NC, UML mull over military law

KATHMANDU: Leaders of the ruling CPN-UML and Nepali Congress today held an intensive discussion on the main opposition UCPN-Maoist's fresh warning of disrupting parliamentary proceedings in case the government fails to address the issue of civilian supremacy by Friday.

It may be recalled that the ruling coalition and the main opposition on June 6 had reached a four-point understanding, which stated the coalition partners would take an initiative to settle the Maoist demand of restoring civilian supremacy within a month outside the parliament.

Following the agreement, the UCPN-M had let the parliament function making it possible for the government to present its policies and programmes and the budget in the House. Bimalendra Nidhi, NC general secretary, told this daily that NC and UML were mulling over amending the military law to address the Maoist concern. He said a proposal to this effect had been forwarded to the Maoist leadership to ensure that the head of the state may not be able to use his discretionary right to decide on a military-related issue.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, UML general secretary Ishwor Pokharel, PM's chief political advisor Raghuji Pant, NC vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel and NC acting president Shushil Koirala attended the meeting held at PM's official residence in Baluwatar. Nidhi, who attended the discussion, said a meeting of the 22 parties backing the Nepal-led government, scheduled for tomorrow, would discuss the Maoist demand. The two parties would also meet with the Maoist leadership. "It's high time the military law was amended since some of its clauses are redundant in the changed context," Nidhi said.

Pant said the meeting was focussed on the formation of a high-level political consultative mechanism, yesterday's inconclusive all-party meeting and the latest Maoist call of disrupting the House.

"The Maoist decision of disrupting the House is against the four-point understanding reached between the chief whips of the UML and the UCPN-Maoist," Pant argued. The understanding has mentioned that efforts to resolve the Maoist concern of civilian supremacy would be initiated within a month, he added. "The Maoist decision to disrupt the House from Friday is an irresponsible act on their part."

NC leader Nidhi added the Maoists should realise that the Prachanda-led government was toppled after it was reduced to a minority over the army chief row.