10 parties mull extradition treaty

KATHMANDU: Ten parties in the ruling coalition today discussed at length the Extradition Treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance on criminal matters and allowing air martial in all Indian airlines flights. India has repeatedly proposed reaching agreements on these issues with Nepal and the same was voiced during Home Minister Bhim Rawal’s visit to the southern neighbour between January 18 and 21.

Home Minister Rawal had told his Indian counterpart, P Chidambaram, to intimate India only after holding further discussions and reaching a political consensus at home. India has been pressing the Nepal government to sign the Extradition Treaty and mutual legal assistance on criminal matters at the earliest.

The Nepal government, however, has been saying that such an important treaty cannot be signed when the country is heading through a transition and that it can be done by an elected government to be formed under the new constitution.

“We are yet to reach a conclusion though we discussed the issues at length,” said Rastriya Prajatantra Party president Pashuptati Shumsher Rana, emerging form the meeting.

Home Minister Rawal had briefed the 10-party meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, about India’s proposal for singing the Extradition Treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance and allowing Indian Air Martial to scrutinise passengers boarding flights of Indian airlines at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Rana quoted the Home Minister as saying that India wanted to reach the agreement as soon as possible.

At the end of the meeting, government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communication Shankar Pokharel said the meeting urged the main opposition, UCPN-Maoist not to create any disturbance on any development project being carried out by international joint ventures. He was referring to the Maoist decision to halt the survey works carried out by Indian construction company, GMR-ITD, on the 300 MW Upper Karnali Hydel Project, which has proposed providing 12 per cent free energy to Nepal and 27 per cent free equity to Nepal Electricity Authority.

“Such acts by the main opposition would discourage foreign investors in Nepal,” Pokharel said.

The meeting also asked the Maoist’s People Liberation Army not to conduct any parade or show off on the occasion of its founding anniversary on February 14. It is learnt that the PLA fighters are scheduled to organise a parade in the capital on that day.

“Since the PLA combatants have already been brought under the control and command of the PM-headed Special Committee on Supervision, Rehabilitation and Integration, it cannot conduct such acts without its permission,” said Pokharel. He said the government had already cautioned the Maoist leadership in this regard.

The meeting also decided to hold extensive discussions among the parties in the Constituent Assembly about the processes of drafting the new constitution on time. Pokharel said they would hold regular meetings with the parties on the contentious issues that emerged in all 11 thematic committees on key issues of the constitution.

“We will try our best to find common understanding on the contentious issues,” Pokharel said, adding that they would focus on constitution-drafting process in the days ahead. The meeting also agreed to hold joint campaigns across the country to raise awareness on drafting the constitution on time stipulated by the Interim Constitution.