NC slams govt for co-sponsoring Asia Pacific Summit 2018 with INGO

Kathmandu, November 24

The Nepali Congress today criticised the government for agreeing to co-sponsor — along with Universal Peace Federation, a ‘controversial’ INGO —  a summit on December 1 and 2 in Kathmandu.

NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said at a press conference that the logo of the government and Parliament appeared below the UPF logo on the invitation card undermining the country’s prestige.

“Any conference in Nepal is welcome, but how can an INGO under the government’s jurisdiction be the lead sponsor and the government a co-sponsor and that too, with the INGO’s logo above the government’s on the invitation card?”

He said the government had failed to make its presence felt. “We were searching for the government and today we found the government on an invitation card issued by an INGO,” he said.

Referring to the law and order situation, Sharma said the government had failed to bring those responsible for NirmalaPanta’s rape and murder to book. He further added that Fida Husain’s murder in Sunsari district last week and Dinesh Chaudhary’s murder in Kapilvastu were indicative of government failure to maintain law and order.

The Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal’s theme is ‘Addressing critical challenges of our time.’

The invitation has been sent to participants jointly by Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, ICAPP Founding Chair Jose de Venencia, Jr and international Chair of Universal Peace Federation Thomas G Walsh.

Sharma said that the INGO sponsoring the summit had been accused of propagating religion and the Government of Nepal,  which was bound to follow secularism as per the constitutional provision, should not co-sponsor the programme. “I hope the government corrects its move,” he said.

Former Constituent Assembly member EknathDhakal, who chairs UPF Nepal, said the INGO promoted interfaith harmony across the world and had obtained UN consultative status, the highest status for an INGO, for its work. “UPF does not propagate any particular faith,” he said, adding that reports stating that it promoted Christianity were totally baseless.

He said Nepal’s former prime ministers, including Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, had attended the UPF’s programme and even late Girija Prasad Koirala had received a peace award conferred by the UPF. He further said that NC leaders Sujata Koirala and Chitra Lekha Yadav were in the preparatory committee of the Asia Pacific Summit.

Dhakal said the summit would be attended by more than 1,500 delegates from across the world and this would also promote Nepal’s tourism as international media would cover the event.

He said the logo on top of the invitation, which the NC claimed was the UPF’s, belonged to the Asia Pacific Summit. “We will organise a press conference in a day or two to refute false propaganda against the summit,” he added.

Meanwhile 16 individuals representing various faiths, including Damodar Gautam, chair of World Hindu Federation Nepal, issued a press release wishing success to the Asia Pacific Summit. They also said the summit aimed to promote tolerance, brotherhood, peace and development and the

public should not be misled by media reports.

When asked for comment, Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi said he was not the right person to speak on the issue.