Civil mantra to put Nepal back on rails

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 31:

A cluster of eminents of civil society have come up with recommendations on evolving national consensus to resolve the current political deadlock and bring an end to conflict in Nepal. These eminents have sought to address the stakeholders - the King, Maoists and political parties.

The six-point agenda of the Civic Solidarity for Peace (CSP) coordinated by former minister and human rights activist Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha, comprises a proposal for confidence-building and alleviating fear amongst stakeholders, an agreed agenda of national consensus, initiatives for peace talks and resolution of conflict, political outcomes and concerns related to the army and armaments, among others. Maheshwor Man Shreshtha of CSP read out its document at a programme here today.

The CSP has proposed three alternatives for conflict resolution and political outcome. First, formation of an interim government including Maoists which would agree to transfer the existing Constitution into an interim Constitution or make a new Constitution followed by election of the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly would then adopt and implement a new Constitution.

The second option is an interim government including Maoists, which would also declare the present Constitution as an interim one. The coalition would conduct parliament elections. The parliament thus elected would then develop and adopt a new Constitution and also suggest endorsing the Constitution after 51 per cent "yes" votes in a national referendum.

The third alternative is to form an all-party round-table to constitute a Constitution-drafting commission with involvement of all conflicting parties and experts. "The draft Constitution should be drawn up within a specific time-frame and made public for discussion. Based upon the mutually agreed draft Constitution, an interim government should be formed to conduct Parliament elections.

According to the CSP, time is running out. "Therefore, we appeal all concerned parties to shed their hardened stances and be committed to resolve the conflict with their honest, responsible but serious and transparent engagements," the CSP document stated. The CSP has argued there is a commonality in the proposals put forward by the conflicting parties. "If the stands of respective parties are made a little flexible in view of such commonality and if confidence among them is enhanced, a national consensus can be evolved."

CSP activists, however, expressed worry there was widespread apprehension amongst the stakeholders. It has asked all three sides to address these apprehensions. "The possibility of a lasting resolution of the conflict is bleak if any one of these forces fail to recognise the existence of the others," said the CSP document.

The CSP also urged the warring sides to restrict their armies to the barracks in order to build confidence about the "upcoming" ceasefire and peace process.