EDITORIAL: Ambiguous directive

Government directive on Internal Security Management lacks clarity about the role of provincial internal affairs ministry in maintaining peace and security

The government has recently issued a directive on Internal Security Management (ISM) to make coordination among federal, provincial and district administrations for maintaining peace and security across the country until new legislations are in place. The directive is a temporary arrangement. The federal Parliament has to enact appropriate laws to ensure peace and security at federal, provincial and district administrations as well as fix the chain of command among the Chief District Officer (CDO), secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law (MoIAL) of the concerned province and the federal Ministry of Home Affairs. An official at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has said the

government has drafted Bills on the ISM and the Federal Police. As per the directive, provincial security coordination committees shall be formed under the minister for internal affairs and law of each province with secretary of the ministry and the provincial police chief as members. The minister for internal affairs and law can call security agencies and other authorities of concerned province for a meeting whenever required.

The directive has also stated that the minister for internal affairs and law “shall coordinate” in the event of any unforeseen security challenges acting on inputs from the CDO. A report on the issue should be immediately be forwarded to the federal Ministry of Home Affairs, according to the directive. It has also stated that the chief minister shall coordinate with all security agencies through provincial chief secretary on unforeseen security challenges and VIP security. To the extent we understand, the directive appears to be confusing as it does not specify the role of the MoIAL in maintaining peace and security in the given province. It also does not specifically say who the CDO will be accountable to – the provincial government or the federal Ministry of Home Affairs – until the new law comes into force.

Going by the directive, it has not given any specific power to the provincial MoIAL except for making “coordination” with the CDO and law enforcement agencies – Nepal Police and Armed Police Force – in matters related to maintaining peace and security and addressing natural disaster as well as inter-provincial terrorist activities. It means that the MoIAL cannot take any independent action on those issues and cannot even order the CDO directly to take action when required. It is, therefore, imperative that the federal Parliament pass laws immediately on ISM and Federal Police. The directive has also specified the chain of command which is very complex, and it might create confusion among security agencies when it comes to reporting and following orders. The new laws to be passed by federal Parliament must overcome such uncertainties, giving more legal powers to the provincial governments, which can independently discharge their duties on issues related to peace and security, natural disasters and terrorist activities. The new law should also clearly define the role of the CDO giving due attention to the fact whether this post indeed needs to be retained in federal set up. There has been a debate among the political parties that post of CDO is unnecessary in the federal structure as the provincial MoIAL can take care of the security-related issues on its own.

Posture is key

Lower back pain is a common problem, which affects millions of people worldwide. On most occasions, the pain subsides in weeks, due to which people often tend not to pay much attention to the problem. However, experts say people must not ignore lower back pain. According to Lancet, a medical journal, low back pain is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Low back pain may begin following a strenuous activity or a jarring trauma, but often is seemingly unrelated to any specific activity.  The pain may begin suddenly or develop gradually. Those who have to do physically demanding jobs or those with physical and mental comorbidities are at higher risk of lower back pain. In urban centres, people who have to spend long hours on a desk job often complain of back pain. Correct posture, experts say, is one of the simplest and important ways to prevent back pain. Exercise can help, but in case of continued pain, people must seek medical attention. Turning your back on it could lead to serious health complications.