Nepal Today

Monday, June 24, 2013

DRAFT OF THREE-YEAR PLAN PUBLISHED Kathmandu, 24 June: The draft of the upcoming 13th three-year plan set by the National Planning Commission (NPC) has a long-term perspective of transforming Nepal into a developing country from the least developed country status within the next ten years, RSS reports. A draft of the strategy of the 13th interim three-year-plan (2070 -073 BS) was made public here on Monday at a central-level discussion programme organised by the NPC to discuss on the proposal of three-year plan. Improving the living standard of the people with the alleviation of poverty in the country was the strategy of the 13th three-year plan. The proposed plan has a goal of reducing the number of people under the poverty line to 18 per cent from the existing 23.8 per cent. According to Commission Secretary Yubraj Bhusal, the draft will get a final shape within June 29 and a meeting of the National Development Council to be held on July 5-6 is expected to approve it. As per the provision, Chairman of Council of Ministers shall head the Council. The government has planned to bring the three-year plan before the announcement of upcoming budget and formulate government policies and programmes on the same basis. Presenting the draft of plan at the programme, NPC Joint Secretary Pushpalal Shakya said the Commission was going to bring a three- year plan again in an alternative to the five-year-plan as there was no stable government in the country. Development of hydropower and energy sectors, productivity growth of agro sector and its diversification and commercialization, basic education, health, drinking water and sanitation, good governance, expansion of roadways, development of physical infrastructures, tourism and trade are the priorities of the upcoming three-year development plan, according to Shakya. Reducing the existing trade deficit and attaining the higher economic growth rate are the main challenges of upcoming development plan that has a strategy of increasing the contributions of private, government and cooperate sectors, partners of three-pillar economic policy, to the sustainable, broad and inclusive economic development of country. Empowerment of targeted groups of people and minimization of negative impacts of climate change are other strategies of the 13th three-year development plan. Giving feedbacks about the proposed plan, leaders of different political parties and representatives of bodies concerned stressed on the need of political stability, guarantee of security, ending of unemployment problem, increment of foreign investment and good governance to upgrade the country from the least developed countries. They suggested the government hold extensive discussions on the draft before its approval. Nepali Congress leader and former Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, NPC Vice Chairman Dr Rabindra Kumar Shakya, Officiating Chief Secretary of the Government of Nepal Krishnahari Baskota were among those putting forth their views at the programme. nnnn MUSHARRAF TO FACE TREASON CHARGE Kathmandu, 24 June: Pakistan´s new government said Monday it would put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, charges punishable by death or life imprisonment, AFP reports from Islamabad.. The retired general, who returned from four years of self-imposed exile in March, has been under house arrest at his villa on the edge of Islamabad since April 19. Any trial could put the civilian government at loggerheads with the powerful army, which vehemently opposes the prospect of its former chief facing the courts in Pakistan. It also threatens to sabotage the chances of a quiet deal that Musharraf´s legal team had hoped would allow the 69-year-old to win bail and quietly leave the country. Once the most powerful man in the country, Musharraf faces a slew of charges relating to his 1999-2008 rule after seizing office from then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who won landmark elections in May. "Musharraf´s actions came under the purview of high treason," Sharif told parliament. "He should face trial... and will have to answer for his guilt before the court," he added. Attorney General Munir Malik delivered the same statement on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court. A treason trial can be initiated only by the state. "Those who aided or abetted holding the constitution in abeyance will also be brought to justice," Malik said. Pakistan´s highest court has for months been hearing a petition from lawyers demanding that Musharraf be tried for subverting the constitution by imposing emergency rule and sacking judges in 2007. Judge Jawad Khwaja ordered the attorney general to inform the court on Thursday about the precise steps required to bring those guilty of treason to justice. Musharraf´s office accused the Sharif government of "demonstrating recklessness" in pursuing "unwarranted" treason charges, which it warned could destabilise the country. "The former president has served Pakistan with selfless devotion and perseverance. The people of Pakistan will not tolerate this circus, which is primarily meant to create a diversion," it said. On Saturday, Islamist gunmen dressed as police killed 10 foreign tourists and a Pakistani at a remote base camp in the Himalayas, an unprecedented attack on mountaineers and the worst attack on foreigners in around a decade. The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange index of 100 shares fell by 2.9 percent, or 628 points, to close at 21,070 points as news of the prospective trial jittered nervous investors. "Whatever he did was in the interest of the state. I am confident, God willing, he will be exonerated," Musharraf´s defence lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told reporters outside the Supreme Court. Pakistan´s May 11 elections marked the first time that a democratically elected civilian government has served out a full five years in office and handed over at the ballot box. It was an astonishing comeback for Sharif, who was deeply unpopular as prime minister in 1999 and whose replacement by Musharraf was widely welcomed. In April, a caretaker government guiding Pakistan through the elections refused to initiate the trial against Musharraf, saying it was beyond its mandate and up to the new government. Sharif did not mince his words. "Musharraf violated the constitution twice. He overthrew an elected government in 1999 and put everything into jeopardy. He sacked judges and imprisoned them," said Sharif. "We will follow the process of law and all political forces will be taken into confidence," he added. The two main opposition parties, Bhutto´s Pakistan People´s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by politician Imran Khan welcomed the move against Musharraf. "This house should have another resolution against all dictators so that no one can cast an evil eye on this house," said Syed Khurshid Shah, PPP opposition leader in the national assembly. Musharraf faces three other cases dating back to his rule. He has won bail for sacking judges and over the 2007 murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, but remains under house arrest over the 2006 killing of a Baluch rebel leader. Musharraf is holed up at his luxury villa in the upmarket suburb of Chak Shahzad on the edge of Islamabad. He is currently barred from leaving the country. Pakistani political analyst and retired lieutenant general Talat Masood said the trial could ultimately strengthen democracy in Pakistan, which has been ruled for half its life by the military. "There is possibility that Musharraf will face trial and a punishment is announced but ultimately... be granted a pardon. How long the process may go on, is yet to be seen," he told AFP. Nnnn SNOWDEN NOT IN RUSSIA Kathmandu, 24 June: Snowden has likely already left Russia after arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong, Interfax quoted a source familiar with the matter as saying Monday, AFP reports from Moscow.. "Snowden, most likely, has already left the Russian Federation," the source told the Russian news agency. "He could have left by a different plane" other than the Moscow-Havana flight that he was widely expected to take earlier in the day. nnnn


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