As the debate rages over whether the CA should be extended or not, political parties are still involved in last minute negotiations trying to resolve the hurdles. It speaks to the incompetence of the political parties that the CA's term has been extended again and again, and now we have arrived at a point where it is near impossible to meet the May 27 deadline. The extension of CA's term has been necessary, primarily, to allow more time to the UCPN-Maoists, first to prepare themselves to integrate and rehabilitate their combatants, and now to resolve the outstanding issues related to the restructuring of the state and forms of governance. The political leaders, especially Prachanda knew that the CA deadline was going to expire on May 27 and that it was almost impossible to extend the term without overriding legal and political principles upheld by the Supreme Court.
The political parties overcame a major hurdle posed by agitating groups on Tuesday when the government and the agitating alliance of ethnic groups reached an agreement following which agitators called off their protest programmes. However, the government compromised on an important principle related to the federal system. The government agreed to a controversial issue which the parties thought they had resolved earlier. The fourth point in the agreement says that federal units with pre-emptive rights of the ethnic groups will be established. Although taking decisions about constitutional provisions is the prerogative of the CA, the government has committed itself to four provisions related to the new constitution. Whether the government received the nod from the political parties or not is a mute question because only the CA has the right to decide on such issues. Such moves can increase mistrust in the future and invite further conflict. Furthermore, the government's agreement with the ethnic groups is contradictory to the agreement with the Brahmin and Chhetri groups.
Yet, the political leaders have pushed the country to a state where we have to choose between getting a new constitution or violating existing constitutional provisions. The political leaders have turned out to be incompetent because they consistently bypassed democratic decision making process, the constituent assembly, and preferred ad-hoc negotiations. We are seeing the results now. Much of the negotiations today are taking place outside the purview of the CA and the government has registered a motion to extend the CA for the fifth time, disappointing the people yet again. At this stage, the SC's verdict still remains valid; democratic parties cannot ignore the principles on the basis of which the SC gave that verdict. It remains to be seen how the parties can find a way out as outlined by the SC. The best way forward is to try to resolve as many issues as possible by May 14 and produce a draft constitution. Otherwise, seeking a fresh mandate would not be a bad idea if the parties can work out a modality on the basis of which the elections can be held. Similarly, while the rights of indigenous groups have to be protected, the issue of preemptive rights requires further negotiations between the political parties.
On top of the world
The lofty Mount Everest continues to lure mountaineers from throughout the world. However, it is a tragic matter that many have succumbed while climbing the mountain for one reason or the other. One would expect that these deaths would deter many mountaineers for making a bid on the mountain. But this is not so and records show that the mountain has a traffic jam of climbers. In fact,
those wanting to climb the peak have to book years in advance before being allowed to climb the mountain. There are concerns raised about overcrowding on the mountain. It is high time a way was found
to deal with this. Moreover, some climbers are blamed for littering the mountain. Under the circumstances, it would be prudent to punish the climbers guilty of doing so.
Nepal is indeed fortunate to have Mount Everest as this has made the country known worldwide. Let all of us help keep the mountain clean for not only the good of ourselves but for posterity. Meanwhile, several records have been set on the mountain which are indeed laudable. However, people should be climbing the peak because they enjoy doing so.