PM’s acceptance of controversial award defended

Kathmandu, December 6

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota today defended Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who has been widely criticised for accepting an award presented by the controversial South Korea-based Universal Peace Federation.

The award, presented at the end of the Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal on Sunday, carried a purse of $100,000.   “In your [journalists’] view, it was controversial event, but in my view it was a famous programme,” said Baskota, who is also the government’s spokesperson, at a press conference.

“The media has tried to portray PM Oli as a wrong person. When late Girija Prasad Koirala as the PM received the award, it was termed a milestone and he was termed an ambassador of peace. But when PM Oli received the award, he was termed a criminal,” he added.

Baskota said a prime minister of a secular country could not be biased towards one religion and that PM Oli respected all religions. Moreover, PM Oli talked about eastern philosophy in his speech during the event. “Former prime minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani attended the event. I hope you know what religion he belongs to,” he said.

He said some people edited leaders like Pradeep Giri and Dhan Raj Gurung out of photographs of the same event held in the past to spread propaganda.

On ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Bhim Rawal’s criticism of the PM, Baskota said he was not aware of who said what. Baskota also said that the government was doing its bit to find out those involved in the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta. “The government doesn’t order criminals to commit crime,” he said.