MonitorsPublished on Oct 01, 2010
Despite former king Gyanendra's attempts to revive the golden days of monarchy in Nepal, it will not be an easy return given the monarchy's past role in muzzling the voice of democracy.
Nepalese monarchy, a symbol of national unity still?
< class="heading1">Analysis

Despite former king Gyanendra's attempts to revive the golden days of monarchy in Nepal, it will not be an easy return given the monarchy's past role in muzzling the voice of democracy. Contemporary politics of the country is wary of allowing monarchy to play a part in building a new nation.

Of late, Gyanendra has become increasingly active in social life. For most part of this year, he could be seen attending and inaugurating religious ceremonies and functions across the country. These were certainly aimed at striking the right cord with the general belief that the king is the reincarnation of God. Thus, attempt to create sympathizers/supporters for the monarchy. In fact, disconnect with the people was chiefly responsible for the downfall of monarchy in the Himalayan Republic. Former prince, Paras, son of Gyanendra, who had earned huge unpopularity owing to his notorious acts also has been seen apologizing for his past mistakes in media interviews. Paras's wife Himani too has increased her interactions with the elite party circuits while former queen Komal made news recently when she inaugurated a book shop.

The former royal family has been trying their best to become more social and accessible to the general public. However, the question remains whether the Nepalese people will be able to view monarchy as the symbol of national unity. There is a demand for a 'culture king' reflecting the desire of a section of the society. Inefficient political leaders and their inability to build a nation after a long drawn-out insurgency surely are testing the patience of the people. Too much infighting among and within the political parties and their greater emphasis on self-interest at the expense of national interest have brought the nation to the brink of an impending political disaster. Under the circumstances, the monarchy is trying to fish in troubled water.

However, the government is determined not to allow this to happen. Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal recently ordered the stoppage of the royal convoy, on its way to attend a religious ceremony at Rautahat, the ancestral home of Gyanendra. Prime Minister Nepal told the media that the Government will stop any programme intended against the Republic and that the former king was stopped because of his 'bad intentions'. Similarly, the nation's Central Bank has issued directions to other banks and financial institutions not to accept currency notes with the portraits of the former kings. The decision is to take such notes out of circulation from next financial year, starting in April 2011.

It is obvious that the hazy political scenario in Nepal has allowed various political forces to meddle in this messy politics including the former monarch. Whatever direction the single largest party, namely, the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), takes after their return to power - rumours has it that they have entered into a secret deal with Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N) to reinstate Gyanendra as a 'cultural king'. The Maoists have denied such rumours. It is true that political compulsions lead to uneasy alliances, but such alliances often last short.

Dr Anjali Sharma is an Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Writ plea against failure to elect PM

Repeated failure of the Constituent Assembly to elect a Prime Minister has led to the judicial intervention, with five lawyers moving the Supreme Court in this regard.

The court has since issued notice to Parliament Speaker Subhash Chandra Nemwang, Ram Chandra Paudel , who is the sole prime ministerial candidate now in fray, and the Ministry of Law and Justice, for written submissions on the need for continuing with the election when the sole candidate was unable to prove his majority.

The court has also sought an explanation on why the parliamentary regulation relating to the prime ministerial election could not be amended. The court has placed the writ petition in its priority list.
Source:, October 1, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ninth PM election, a futile exercise

The ninth round of voting held on September 26 to elect a new Prime Minister also ended in failure when the lone prime ministerial candidate Ram Chandra Paudel of the Nepali Congress was voted out in a poorly-attended session of the Constituent Assembly.

The United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist stayed neutral. The next round of election will held on October 6 despite the request of the Nepali Congress to defer election by one month.
Source:, September 30, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Islamabad warning on ISAF air-strikes

Islamabad has taken exception to ISAF helicopters entering Pakistani territory, in hot pursuit of Haqqani fighters who had crossed from across the Afghan border, into Northern Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The helicopters killed 30 militants who had attacked an ISAF base in Khost, Afghanistan.

The US retracted its earlier statement citing an agreement with Pakistan on 'rules of hot pursuit', which allows pursuit of up to six miles into Pakistan territory. This could be more in case the location was suspected to be that of Osama Bin Laden, Zawahiri or Mullah Omar.

In a strongly-worded statement, Islamabad denied any such agreement, emphasizing its territorial sovereignty and hinting that such attacks could threaten NATO supply routes within Pakistan. Following this, a Pentagon spokesperson for the US blamed the misunderstanding on a communication breakdown and assured Pakistan of ISAF's sensitivity to the nation's sovereignty.
Source: Dawn, September 29, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">SC seeks more names in NRO case

In what looked like an expression of unhappiness, the Supreme Court has directed the Government to provide the complete list of beneficiaries under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), promulgated by the erstwhile Musharraf Government. In doing so, the court reject the list of 36 provided by the Government. The court has set October 13 as the deadline for the Government to act on the new directive.

In this regard, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani stated that only Parliament could revoke President Asif Ali Zardari's presidential immunity and advised opponents to wait until the end of the latter's term before seeking to reopen the cases covered under the NRO. President Zardari, who was facing corruption charges before the Ordinance protected him, now enjoys conventional immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution. Gillani however clarified that he would wait until the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on the pending review petition before taking a stand.

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had a meeting with the Prime Minister in this regard. Gen Kayani is expected to play a critical role in any standoff between the Executive and the Judiciary in the matter.
Source: Dawn, September 27, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan to head IAEA Board

Pakistan will head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA's) governing board for the coming year. The 35-member board of governors appointed the head of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission, Ansar Parvez, as its chairman for the next 12 months. Its rotating chair is appointed for a period of one year with the main task of presiding over debates and helping the board of governors reach consensus decisions.
Pakistan, which was nominated by the Middle East and South Asia group, was the chair once before. Mr. Parvez in a statement said that they could try to mediate a few things which the IAEA had been dealing with for the past few years.
There has been recent international concern on Pakistan's civil nuclear cooperation with China. The current development could however reinforce Pakistan civil nuclear ambitions.
Source: Dawn, September 28, 2010

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President ready to review Fonseka's jail-term

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is willing to review the Second Court Martial decision to sentence former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, MP, to 30 months rigorous imprisonment if the DNA leader appeals to the President, according to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

As the Convening Officer of the Second Court Martial and Confirming Authority thereof, President Rajapaksa ratified the ruling that Fonseka be sentenced to 30 months rigorous imprisonment, on allegations of 'disgraceful conduct' under Section 109 (C) of the Army Act.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that Fonseka's conviction wasn't a political issue and it couldn't be resolved through protests or intervention by third parties, after the convict was moved to the Welikada civil prison in prisoner's uniform, from the Navy Guest House where he was housed during the GCM trial.
Source: The Island, October 1, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Over 89,000 war widows in North and East

The ethnic war has left 89,000 women in the North and the East widowed and most of them are from the Batticaloa district, Deputy Minister of Child Development and Women's Welfare, M. L. A. Hisbulla has said. Of the total, there were 40,000 widows in the North and 49,000 in the East. Some of them were the wives of LTTE cadres, he said.

Eight thousand of them were those with three children while 12,000 were young widows, Hisbulla said.

The Indian Government had agreed to provide the widows with job training. Currently, they are unemployed housewives with no income. Eight hundred of them will be given training, as a first step - priority has been given to those with children, according to the Minister.

The Government was planning to impart some kind of vocational training to the widows to equip them to be gainfully employed without being dependent on others, Hasubulla added.
Source: The Island, Colombo, September 30, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Caretaker Govt system to stay

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her Government has no plan to scrap the caretaker government system. The Prime Minister added that any decision on this count will depend on the desire of the people of the country. A parliamentary committee has been constituted to suggest constitutional amendments in this regard, and the Prime Minister believed that the committee might have its observations on this system.

Parliamentary elections in the country are held under a non-party caretaker government, introduced through the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1996. Under the scheme, the caretaker government will be in office for three months, and hand over power to the new team after conducting elections in a free and fair manner.

The reliability of this system came under question after the caretaker government headed by Dr. Fakhuddin Ahmed (2007-08) stayed in power for two years, violating the term stipulated under the Constitution.
Source: the Daily Star (September 29, 2010)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Taliban warns Bangladesh

The Taliban has warned Bangladesh of dire consequences if it yielded to US pressure and send troops to Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed that the religiously-minded people of Bangladesh will not allow its leaders to send troops to assist the 'eternal enemy of Islam' and against a neighbouring Islamic nation.

Earlier this month, Richad Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Paksitan, called for more troops to Afghanistan. The US has been urging Bangladesh to send troops. The Government has not made any commitments, as it feels that there would be trouble if conceded the US request.

There are also apprehensions that Bangladeshi troops are neither equipped, nor trained to face brutal and fanatic fighters in Afghanistan. The public opinion is also against sending of troops to Afghanistan.
Source: The Daily Star (September 29, 2010)/ (September 30, 2010)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Khaleda on Ayodhya

Reacting to the Allahabad High Court's verdict in the 'Ayodhya case', Begum Kheleda Zia, chief of the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has accused the Indian State and its institutions to be biased in favour of Hindus. Begum Zia claimed that the present verdict was another instance which showed that the Indian State and its institutions have completely failed to ensure religious liberty.

Interestingly, she later retracted her statement and cited no reasons.

Meanwhile, security in Bangladesh was beefed up following the Ayodhya verdict. In 1992, the country witnessed violent clashes over the 'Ayodhya demolition'.
Source: (September 30, 2010) / Sangbad (October 1, 2010)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">DRP protest plans

The Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has planned a "Crafty Government" protest at the Artificial Beach tonight, after two protests were cancelled over the weekend due to rain.

The 'Crafty Government' protest tonight is sanctioned by the party's council, unlike the 'Government for Sale' protest announced the previous week by Deputy Leaders Umar Naseer and Ahmed Ilham and MP Ahmed Mahrouf, indicating internal problems in the once-monolith party.

The issue was taken to the party's council, which voted in favour of placing Umar Naseer before the party's disciplinary committee. In a subsequent news conference, Naseer predicted this would lead to his dismissal from the party's leadership. Mahlouf and Ilham questioned why they had not also been asked to appear before the disciplinary committee. Naseer's rescheduled protest was to clash with the council-sanctioned protest on Saturday, but both were ultimately postponed because of the rain.
Source: Minivan News, September 30, 2010

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Civil servants salaries could be restored this year

President Mohamed Nasheed has said that the salaries of civil servants could be restored to their original levels before the end of this year.

In a statement from the President's Office, Nasheed "thanked all civil servants for the great sacrifice they have made" and "expressed hope that civil service pay could be restored to the level before the reduction of 15 per cent."

Nasheed also said the Government was hopeful reaching its budget target of Rf 7-billion revenue before the end of the year.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian teacher tied up after islanders mistake compass for crucifix

An Indian teacher on Foakaidhoo in Shaviyani Atoll was rescued by authorities after islanders tied her up and attempted to throw her off the island for allegedly drawing a crucifix.

The Haveeru reported that senior teacher at the island's school Ibrahim Rasheed attempted to explain to the "devout Muslim" parents that the design drawn was a plus symbol marking north, south, east, and west directions on a map.

Following a joint investigation by the Parent-Teacher Association and the school management, "they refused to accept the facts when their claim that the teacher had drawn a (crucifix) was explained," Rasheed told the Haveeru. Students and parents protested outside the school on Wednesday evening, he said.

The teacher, a Christian, who has worked at the school for three years, has since been moved to Funadhoo.
Source: Minivan News, September 30, 2010

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