Kathmandu, March 11
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today defended the 11-point agreement that the government signed with the chairperson of Alliance for Independent Madhes.
The PM’s clarification came after some leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the Nepali Congress criticised the government over the phraseology used in the agreement which both sides interpreted differently.
Addressing the 18th anniversary of National Security Council at Singha Durbar, the PM said the agreement brought a secessionist force into the political mainstream and nobody should take it negatively.
“I am surprised by the comments made by some people against the 11-point deal,” the PM said.
Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa had signed the 11-point deal with AIM on Friday.
Some people are interpreting a phrase in the pact, ‘jana abhimat’ (people’s opinion), as referendum, which is totally wrong, the PM said and added that the government would never hold a referendum on issues related to territorial integrity, sovereignty and nation’s independence.
The PM said, “People express their opinions through elections and we should not be scared just because somebody gives the slogan of referendum.”
He said AIM was a separatist group but after the 11-point deal it had joined mainstream politics. The PM, who chairs the NSC, congratulated the security body for its contribution to bring AIM into mainstream politics.
In an oblique reference to the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, which intensified its acts of terror recently, the PM said the government would not compromise on issues of peace and security.
Oli also took a potshot at former king Gyanendra, saying there was no place for those who were trying to revive a dead-institution and to cash in on religious sentiments.
The NSC also passed the National Security Policy-2019 which will be presented to the Cabinet for approval.
Referring to the tension between India and Pakistan, Oli said Nepal’s neighbours should solve their problem through dialogue. “We do not want tension in the region,” he added. Oli said Nepal would not want to get involved in any war and was against the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. He added that Nepal wanted to have cordial relations with its neighbours and other countries.
He added that Nepal was in favour of holding the 18th SAARC Summit as soon as possible and would hand over its chair to another member of the regional group.
A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.