Govt’s seriousness on peace process in doubt
KATHMANDU: It seems that the government is not serious about taking the peace process to its logical conclusion. Integration of the PLA combatants is an integral part of the peace process. A Special Committee was formed to look into the issue. But with the change of government it has been lying defunct.
Despite several attempts Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has not been able to reshuffle the Special Committee on army integration, though it has been almost three months since he assumed office.
The PM held many rounds of talks with the main opposition party, UCPN-Maoist, but without making any headway.
The Maoists have stuck to their demand that they should get the leadership of the committee but the ruling parties are not ready to meet their demand. Ruling parties want the PM to be the chairperson of the committee as Pushpa Kamal Dahal had held the post while he was the prime minister. The PM has gone on record to say the UCPN-Maoist was not cooperating with the government to revamp the committee. The Maoists, on the other hand, have made it a prestige issue and say the process to integrate the Maoist combatants will not move until they lead the process.
Nowadays, political leaders seldom talk about the Special Committee. The technical committee, formed under the Special Committee, has been lying defunct because of the uncertainty over the Special Committee.
The delay in revamping the
Special Committee has put a question mark over the
peace process. Security Council had extended the tenure of
the UNMIN by six months hoping that the peace process will be taken to a logical conclusion during the period. It has been one month since the UNMIN’s mandate was extended but stalemate on PLA integration continues.
Half-a-dozen high-level commissions related to different sectors share the fate of Special Committee. High-level Commission on Scientific Land Reforms, which was formed when the Maoists were at the helm, has been in a state of hybernation because of the political change and confusion. The Maoist-led government formed the commission under the leadership of its politburo member Haribol Gajurel. Minister for Land Reform and Management Dambar Shrestha has been saying he would revamp the commission, in accordance with the changed political scenario. Recently, Shrestha forwarded a proposal to the cabinet to revamp it under the leadership of Kumar Belbase, the a leader of CPN-ML. He has proposed a 13-member commission.
However, chairman of the commission, Hari Bol Gajurel, has not yet resigned from his post. Shrestha claims, “I requested him to resign through direct and indirect channels but he has refused to do so. If he remains adamant, I would get him sacked through the cabinet decision.”
The National Inclusiveness Commission also shares the same fate. It has been five months since the commission was formed but it is yet to take a complete shape. Nobody in the commission knows what its task is. Whatever its task, the commission has not been assigned any workers to perform the task. Commission has a small room in the office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister for its chairperson but it lacks adequate infrastructure. The commission has been entrusted to recommend to the government the modalities of the inclusion in different organs of the government, taking into account the proportional representation.
The High-level State Restructuring Commission is yet to start its work because immediately after the formation of the commission, the Maoists quit the government. However, the present government has not paid any attention to the commission and its members are in a dilemma whether to start work or not.
Present government has said nothing on whether it would
revamp the commission or
not. The government should soon decide about the commission otherwise it will lose its relevance. It is supposed to give its inputs on the modalities of state restructuring, mainly about the federalism, to the constituent assembly. It has to submit a report before the Constituent Assembly discusses the modalities of the state restructuring.
Two important commissions as stated in the interim constitution and Comprehensive Peace Accord are yet to be formed.
Parties have agreed to form
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of the decade-long war and to punish the perpetrators of rights abuse. However, parties have failed to form the commission. Ministry of Peace has been holding consultations with the parties about the commission for two years but is yet to prepare a bill about its formation.
Parties seem indifferent to the High-level Commission on Disappearance. According to the interim constitution, the commission is supposed to study the disappearance of the people. Families of the disappeared have been demanding the setting up of the commission. The Maoist-led government had tabled a bill in the parliament to form the commission but the issue is still pending.
All these commissions are related to the peace process. Until these commissions don’t accomplish their tasks, peace process will remain incomplete.