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CJ-led Government-42

Issue 01, January 5, 2014

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Going beyond the rules of decency in the political warfare, Nepalese politicians used to charge one another with being the puppet of foreign powers. Nepalese prime ministers have set the tradition of visiting China or India or both after taking the officea. Some Nepalis alleged that those leaders were seeking the blessings of the leaders of the neighboring countries. The truth might be both China and India wanted to keep Nepalese leaders in power happy. Immediately after splitting away from the mother party, some other leaders also rushed to visit these countries. Some political leaders saw everything happened or happening in Nepal as the foreign interferences. Others wanted leaders of the neighboring countries to tell the opponents to behave. They themselves felt the interferences when the foreign leaders told them to behave. All Nepalese prime ministers had visited China or India or both except for Jhalanath Khanal and Khilraj Regmi. The recent political events in the world arena have indicated that super powers could do anything to the developing countries.


What foreign interferences could be. In 1980s when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister of India, the then-king Birendra had irritated Rajiv Gandhi, and the annoyance went so far that Rajiv Gandhi said to King Birendra, “if I were to lose my office I have a chance to come back but if you were to lose your crown, you would never get it back.” It was a hard truth. However, another truth was that Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi closed 21 entries between India and Nepal out of 22 entries in anger. Anybody could imagine what such closures of entries means to Nepal but thanks to the smart traders on both sides of the border, Rajiv Gandhi could not stop the movement of goods back and forth between India and Nepal. If the government statistics were to believe, the goods movement between Nepal and India were higher during the partial blockade than the regular time. Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in and opened all the entries.


King Birendra declared ‘Nepal to be the zone of peace.’ He failed to say, “What does it means.” His government took a decade to formulate the clauses of ‘the peace zone proposal.’ After it became clear what the peace zone was; one country after another endorsed it but India never approved it even after a large number of countries had done it. One of the clauses in ‘the peace zone proposal’ had the provision for extraditing rebel politicians taking refuge in any country. So, India would need to extradite Nepalese politicians taking refuge in India. At that time, not accepting the no-party system called Panchayat introduced by the Birendra’s father in 1962, a large number of Nepalese politicians were residing in India, as the Panchayat regime declared them anti-nationals, and subjected to imprisonment in Nepal; India as a democratic country could not accept the undemocratic declaration of King Birendra.


The Treaty Between Nepal and India of 1950 has it that the citizens of both Nepal and India have the rights to buy and sell property in both the countries; and they could travel freely in both the countries. They could serve in the civil, police and military of both the countries. India has been honoring the ‘Treaty of 1950’ and letting Nepalis to buy the property in India, and whenever the government of India publishes its advertisements for new recruits in the civil, police and the military it says that citizens of Bhutan and Nepal are eligible to apply for the jobs. However, Nepal has not honored this clause of the ‘Treaty of 1950’, as Nepal does not allow Indians to buy and sell the property not to mention recruiting Indians for the State employments. Nepal creates hassles to Indians even to buy motorbikes. However, when they were out of power, Nepalese politicians made fuss about the ‘Treaty of 1950’, and demanded the annulment of the treaty but they got lost when India asked them, ”Let us do It.”


While talking to the TV anchors, former King Gyanendra had a number of times hinted at India had betrayed him not supporting him when he needed it. His sycophants had said in public that Indian envoy Charan Singh had assured Gyanendra of helping when Gyanendra would need help from India. At the height of the people’s movement jointly held by the seven political parties and the CPN-Maoist in 2006 after reaching a 12-point understanding between the Seven-party Alliance and the CPN-Maoist on November 22, 2006, Indian envoy Charan Singh came to Nepal. Nepalese TVs aired the clippings of the meeting of Charan Singh with Gyanendra at Narayanhiti palace but the TV clippings did not mention anything about what they talked.


By that time, Gyanendra had managed to kill a number of peaceful protesters on the streets of Kathmandu, and on the streets of other major towns across Nepal. The protestors had been demanding Gyanendra quit the absolute power he had usurped in 2005. Current Chairman of RPP-Nepal Kamal Thapa was the Home Minister. Kamal Thapa took Rs 500,000 from the State treasure every day to boost the strength and the morale of the security to kill the peaceful demonstrators. To the frustration of Kamal Thapa and like-minded people at the palace, and after the return of Indian envoy Charan Singh to his home country, Gyanendra bowed down to the demand of the protestors, and reinstated the parliament he had dissolved. That was the beginning of the end of the Shah dynasty in Nepal. In fact, the Shah dynasty was ended after the palace massacre on June 1, 2001. Gyanendra became the king not by the rule of law but by the residual power of the Shah dynasty after the disgraceful fall of King Birendra.


In May 2008, the newly elected 601-member Constituent Assembly (CA) declared the end of the Shah dynasty, made Gyanendra a common man, and gave Gyanendra the deadline for leaving the palace. He got 15 days to depart from the palace. Without shame, the man of wealth Gyanendra begged the then government to provide him with the shelter at the Nagarjun forest retreat complex, as his son was staying in his Maharajgunj palace. At that time, 17 envoys of the western countries went to the prime minister and urged him not to abolish the monarchy but the government and the CA did not listen to the 17 envoys. This was an example how Nepalese politicians could stand against any foreign interference in the Nepalese political business.


Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda loved to say at the public rallies held in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal in 2007 that the parliamentary-political-party leaders have been resisting to hold the elections to a CA on the order of their foreign ‘prabhu’. One of the meanings of ‘prabhu’ is master or masters. However, he did not bother to explain the meaning of ‘prabhu’ to the public. He also did not say whether the ‘prabhu’: masters were the western or the neighboring countries. So, his allegations of the foreign interferences in the Nepalese politics remained vague. He also did not say who are his ‘prabhu’.


Then, Chairman of CPN-Maoist Prachanda became the prime minister in August 2008. Immediately taking the office, he rushed to China: the country of his political guru Mao Zedong. Later, Prime Minster Prachanda said that he in fact went to China to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Game than a state visit. Certainly, he met with the political leaders of the rising China but he did not disclose what he had talked about. Later on, he explained to the reporters that his first visit to China did not mean he was tilted to China but he would keep both the China and India friendly to Nepal. Then, he visited India. He received the welcome that was not accorded to any Nepalese prime ministers in the past.


Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal took any opportunity available to visit any country. He visited many countries at the State expenses. He was the puppet of President of NC Girija Prasad Koirala. Sujata Koirala: daughter of Girija Prasad Koirala was the deputy prime minister holding the portfolio of foreign affairs. She ran the foreign business. So, foreign countries accorded importance to Sujata Koirala as the foreign minister than Madhav Nepal as prime minister.


Then, Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal won the office of prime minister thanks to the blessings of Chairman Prachanda. He became the prime minister not because of the strength of his party but of Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda. Every foreign country knew that Prime Minister Khanal had not much power but Chairman Prachanda was running the administration. Breaking the tradition of both China and India inviting the newly elected Nepalese prime minister to both their respective country, none of the neighboring countries bothered to invite Prime Minister Khanal to the respective country. However, after his party has moved to the second position in the newly elected CA recently, Khanal enjoyed the honor to receive an invitation from the visiting Chinese delegation to visit China.


Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai had been very faithful to India. Baburam Bhattarai did his PhD in the regional planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. During his study period at the university, he must have made some of the Indian young communist friends of him. The Indian communists must have made influence on Bhattarai. He came back to Nepal and became a teacher at the State-run Pulchok Engineering Campus in Lalitpur where he met with his future spouse Hisila Yemi also the teacher at the same campus. Later, Hisila Yemi and he joined the rebel army of Chairman Prachanda. Dr Bhattarai led the team of the rebels to talk to the government’s talks-team in 1990s but the talks could not be successful. Ultimately, Dr Bhattarai became the prime minister in 2011. He visited India with a large number of State employees, and members of the business community. Even going against the opposition of his party members to the BIPPA, he signed off the BIPPA agreement with India, boasting it would assist Nepal in developing fast. He did not receive an invitation from China. Possibly, he did not see the need for visiting China.


Immediately after splitting away from the UCPN-Maoist, chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya rushed to China to consult with his political gurus. He must have gone to China either to ask the financial assistance for running his party or consulting with them how to run a party independent of his mother party. Judging from his reports to the media people at the international airport in Kathmandu upon return from China, he must have gone to China to consult with them what sorts of the State Nepalis needed to adopt following the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. He told the media people that Chinese leaders had advised him not to opt for federalism, as it might split the country into pieces. However, later on, Chinese leaders publicly denied saying something like that. Chairman Vaidhya with his deputy CP Gajurel visited China second time. These guys have been deadly against India even though they enjoyed traveling India during the people’s war in Nepal. Vaidhya and Gajurel even landed in jail when they tried to visit Scandinavian countries with the faked passports. He could come back to Nepal only after Chairman Prachanda became the prime minister of Nepal. While in Nepal answering to the questions of the reporters how India treated them, CP Gajurel said that India treated them as any government treated the terrorists.


One of the opponents of India has been Chairman of Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party Narayanman Bijukchhe. He has continued to suffer from the hallucination of seeing everything wrong in Nepal due to the interferences of India. Sometimes, he extended his allegations of foreign countries interfering in the Nepalese political business to the western capitalist countries. However, he had been very faithful to China. Chinese communists must have brainwashed him into being a communist while he had been in China for treating his ailment in 1960s. He enjoyed blaming India and western capitalist countries for any wrong happening in Nepal. However, Chairman Bijukchhe could not extend his influences on the people beyond the Bhaktapur district. The recent elections to a new CA demonstrated that his influences on the people in the Bhaktapur district had even been waned. His party could not manage to win two directly elected seats that he had successfully did in the past.


If we take a look at the history of Nepal, the king-appointed Prime Minister of Nepal Jang Bahadur Kunwar led a battalion of 9,000 Nepalese Army to India in 1857 to suppress the spontaneous uprising of the Indian people against the British Rule started at Meerut and quickly spread in the northwestern part of India. The British rulers legalized the Nepalese soldiers to loot the Indian people. The British government also decorated Jang Bahadur with many awards for serving the British crown at the expense of the Indian people. Thereafter, Jang Bahadur became the faithful puppet of the British government. However, he even did not ask for the return of the rights Nepal lost to the British at the Sugauli Treaty in 1816 to have diplomatic missions with other countries other than the Britain. Jang Bahadur felt it cozy to run the country under the umbrella of the British crown. (See “Modern Nepal: A Political History 1769-1955, Volume I by Rishikesh Shaha published by MANOHAR 1990  p 252)


When the Indian army built the Tribhuvan Highway linking Kathmandu with Birgunj: border town on the Nepalese side, and with Raxaul: the town on the Indian side in 1950s, many people thought that India built it in its own interest, and built such a long highway to sell the Indian oil to Nepal. Surely, for those guys, building a highway was the Indian intervention in Nepal. Similarly, the Chinese built the Arniko Highway linking Kathmandu with Autonomous Region of Tibet in 1960s; some people thought that it was the direct intervention of the Chinese in the Nepalese politics and it was to bring the communists down to Nepal. The then-king Mahendra said that the communists would not come by road and on trucks.


Again in the 1960s, King Mahendra awarded the contract to the Chinese to build a portion of the East-West highway in the Eastern Nepal. Seeing the Chinese would be in Nepal at the border with India, the then-Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru sent a special envoy (Shriman Narayan) to Nepal to talk to the then-King Mahendra to breaking off the contract given to the Chinese for constructing 400 Km of the almost 1,000 Km long East-West highway on condition that India would built that portion of the East-West highway. In addition, India agreed to stop the activities of the Nepalese political cadres in India along the border with Nepal. At that time, King Mahendra had dissolved the elected government of Nepali Congress, and banned all political parties and political activities in Nepal. (See “India And Nepal: An Exercise In Open Diplomacy” By Shriman Narayan, 1971 published by ORIENT PAPERBACKS)


Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal did not step out of the country during his office of six months. Even his party leaders did not support his office. Neighboring countries also knew that Prime Minister Khanal would not last long, as he was at the mercy of Chairman Prachanda. Similarly, Chairman of Interim Election Council of Ministers Khilraj Regmi also did not receive any invitation from the neighboring countries and other countries, too, as his administration was only for holding the elections to a new CA. However, Khilraj Regmi managed to attend the UN General Assembly meeting despite the opposition of the four-party political mechanism.


Neighboring countries: China and India wanted to keep the prime ministers of Nepal happy, as they depended on the decisions of the Nepalese prime ministers on letting the Tibetan rebels to launch protests against the Chinese rule in Tibet or on letting Islamist terrorists pass through Nepal to India. So, Nepalese prime ministers while in office or out of office repeatedly said that Tibet and Taiwan were the integral part of China following the one-china policy of Nepal. Similarly, they said that they would not allow anybody to use the Nepalese territory for terrorist attacks on the neighboring countries.


So, Nepalese prime ministers visited China and India not because they wanted to please the neighboring countries but because China and India wanted to keep the Nepalese prime ministers happy with them. However, Nepalese politicians degraded their colleagues, and always charged the prime ministers of Nepal with visiting China and India seeking the blessings of foreign countries. Nepalese prime ministers might be more cordial to one country or another but certainly they had never been the puppets of foreign countries except for Jang Bahadur Kunwar that had been the faithful servant of the British rulers in India.


If we take a look at the international political arena, some of the developing countries labeled as the third world countries had been the battleground for the then warriors of the cold war. For example, the Soviet Union set up a puppet communist government in Afghanistan. It was easy for the Soviets to do so, as Afghanistan was bordering with their central Asian republics. However, the western cold war warriors did not given in to the Soviets. They set up training centers in Pakistan for training the Afghans to fight against the Communist regime in their homeland. The result was Taliban came to power, and they set their guns at the western countries. Afghanistan became the home of Al Qaida terrorists that wanted to finish off the western civilization, the Jewish, and then the Hindu civilization to set up the Islamic Kingdoms throughout the world.


On September 11, 2001, Al Qaida sent a number of its suicide cadres to hijack civilian planes, and use them as missiles to hit the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and even the White House. The terrorists succeed to hit the World Trade Center and destroyed them by two passenger planes but they could not hit other targets. Leader of Al Qaida Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan planning and guiding the terrorist attacks on the US. The then-US President George W Bush demanded the extradition of Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden from the Taliban government but obviously the Taliban government did not agreed on that. The US President had no option other than launching a military assault on the Taliban in Afghanistan.


President George W Bush said to the governments of all countries, “Either you are with us or against us.” There should not be anybody in between. At that time, Military General Pervez Musharraf was running the government in Pakistan. India offered its land to the US for using a base to attack the Taliban. President Musharraf quickly offered his country to use as a base for the US to launch a military attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. The US took only a month to finish off the Taliban, and then establish a Karzai government in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and Taliban went into hiding in Afghanistan, and even to Pakistan. In 2012 President Barack Obama sent a group of experts in two night-vision helicopters to kill Osama bin Laden residing at the area next to the military academy in Pakistan. The Americans killed Osama bin Laden, and then dumped his body in the sea apparently without the knowledge of the Pakistan government, and its military. Then, Pakistan bulldozed the house Osama bin Laden lived in.


Thereafter, we saw the series of international events. The US and its allies went to Iraq, and finished off the government of Sadam Hussein, sentenced him and his colleagues to death, and hanged him, and his colleagues. Then came the Arab uprising in 2011, the western countries went into Libya, and done away with Mohammed Gaddafi, and his 40-year old regime. Then, people in Egypt and in other Arab countries started off uprising against the traditional establishments. They succeed only in Egypt. Hosni Mubarack was removed from power in Egypt, and even sent him to jail. The western countries were happy to see the democratic movements in the Middle East. However, soon they got upset by the democratically elected Government head by the leader of Muslim Brotherhood party Morsi islamizing the country rather than institutionalizing democracy. The western countries did not do anything when the military toppled the Morsi government, and sent him to jail. Then, the uprising in Syria but the western countries opted to wait and see what would happen there. The Western countries have done a little to unseat President Assad of Syria even after three years of the ongoing civil war there, as they feared of the Al Qaida might come to power. Millions of Syrians took refugees either in Turkey or in Jordan, and in other neighboring countries to escape from the onslaught of the Assad regime and the Al Qaida fighters.


We have seen that foreign countries would interfere in any country provided it would benefit them. If their interest were not to serve they would just watch what would happen there. For example, the world did not do anything to return the Bhutanese forcibly sent to Nepal by the regime of the king there. India even did not allow the refugees to return to their homeland but India allowed them to come out of Bhutan and go to Nepal. One thing the western countries did was they took the Bhutanese refugees to their respective countries after twenty years of residing in Nepal as refugees.


So, foreign intervention in any country has the relative validity. Any powerful country might intervene in any country directly or indirectly but the small and weak countries such as Nepal, and Bhutan could do so indirectly. They could play one country off against another to serve their interest, too.


January 2, 2014

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