Kathmandu, December 5

The Parliamentary Hearing Committee is scheduled to conduct confirmation hearing for four ambassadorial nominees on December 9.

PHC Chair Laxman Lal Karna announced the date for hearing after the panel’s meeting today. The government had on November 11 nominated Nilambar Acharya as ambassador to India,  Uday Raj Pandey as ambassador to Malaysia, Krishna Dhakal as ambassador to United Arab Emirates and Anjan Shakya as ambassador to Israel. On December 7, the PHC would consult former ambassadors Pushkar Man Singh Rajbhandari, Ram Bhakta PV Thakur, Prahalad Prasain, Rudra Kumar Nepal and Niranjan Man Singh Basnet to know their views on the nominees, said Karna.

The PHC will then hear the arguments of Advocate Satish Raj Mainali who has lodged a complaint at the panel, demanding that the nominations be rejected as the principle of inclusion was not ensured in the nomination process. Mainali said   Article 282 (1) of the constitution stipulated that the president shall appoint ambassadors on the basis of the principle of inclusion.  He said Nepal’s diplomacy was plagued by anomalies due to lack of clear guidelines about the qualifications of ambassadors, their age and their professional conduct.

He argued that as all other constitutional post holders retired after reaching 65 years of age, that age bar should also apply to ambassadors.  He further said that a candidate for ambassador must reach 45 years of age to be eligible for ambassadorial nomination and ambassadors should have maximum tenure of six years.

He stated that he had filed a petition for a writ of mandamus at the Supreme Court raising these issues and the case was sub judice now.  He said the government had nominated very old persons and very young persons for ambassadors. He said current ambassadorial nominee Nilambar Acharya was 76 years old whereas other nominee Krishna Dhakal was only 38 years old. Similarly in the past when the government nominated 12 persons as ambassadors,  Padam Sundas and Pratibha Rana were 70 years old whereas Sharmila Parajuli was just 36 years old. “If an ambassador is very young, he might not have the necessary skills to do the job and if an ambassador is too old, then he might not have the energy to do the required job,” Mainali stated in his complaint.

He also said that if any nominee was given the rank of a minister, then he might not obey the commands of foreign secretary.    He said allowing ambassadors to work till 75 to 80 years of age was against the principle of equality. He also said that the government gave continuity to a wrong practice of political bhagbanda (quota) while nominating ambassadors.

He also stated that there were no clear guidelines as to whether or not Nepal’s ambassadors should meet any foreigner in foreign countries without informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Member of the panel Yogesh Bhattarai, who represents the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), said the complainant had raised some valuable issues and it would be appropriate to refer the suggestions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.