said that parties must be active and mass based. He wants the
civil society too to be democratized.
As a constitutional expert, I view the history
of constitutionalism as a search for political documents for
a system of rule of law. The search began in the 18th century.
There are methods of drafting these documents- some do it through
referenda, some through the constituent assembly, some by exhortation
or even through the parliament.
World history shows that countries that drafted
the document through political consensus have brought in stability,
but in those countries that could not base it on consensus,
instability continues. Hence, the importance of consensus.
The aspiration of the popular movement was
for sustainable peace and a loktantrik constitution. In France,
the first constitution was not based on consensus, and hence
led to instability. The country remained a laboratory for constitutionalism
for the years that followed.
Constitution drafting is a political initiative,
but we have political confusion at the moment, in spite of the
claim by the eight parties that they have a definite road map.
Hence, the instability. The change agents must be clear on their
In S. Africa, in spite of the numerous political
parties, they could still come up with consensus and they moved
towards peace in an institutional manner. In India, too, they
were clear on their road map. In Italy, a referendum resulted
in the road map. In other words, institutionalization of peace
has been possible through a constitution based on consensus.
We, on the other hand, have only pledged to act, but not enforced
our pledges. As long as the confusion prevails, there will be
We do not have a long history of political
parties cooperating with each other for the sake of the nation;
hence thinkers like academicians must be able to guide these
Transitions are a difficult time for rule
of law. But lengthening of the transition leads to questions
about the legitimacy of the transitional authority, hence concessions
must not be given to those creating further confusion and justifying
it in the name of transition.
Civil society can be political, but not partisan,
for the transformation of the conflict.
Even if I say that those undermining the rule
of law can be pardoned citing the transitory phase, we still
see that there is not even a political commitment needed to
bring about stability. This was amply proved by the stalling
of the constituent assembly election. The parties had said that
they would resolve all the issues to hold the election on schedule
until the very previous evening. We need political consensus
among the different political groups for them to be able to
hold the constituent assembly election if stability is to be
Our role in ending the instability is vital
as we can guide the political sector.
Chair Sridhar Khatri
Sushil Raj Pandey's presentation
Sushil Raj Pandey's presentation courses between the imperative
that brought the seven party-Maoist coalition into existence,
that is to overthrow King Gyanendra's rule, and the ups and
downs involved in resolving the myriad of issues involved in
building peace. And, here he finds a lot of ironies. How can
such ironies resulting from the gaps between grassroots realities
and political imperatives be sorted out?
Pandey's paper does see a ray of hope, despite
the wobbliness of power struggles among disparate political
groups and the imperative for a stable situation required for
a sane peacebuilding plan in a geo-politically volatile context.
He finds that hope in the form of the term 'state restructuring'
found in various political documents that have been crafted
since the Jana Andolan II. But he sees even that hope being
threatened by intra-coalition differences even while the grassroots
reality has already begun to show impatience. What with different
kinds of armed groups already coming into existence?
Sridhar Khatri: Please
focus on the fluidity of the situation. The paper reflects it.
The paper says that to expect a rational system at the moment
appears to be mere conjecture. It calls for attitudinal change
among parties. The author sees the seven party alliance as a
syndicate and other groups are emerging as well. He thinks that
to seek harmony in a hydra-headed leadership is difficult. He
also raised other points. Please focus on peace building ideas.
Ganga Thapa: Have you seen Maoists
adopting a peaceful participation in the political process anywhere?
The alliance you say was formed to throw the
You also say that the Maoists have joined
the mainstream. Does it mean they are not democratic?
You talk of full democracy, what does it mean?
You talk of permanent peace, but we know that
it first begins with factionalism, then goes on to polarization
and then only to the later stages. We are still in the factionalism
and polarization stage. When will we be there?
You talk of restructuring, is it a new state
like the Maoists want or just a political change?
We have a violent transition, not a peaceful
Can we have anti-nationalist parties?
A referendum can only decide the fate of the
monarchy, but what about other issues that would require a constituent
Ananda Srestha said that politicians are not
leaders. What do we do? Do we import them?
To Pandey, which is the centrist party in
If it is politics, it is struggle for power
and competition. How can there be concessions?
Lal Babu Yadav: Nelson Mandela said
that peace cannot be brought through talks among friends, but
only with enemies. But we are talking about peace among the
seven party alliance, and not their opponents. The prime minister
could not even travel to the Madhesh for dialogue some time
ago, due to security reasons. How do we bring rivals to the
table for talks? Monarchy can be removed through a coup, the
parliament and never through the constituent assembly. Had there
been no talks between Mandela and De Klerk there would be no
peace in South Africa.
Please give me examples and tell me where
elections have taken place for the constituent assembly and
constitution drafted afterwards.
Prem Sharma: The myriad of ideas in the paper does not
provide a clear direction as to where we are moving towards.
Are you trying to say that the current process has no direction?
The perpetuity of the current confusion that you point out has
confounded me. What is the resolution?
Narayan Gurung: We are talking of restructuring
the state. But the political actors are not represented in these
discussions. The problems [of marginalization] remain where
they are even in these discussions as no actors are represented
by the political players. How will we have peace?
I do not see the paper coming out with a resolution
to these problems.
The Maoists signed various agreements to enter
the peace process, but they never abided by it. No one pointed
a finger at them. They have been changing their tunes all the
These seminars could do better had there been a mixed participation.
Suman Dhakal: Impunity has not been
dealt with in the paper. Its role in peace building should be
Jitendra Dhoj Khand: The paper reflects
the need to follow the national interest in the milieu of regional
and global power politics. How do we go for peace in the context
of an open border? We know that culprits entered the border
and killed Nepalese people before returning to their bases across
Nepal would have been a zone of peace long
ago. There was about to be a two-thirds majority at the General
Assembly declaring Nepal as a peace zone. It was then that the
movement began in Nepal. The import of Chinese weapons was only
There is greed, love for power, mismatch between
qualification and ambition for power, jealousy and arrogance
among the politicians. These are the six diseases afflicting
our psychology. If we shed jealousy we will have peace.
Not just the nation, but also the individuals
are heaped deep in loans.
We should also be aware about foreign intelligence
The king handed power in a constitutional
manner, but the power takers have thwarted both the king and
the constitution and now they are faced with a situation where
they have nothing to base their acts on. This has resulted in
the confusion. In Cambodia, two million people were killed in
44 months. Let Nepal not follow that.
Laxmi Kesari Manandhar: The Maoists
are working to seek consensus on the election system and the
declaration of a republic. Will the election take place if their
efforts are successful?
You say that political actors and civil society
must change their attitude, but that takes a long time. Does
it mean we have to wait for tens of years?
Regarding the elements spreading violence,
the eight-party sister organizations have spread to schools
and the government is weak because the rule of law is not being
followed by the affiliates. Neither the police have been enforcing
the law nor are the police abiding by their own rules.
Chuda Bahadur Shrestha: In colonized
countries, peace prevails after the colonizers leave, only the
system remains in place. India is an example. In the other kind
of change, if the grieving actors are not accommodated, peace
proves elusive. The eight parties are exclusive and do not allow
other voices to prevail. No one is raising objection to this
through the media.
We have a prime minister who is an ultra supreme
commander, but when talking of the anarchy, he does not appear
to be interested even while he is overly concerned about the
king visiting a temple.
Our Minister Ram Chandra Poudel used to blame
the Maoists of being palace agents. Now, again, he has blamed
the Madhesi movement being instigated by the palace. We also
see the Maoists saying that they will not follow the interim
Have we tried to include all voices for the
sake of peace? If we look at Afghanistan, the end of the monarchy
there led to coups and counter-coups.
Bihari Krishna Shrestha: The paper
does not take into consideration the India factor, which cannot
be overlooked whether for war or peace. Can such overlooking
After the 1950 treaty was signed Mohan Shumsher
was kicked out of power. Ganesh Raj Sharma has recorded that
India told an unnamed person to have B.P kicked out of power
too. During the Panchayat system, the 1965 treaty was signed
to extract various concessions. In 1990, the Nepali Congress
and Communist Party of Nepal- UML activists were paid [for their
work] in Indian currency. Today, we are talking of a republic
at the behest of India. India wants either Bhutan or Sikkim
type arrangements with Nepal. How do we hedge the Indian design?
This must be taken into account while devising strategy.
People criticize King Gyanendra, but he is
just a human being. When he went to India, he went to Patna
and Lucknow, he talked with local politicians to control the
Maoist infiltration into their territory. This was followed
by criticisms of the king. This was again followed by his proposal
to have China given an observer status at SAARC.
Please include these points in your analysis.
Dev Raj Dahal: The peace agreement
is confusing- it talks of social change but in another place
it talks of transformation. There is also another term mentioned
there- restructuring. All these terminologies mean different
things. The agreement only appears to be an attempt to include
all the different ideas. But such mixture will not take us anywhere.
The changes that have taken place must be
assessed to find a domestic source for resolution.
The law has been framed for a common identity,
but no one is following them. This is why we do not have peace.
The leaders have been seeking unity for ten
years. This could be a search for power monopoly or also an
honest search for harmony.
If the political actors are externally supported,
they suffer from a free-riding mentality. As long as this happens
we will always suffer from absence of peace.
Also, conceptual clarity should be there,
not mere use of terminology. Changing the village panchayat
to VDCs will not give us anything until we change the concept.
Regarding revolutionary transformation, political
movement does not bring it about. There must be the foundation
for that to take place. Hence, we must follow evolutionary change,
Small nations must always anticipate change.
Secondly, strengths and limitations of the state must be assessed,
something only statesmen can understand. Political leaders cannot.
Hari Krishna Adhikari: All the developments
that have taken place is not only a result of us not having
leaders. The prime minister has succeeded in keeping the Maoists
inside cantonments. Indeed, the dramatic changes were not anticipated.
We cannot have statesmen, always. But I do not believe that
the peace process is in any danger, although risks are there.
Karna Bahadur Thapa: The paper does
give me hope that there is still the feeling of nationhood among
First, we should make the leaders understand
that they did not come to power after a total victory. If they
do not understand their limitations, they will be forced to
live in the same situation they were in before they came to
Arms can be imported by the state, smuggled
or acquired in grey areas. Nepal appears to be in the grey zone
at the moment. These issues have not been raised by the media.
The lower level employees are penalized for
great crimes, but not the leaders who ordered them to, especially
with regard to impunity and law and order.
In 2006, people anticipated huge losses of
life through state action, but that did not come about.
We still have a possibility of foreign intervention.
The political forces could invite them without qualms as they
are only their appendages. Or the situation can go out of hand
inviting their presence.
In Nepal, if another violent group emerges,
the violence could take the vertical route, not just horizontal.
In other words, killings of opponents will not be the only concern.
The leaders too may be targetted by their lower ranks.
Samira Luintel: I think the paper lacks
analysis about the situation coming in the days ahead.
I like the proposal the author gave about
making parties independent of foreign donors. That argument
should be extended to the Tribhuvan University professors as
The role of the civil society should also
be defined, not just the role of political parties.
Restructuring the state has meant that parties have talked about
options like a federal democracy, a federal republican democracy
and a republican democracy. The parties are still working out
the kind of structure they want.
Since we did not have the patronage of a colony,
we are seeking enmity within ourselves, from amidst the homogeneity
and harmony that we have had so far.
The civil society cannot be expected to give
us peace, as they too have their limits. Definitely do not ask
the political parties.
Adoption of a different election system will
warrant us to junk the 1.5 billion rupees that we have spent
on the old one and a lot of homework and time will be required
for the adoption of a new election system.
I have hope that the seven-party alliance
will work. But I am not partial for or against them.
Regarding impunity, you can point your finger
at anyone. But, that will not provide the solution. You can
blame the policeman for disappearances, but who was running
the government then?
Leadership training programmes are there and
the civil society has been assisting the process. But party
control supersedes even there and that may not be enough in
the Nepalese context.
Regarding the Indian factor, I did not go
into the details as it would have been a very long exercise
if I did that.
Also, we are all revolutionaries. But tomorrow all the revolutionaries
become conservatives. The need is to become pragmatic, in spite
of our need for revolutionary change.
Regarding, the risks that we face, the Maoists
have threatened an urban revolution. And, with the free flow
of weapons, through the open border, we must be alert about
how to manage the situation thus resulting.
Ananda Srestha: Regarding leadership,
we had 14 PMs in 14 years. I did not see that leadership quality
in any one of them. I saw that quality in King Mahendra and
B.P. Koirala. But that was taken to the extreme by the followers--
making Mahendra the light of the Shah dynasty and B.P. a Mahamanav
[super human]. This tendency still continues and as long as
that happens, political stability will always remain elusive.
Leaders must have vision, and rise above party
interests. I do not see these characteristics at the moment.
May be the younger generation has such leaders waiting in the
wings, but they have not been allowed to rise.
Secondly, please do not blame us for not inviting
the required mix of participants, several of them have not made
it here today.
First, the postponement of constituent assembly
polls, a part of the peace building process, is regrettable.
It is inexcusable but necessary. You cannot go for the polls
without the participation of the seven parties.
There are flaws in the peace building. First,
the structure of the peace accord is a flawed one. There was
no truce agreement but a code of conduct on how to bring that
about. There must be an accord and then only a code on that.
There are many issues in the accord, but no
timetable given to execute them.
The second ingredient of the accord is that there must be the
mechanisms to enforce the points agreed upon. For example, the
constituent assembly polls was defined but no deadline given
to hold them. It is these flaws that have given rise to the
The peace accord therefore becomes a bargaining
chip all the way. It is not just the Maoists who have used it
as a bargaining chip, also the Communist Party of Nepal-UML
has been talking in different languages.
The whole structure has been flawed as the
peace process was not brought through bargaining. Instead, it
is the result of appeasement efforts of the government while
the agenda was set by the Maoists. If we go over the past one
and a half years, we see the Maoists steadily gaining throughout
the negotiations with the government. Therefore, it is not just
the Maoists to be blamed for the flaws in the peace process,
but also the other actors.
UN role is vital during a peace process. Third
party role is important. UN gives credibility and prestige to
the process. But the disturbing fact is that the UN is involved
in Nepal in a risk free environment- on a very ambiguous agenda.
It is supposed to manage arms and oversee the CA polls. They
are talking of a second phase of arms management. We do not
even know how the CA polls can be managed without first managing
arms. This is what I mean by risk-free environment. People hired
by the UN are given a contract of only three months, hardly
enough time even to understand the country.
Security sector reform cannot be carried out
without arms management. The question of Maoist fighters and
their integration has not been discussed so far. The reduction
of forces has not been worked out. One side being armed and
the other not armed can only be a pipe dream.
The last point is that people do not like drastic change. And,
we are facing this dilemma right now. The transition management
is a matter for review. The difference between 1991 transition
and the current transition is that the then government then
knew that it had two mandates- to draft the constitution and
hold the election. The present government is deciding on everything
and leaving nothing for future governments. Until we realize
our mandates, the problems will continue to plague us.
Presenter: Jan Sharma
Chair: Ananda Aditya
Jan Sharma sees the peace process in Nepal facing obstacles,
not just because of differences among the domestic political
actors but more so because, since the Nepalese conflict is a
part of the geo-political conflict, the unbridgeable divide
among the conflicting international forces. The only thing all
the international actors agreed upon was to remove the King
from power but they were left high and dry when it came to a
roadmap for peace in the country, he says. His thesis is that
it was the same anti-monarchy forces that brought the nation
into the vortex of the conflict in the first place, because
of their incompetence to deal with vital issues. With their
differences not only continuing but gaining intensity by the
day not much can be expected out of a peace process that depends
on the same actors to come up with workable solutions.
Sharma says that the media and the civil society
are mere appendages of the political actors and the global and
regional forces operating in the country rather than beacons
of light for the Nepalese masses. In other words, perpetuators
of the conflict by pursuing their own vested interests, rather
than healers. He still sees hope for Nepal's peace on condition
that the constituent assembly election be held in a free and
fair manner so that it could take up the issues plaguing the
country and resolve them.
Samira Luintel: We always blame India
for all our ills. Still, we have to depend on it. Canada too
needs to depend on the United States. Canadians even feel pride
over their dependency. India provides transit facilities to
us, they give us jobs even their army allows Nepalese recruits.
Because we are a small nation, we need to depend on it. If we
have the negative attitude, why should India work for us? We
need India for education and even health.
Laxmi Kesari Manandhar: You talk of
non-state actors. Do they not belong to the state? I do not
agree with that.
You say that INGOs have mushroomed. I think
you talk of NGOs, not INGOs.
Regarding the media, private media appear
to be aligned with political parties and are not independent.
Narayan Gurung: You provide reasons
for the failure of the constituent assembly elections to take
place. If you include our own faults, it would be better.
Also, I have found media persons take pay
from embassies and business houses. Similar is the case with
academics and even government officials. These people are also
members of political parties at the same time.
The privatization of Nepalese public industries
has been anti-people and the governments are not working to
alleviate the people's plight. I also agree that Indian policies
have not been conducive to our needs.
The Nepalese foreign policy was clear in the
past, but today, we do not hear what our foreign policy actually
To talk of foreign meddling is not going too
far out of hand. We know that India has a big hand in today's
developments. Will Nepal remain sovereign?
Ujjwal Baral: There is talk of a grand
democratic alliance. Girija Koirala raised the issue as soon
as he was ousted after the Holeri incident in his previous stint
as prime minister.
Regarding the all party government, we have
the alliance of parties involved in the popular movement, Only
the Maoists have quit the government at the moment.
What is civil society? A crowd of several
people or individuals like Krishna Pahadi and Devendra Raj Pandey
and the like? If the citizens are involved, an organizational
structure of the civil society needs to be defined.
I agree that India has given us transit facilities.
We feel happy when it gives us several ambulances. And when
there is instability in Nepal, it becomes concerned about spillovers.
The Maoist fear did give it concern about a spillover to its
C. P. Gajurel's arrest has been portrayed politically in the
paper. But he was arrested for a fake passport.
Ananda Aditya: I was handling an American
group of 33 once. They too were not aware about a clear definition
of civil society. Civil society has no definition, just like
the definition of the state. It is something that keeps evolving
with the times. This does not mean we should not try. But we
should try and get as close to a definition as we can.
Ek Raj Ojha: There are two kinds of
rulers: A ruler used for measurement and those that rule people.
If the ruler is straight, it does not matter the kind of wood
it is made of. Instead of blaming others, we need to have good
rulers. It is okay when you blame others, but we should also
keep our own house in order.
Please edit the language, instead of repeatedly
Ganga Thapa: Are we going through a
regime change or is it a regime collapse?
Free and fair election is not enough, we also
want an environment free of fear for any election to take place.
If we do not take money from abroad, we cannot
have seminars even. But if it only tries to fulfill the interest
of the donors, it is bad.
Let us hope that even if the bad developments
continue, we can always hope that some good will happen some
Keshav Khadka: Do you have examples
where nations remain aloof from global and regional developments?
The paper should talk of situations where interactions take
place with other international actors. Our perspective is that
in spite of all the pressures, we could come to an agreement
without direct third-party involvement. The Maoists have left
government, but have they gone back to the jungles? Is this
not an achievement? Please list the gains in spite of all the
The silent majority is there. And, it speaks.
The voice of dissent is the civil society which has had a powerful
impression on the people.
Instability occurs when you are bent on doing away with a 2000
year old history.
Ananda Aditya: When Tek Nath Rijal
had sought refuge in Nepal, we sent him back. That has never
happened in Nepal's history. We have always provided asylum
to asylum seekers. We must be ashamed of that act. Nobody spoke
then. When Rijal launched a hunger strike three years ago, there
were 12,000 signatures collected to support him in three days.
This is proof of the growth of civil society.
Chuda Bahadur Shrestha: Regional, global
and national perspectives are taken into account to describe
national interest. Cambodia was sandwiched between two large
nations. In Yugoslavia, we saw that it was broken down into
Regarding violence resulting from violence,
Bosnia is a prime example. CNN had reported of a violence which
had never taken place. But the report did provide NATO the premises
In Nepal, today, we see that there is a disintegrationist
tendency on the rise. How should the media deal with it?
Vidya Nath Nepal: NEFAS should begin
homework on planning of restructuring and peace. Yesterday's
papers should have been presented today.
Here are some points to be considered for
1. Rehabilitation of the Displaced.
2. Reconstruction of infrastructure
3. Health and education
4. Social integration through development
5. National and regional projects- like vocational training,
computers and new regional growth poles.
6. Create investment environment
7. Financing of reconstruction.
8. Popular participation
9. Foreign assistance.
10. Institutional mechanisms
These papers could be written to plan the
reconstruction. NEFAS can initiate this and FES can assist in
P. Kharel: Prof. Baral used to talk
about expressing understanding towards India's assistance, some
30 years ago. But that would have meant accepting the status
Also, India has the best of relations with
non-democratic Bhutan and one-party Maldives. Canada too may
have its grievances with the US and not everything must be going
on well there.
We talk of Tek Nath Rijal. But the Indian
media does not talk about him. This is because Indian interest
does not warrant that, as it would go against Bhutan. While
talking about foreign interests we should think about preserving
the national interest.
Sixty per cent of the civil society functions
according to the guidelines provided by political parties. The
wives of politicians are NGO heads. Most of them are working
as party affiliates. It would not have mattered if only a few
of their agendas had coincided with those of the parties. But
that is not the case. We must therefore, conclude that the role
of the civil society has been to remain partisan. In our country,
it is not a question about which civil society organization
is partisan, but which is not? Hence, why talk about the role
of civil society in the political process, why not say the role
of parties, as they are just appendages?
Similar is the case with the media. The role
of the media is therefore redundant, as they are mere political
appendages. This situation has to end. Otherwise, it will have
its boomerang effect one time or the other.
There are media organizations affiliated to
parties. Media organizations should not receive state funds.
But only recently the government began to allocate budgets for
media organizations. All Press Council members are political
party members so far. Those talking about right to information
should not be party members.
Liberal democracies do not have state funded
Press Councils. State funding is there to some extent in Britain.
It is the media houses that are supposed to fund them. The Federation
of Nepalese Journalists has received 300 million rupees in two
years from different sources and state fund is added on that.
Ananda Aditya: We have a plan to take
the issue of Tek Nath Rijal to different parts of India. Also,
democracy and Prajatantra do not go together. Only loktantra
can. Praja cannot be rulers.
Mohan Lohani: Regarding the UN's role,
the author says that it has no exit policy. Invitation of the
UN needed the Indian nod. And, that appears to have delayed
the invitation. The PM sent the letter to the UN and the foreign
minister did not know about it. But the mandate given to the
UN was the same in both the Maoist and government letters of
invitation. The mandate is the management of arms and the monitoring
of CA polls.
We must understand that without the management
of arms, elections cannot take place.
The exit policy is there if the CA polls are
held and the peace process is successful, there is no need for
them to stay.
If we look at the pay packet of the UN staff,
naturally, they will try to remain and seek a role. Hence, we
must give them the exit.
India and China have their interest, and the
US may also have some. The EU does not have too much of an interest.
Even if they do, it is nothing compared to the neighbourhood
I agree with Kharelji regarding the media
Surendra KC: This seminar is getting
lively. The media and other forms of writers have their own
sets of syndicates of writers. There is a tendency to follow
the leader even when they are taking the Nepalese down the drain.
NTV and Radio Nepal directors get paid by the Indian embassy
because any statement of the prime minister or the king have
to go through there.
The paper should have been updated.
The paper ends by saying that the author does
not want to recommend anything but stills says that reconstruction
Jitendra Dhoj Khand: The paper
has been bold- talking of the loktantra terminology as an import
from India. But getting bogged down by terminologies is not
fruitful. Ganatantra could be said to have been derived from
the Gan used for army battalions, like the Bhairab Gan. This
is mere creating confusion.
The term Bharatkhanda was misused. Vedas were
written here in Nepal at the banks of the Kaligandaki. Hence,
Bharatkhanda does not mean India. Vyas was born thrice in Syangja.
And Bharat is the source of Bhaarat. Understand this before
Regarding neighbourhood relations, we see
that Indian and Chinese foreign polices have failed. UN in Nepal
is proof; and a way for the US and the EU to enter Nepal. The
foreigners want the army numbers to go up for better security,
but the Indians want to reduce it. Such Indian policy will not
go far. Nepalese have begun to understand better these days.
Global strategies are changing. The global
focus has been on Southeast Asia and South Asia today. Once
the two regions break down, then we will have the real loktantra.
The entry of UNMIN is a grave issue.
Bihari Krishna Shrestha: Please change
your hopes into methods.
Ananda Srestha: The first government
after the CA polls will have to develop a security doctrine.
What kind of doctrine will be that?
I hear that three doctrines have already been
formed and they will be unearthed as the situation develops.
To Vidyanath, let me say that we focus on
national issues and as a result we are always strapped for cash.
Only FES has been supporting NEFAS for the past 14 years. Other
INGOs do not fund us for our issues.
I am not blaming anybody. But their meddling in crucial decisions
has been pointed out by me. My question is whether Nepalese
are not capable of doing it on their own. I have only presented
Most of the problems would go away if political
leadership were merit-based.
Comparing Canada's relations with the US with
ours with India is inaccurate.
There are positive outcomes from the transition
and debates as well.
In India, government briefing to the media
is very extensive and the media men organize the stories in
a very professional manner. But the content is the same across
all the newspapers the next day. I do not call that media freedom.
This is specially so regarding foreign policy and security policy.
There is hardly any example where the UN has
accomplished its mission. This is purely because of fat salaries.
Ananda Aditya's remarks
One of the secretary generals of the party could not spell the
word 'secretary general'; he made three spelling mistakes in
two words. Then I came to know of King Gyanendra through another
man it made me think that we are in a brink of disaster.
We tend to be judgmental on the basis of myths.
Political parties have never been in power for more than 25
years. Hence, we cannot blame everything on them. Hence, let
us not jump to conclusions.
Let us not forget that India is far ahead
in terms of democracy. In India, old murders have also been
made public by the media over time. So many murders have taken
place in Nepal. And, no one has said anything so far. This is
the difference between India and Nepal.