Nepal Today

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AIR ASIA TO ADD ONE MORE WEEKLY FLIGHT Kathmandu, 27 March: Malaysia’s Air Asia will add more weekly flight between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu from 15 April to mark the completion of 100 flights between the capitals of Nepal and Malaysia. The budget Malaysian airline started thrice weekly Nepal flights 3 July. nnnn CRACKS IN MAOIST ALLIANCE BEFORE ASSEMBLY VOTE Kathmandu, 27 March: Even as UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposed an election alliance among the constituent members of Federal Democratic Republican Alliance ( FDRA ), a group of parties that claim to have common stand on the issue of federalism, leaders of the constituent parties have expressed doubt over the actualisation of the proposal, Pranab Kharel writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Senior Madhesi leaders, whose party is part of the alliance, have said that such partnership is “not possible” given the differences in the type of federalism advocated by the Maoists and the Madhes-based parties in addition to “fundamental ideological” stance. General Secretary of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Sarvendra Shukla maintains that while the two former coalition partners have agreed in principle on the issue of federalism, they differ on the issue of election and larger movement. “There is a fundamental difference in the political outlook between the Maoists and the Madhes-based parties. We uphold the democratic principle, while Maoists’ commitment to democratic principle is questionable,” said Shukla. He argued that Maoists were playing “psychological warfare” with Nepali Congress and CPN-UML by projecting their strength keeping in mind the upcoming polls. Shukla also claimed that if Madhesi parties go into an election alliance with the Maoists, the former could face an identity crisis by aligning with a “big party”. Still others question Maoists commitment to federalism particularly in relation to Madhes. Chairman of Sadhbhwana Party Rajendra Mahato argued that the Maoists have been flip-flopping on the issue of Madhes. “Their previous Constituent Assembly manifesto had divided Madhes into five provinces. Further Maoist leaders have been part of undivided Far-west movement,” said Mahato, adding that the Maoists had some vested interests behind its endeavour to make an election alliance with the Madhesi parties. Maoist Politburo member Lekh Raj Bhatta, considered close to Chairman Dahal was involved with the undivided Far-west movement in the run-up to the CA deadline last year. Observers believe that the proposal to go for common election alliance is directed against the Madhesi parties, who are part of the FDRA . Analyst Chandrakishore maintains that this is a “carrot” being offered by Dahal to the parties. “Historically Maoists haven’t fared well in Madhes and therefore are trying to gain a foot hold there by forging an alliance with the Madhes based parties,” he said. But he was quick to add that the “alliance will not take place” as the two political forces have completely different outlook. Chandrakishore also sees a link between Dahal’s announcement to contest election from Madhes and forging an alliance with FDRA . Even Maoist leaders concede that alliance with constituent parties of FDRA including Madhesi parties is out of electoral compulsion. “By forming an election alliance with Madhesi and other pro-federal parties, we want to become the largest party to lead the constitution drafting process in the next Constituent Assembly,” said Maoist Central Committee member Hemanta Prakash Oli considered close to Dahal. nnnn- SUDAN DELAYS VISAS FOR PEACEKEEPERS Kathmandu, 27 March: The Sudan ese government has yet to approve visas for the Nepal Police personnel scheduled to move to the UN’s Darfur peacekeeping mission by the end of this month, Ankit Adhikari writesin The Kathmandu Post. . A team of 38 officials is slated to return home from the conflict-ridden Sudan ese city this week. With the delay in visa processing, chances are slim that the next police team would leave as replacement for the lucrative UN jobs. Sources at the Police Headquarters, Naxal, claim that Sudan has not approved visas for any of the police officials programmed to leave for the UN mission in the last one and a half years. Over 70 officials are on the waiting list, after passing UNSAT exams, taken by the UN on a regular basis. Nepal Police spokesman DIG Keshav Adhikari attributed “technical issues” between governments of Nepal and Sudan and the UN for the “delay” in visa approval. “We have communicated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) through the Home Ministry to sort out issues with Sudan to resume the movement of peacekeeping teams,” DIG Adhikari told the Post. “We are expecting a positive diplomatic move very soon.” However, other officials at the police headquarters are not much hopeful about the Sudan government resolving the issue soon. “Attempts to sort out things have been made several times in the past couple of months,” said an official, on condition of anonymity. According to him, it is the cold relations between Sudan and the UN itself, erupted after the split of South Sudan in 2011, which is obstructing the movement of Nepal Police to the peacekeeping mission. It has been learnt that Sudan has been denying visas also to the security forces from other non-Muslim countries such as the USA, the UK and many European and Asian countries. As assigned by the UN, Sudan has been keeping 150 to 200 police personnel from Nepal, the highest in any conflict-ridden country, in peacekeeping assignments. According to DSP Dan Bahadur Karki of the UN Department at Nepal Police, things have not gone out of hand yet, as the Sudan ese government has not denied the visas officially. “These are temporary delays,” he said. “We are trying our best to resume the movement of troops at the earliest.” nnnn


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