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Pakistani PM faces contempt charge

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 12, 2012

Yousaf Raza Gilani could be stripped of office and imprisoned if convicted by the country’s supreme court

Yousaf Raza Gilani

Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP

Pakistan‘s prime minister will face a contempt of court charge on Monday that could see him stripped of his office and jailed, triggering renewed political turmoil. Yousaf Raza Gilani, who after nearly four years in power is the longest serving prime minister in Pakistan’s 64-year history, has been summoned before the country’s supreme court to explain why he has not sent a letter to Swiss authorities asking them to reopen a graft inquiry against Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari. Both belong to the ruling Pakistan’s People’s party (PPP). In an interview with al-Jazeera television broadcast (sun)on Sunday, Gilani said he would resign if convicted though he “did not think that would happen”.

The confrontation is the latest of a series of bruising clashes between the elected government of Pakistan and the senior judiciary that come against a background of a broader struggle for power involving the country’s powerful military. In one recent incident Gilani told an audience that no “state within a state” could exist in Pakistan – a clear reference to the military – and spoke of “conspiracies … being hatched to pack up an elected government.”

Though anxiety about an immediate army-led coup has now largely dissipated, senior military officers’ dislike for Zardari and his government remains very clear. If Gilani refuses to go to jail in the event of a custodial sentence, the army could potentially step in to enforce the court’s orders. Though the government has indicated it might call early elections, its full parliamentary term will not expire until next year. At his last court appearance Gilani argued that he had not written the letter to the Swiss authorities because the president enjoyed immunity from prosecution “inside and outside the country”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 20, 2012

By Timothy Allen

In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, a matrilineal system operates with property names and wealth passing from mother to daughter rather than father to son – but some men are campaigning for change.

When early European settlers first arrived here they nicknamed it “the Scotland of the East” on account of its evocative rolling hills.

Coincidentally, today the bustling market in the state capital, Shillong, is awash with tartan in the form of the traditional handloom shawls worn ubiquitously since the autumn chill arrived.

Not far from here the village of Cherrapunji once measured an astonishing 26.5m (87ft) of rain in one year, a fact still acknowledged by the Guinness book as a world record.

But the rainy season is over for the time being and it is Meghalaya’s other major claim to fame that I am here to investigate.

It appears that some age-old traditions have been ruffling a few feathers of late, causing the views of a small band of male suffragettes to gain in popularity, reviving some rather outspoken opinions originally started by a small group of intellectuals in the 1960s.

I am sitting across a table from Keith Pariat, President of Syngkhong-Rympei-Thymmai, Meghalaya’s very own men’s rights movement. Read the rest of this entry »

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China to provide 200m yuan to support peace process; Wen leaves for Qatar

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 14, 2012

KATHMANDU, Jan 14: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao signed an eight-point bilateral agreement during the talks held at the PM´s office in Singha Durbar on Saturday.

During the luncheon held after the talks, Wen announced that China would provide 200 million yuan in assistance to Nepal in the current fiscal year with intent to support Nepal´s peace process, our correspondent Kiran Chapagainreported.

On the occasion, Wen also pledged to provide 750 million yuan in concessional loan to Nepal in the next three years. The talks chiefly dwelt on economic issues of bilateral cooperation and other issues related to cultural exchange and infrastructural development.

Wen has left Kathmandu for Qatar after completing his four-and a-half hours trip to Nepal. PM Bhattarai and other high government officials saw him off at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha is addressing a press meet on Wen´s Nepal visit at the VIP lounge at the TIA.

Earlier in the day, Wen had arrived in Kathmandu, almost an hour behind schedule, in a special aircraft  at 11:50 am. PM Bhattarai, Speaker Subash Nembang and other high government officials received Wen at the VVIP lounge at the airport. Nineteen gunshots were fired in honor of the Chinese premier.

Before wrapping up his visit, Wen called on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at the latter´s official residence in Maharajgunj. Prior to this, he attended the official luncheon hosted by PM Bhattarai in Singha Durbar. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and a very few government ministers also attended the function.

Wen’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier since the then premier Zhu Rongji’s Nepal trip in May 2001. Before that, Chinese President Jiang Zemin had paid a visit to Nepal back in 1996. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pervez Musharraf, Former Pakistan President, Faces Arrest In Connection To Benazir Bhutto Murder

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 8, 2012

He became hero in world media when he unexpected­ly went to handshake with Indian leader after his speech in SAARC. Ni idea this is just politics or reality:

ISLAMABAD — Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be arrested in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto if he returns to the country, a government prosecutor said Saturday.

There is no need for any “fresh arrest warrants” for him as a court has already issued orders for his arrest, prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters.

Hours earlier, Musharraf told a Pakistani news channel that he would come back later this month to contest the next parliamentary elections, which could be held later this year.

Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since 2008 when the government, led by Bhutto’s party, forced him to resign.

Bhutto was killed in 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack near the capital, Islamabad, after returning home to contest elections. Musharraf, at the time, had blamed the Pakistani Taliban for her murder, but the prosecution alleges he was part of the plot.

Musharraf now heads his own faction of the All Pakistan Muslim League, a small political party that does not have any major base in the country. Some of his former supporters have quit his party.

His spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, asserted that the arrest warrant for Musharraf had no legal value.

“We have challenged this arrest warrant in a court,” he said, adding that Musharraf would announce a final date for returning home this week, but “he will come back soon to lead the nation.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Nepal to seek US$ 5b credit during Wen visit

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 12, 2011


KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Nepal is seeking a credit line of US$ 5 billion (about Rs 400 billion) from the northern neighbor for implementing large scale infrastructure projects, mainly in hydropower, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Nepal next week.

The government is also preparing to request China to expand the list of items that Nepal can export at zero duty to the northern market and sign a bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement (BIPPA) to lure and secure more Chinese investments into this country.

The projects for which the government is hoping for Chinese assistance are Pokhara International Airport, West Seti Hydropower Project (750 MW), Budi Gandaki Hydropower Project (600 MW) and Nalshyagugad Hydropower Project (400 MW).

“These are clearly identified as feasible large scale projects and can help the country fulfill its longer-term interests,” said a government source, disclosing Nepal´s endeavors.

Besides, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) also had formally requested Chinese assistance for developing these projects, at different intervals a few months ago.

Officials said harnessing the potential of the West Seti — a large storage project– will alone need investments of US$ 1.60 billion. Though the government had initially planned to develop it with loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank, its fate had been in limbo after an Australian company failed to execute the project following local protests.  Read the rest of this entry »

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China – India Relations Heading Towards Deep Freeze – Analysis

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2011

By SAAG By Dr Subhash Kapila

Concurrent with winter freeze setting in on the Himalayan heights separating India from China-Occupied Tibet, gathering trends over the last year or so strongly suggest that in end 2011 China-India relations are headed towards a deep freeze.

China-India relations were always in a freeze over the last six decades despite the veneer that both China and India gave by rhetorical flourishes that China and India were committed to peace and tranquility on the contested border between India and China-Occupied Tibet.

Regrettably, it was India and the Indian policy establishment only that gave credence to China’s peaceful protestations. China succeeded like in the run-up to 1962 to induce a sense of complacency in Indian war-preparedness against China’s not so benign intentions against India.

China - India RelationsChina – India Relations

China craftily utilized these two decades – 1990s and 2000s under cover of this veneer for a massive militarization of China-Occupied Tibet including India-specific targeting of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons on the Tibetan Plateau.

China could achieve this being encouraged by two factors. First the complacency it succeeded in inducing in the Indian policy establishment which led to political de-emphasizing of the China Threat against India and as a consequence a tardy war preparedness against the China Threat not by the Indian Armed Forces but by the political leadership. Secondly, China correctly counted on the strategic timidity and feeble responses of the Indian political leadership to Chinese political and military coercion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ahead of Chinese PM’s Nepal visit, India’s secret agents rush to Kathmandu

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2011

The spokesperson at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Ms. Apoorva Srivastava was quick enough to reject the presumption that Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai is arriving Kathmandu, Saturday November 26, 2011 under a veiled pretext.

She claimed, talking to Nayapatrika Daily, that Mathai is arriving Nepal in connection with the arrival of Finance Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee from India.

India’s Finance Minister Sri Pranab Mukherjee is landing Kathmandu, November 27, 2011 to sign the much publicized and highly controversial Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Nepal (DTAA).

However, the arrival of Foreign Secretary from New Delhi a day in advance and in lieu of Finance Secretary is not unusual because it’s a part of India’s diplomatic game to befool the smaller neighbor, claim experts in Nepal.

A dangerous game must have been in offing.

It is presumed that Secretary Mathai is being sent to Kathmandu to collect as much information as is possible on the forthcoming visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Nepal, add experts.

In all likelihood, PM Wen will arrive in Kathmandu December 20, 2011 for a two day state visit.

Headache in India has already begun.

Mathai will also convey India’s annoyance over Nepal’s vote in favor of China for a five-year term at the UN’s Joint Inspection Unit in a voting held last Monday. India’s Gopinathan bagged victory over his Chinese rival.

“It is altogether a different matter that an Indian candidate won the seat but Nepal’s vote in favor of China makes it clear that Nepal as an independent nation is free to make its own decisions,” foreign policy experts claim. NOIDA investment waning. Read the rest of this entry »

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India, Nepal security talks begin in Kathmandu

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 22, 2011

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s new Maoist-led government began its first bilateral interaction with India on Thursday at a senior level, with security talks kicking off here ahead of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s proposed visit to New Delhi.

Led by India’s joint secretary in the home ministry, KK Mittal, the visiting delegation held talks with Mittal’s counterpart, Sudhir Shah and senior Nepali officials, at Radisson Hotel.

The talks took place after a gap of four years, and the agenda is expected to include clamping down on cross-border crimes like smuggling, trafficking and the transport of fake Indian currency to Indian cities via the open border.

Two years ago, when home secretary-level talks were held in Kathmandu, India’s GK Pillai had put major emphasis on combating the growing trade in fake Indian currency that has its origin in Pakistani cities Karachi and Islamabad.

The two-day talks will be followed by meetings between the two home secretaries ahead of Bhattarai’s visit to India once he returns from the 66th UN General Assembly in New York.  Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s involvement in SAARC crucial: PM

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 14, 2011


KATHMANDU, Sept 14: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on Wednesday said that China´s involvement in SAARC has become crucial in view of its geo-proximity to the sub-continent and rapid economic growth.

“China neighbors five out of eight SAARC countries. Therefore, its involvement in SAARC has become crucial,” the prime minister said on Wednesday.

The prime minister further added that South Asian countries and China “must unite” to eradicate poverty in the region, which is home to about half of the world population.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Second Convention of China and South Asia Forum of Organizations in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the prime minister also stressed on Nepal´s interest in linking South Asia and China.

“Nepal would like to act like a vibrant bridge between these two historic regions, rather than merely playing the role of a traditional buffer state,” the prime minister said.

Altogether 30 delegates from Nepal, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are participating in the four-day event. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal: Acid test for PM Bhattarai

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 8, 2011

N. P. Upadhyaya

Kathmandu: One year after his NOIDA return to Kathmandu, Nepal Maoist Chairman Prachanda, the ferocious of the bygone era, while talking to a local newspaper in Nepal had bluntly stated that “the substantial support from India to Nepal would be no support at all from that country”.

He may have talked in his whims, as he occasionally does, but yet his declarations are partially correct.

He may have preferred to ventilate his ire against India on some personal counts, which could have been made for public consumption in Nepal, but the manner the Indian leadership from all shades and colours and the “affiliated and tamed Indian media” have begun pouring in their inner love and honour for the newly appointed Nepal Prime Minister, Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, do tell that finally it would be these Indian machinations which will enormously damage the very popular credentials of Nepal PM sooner than later. The damage Bhattarai campaign is in full progress.

Thanks the Indian media has so far not made the story that Nepal PM Bhattarai belonged from the Indian origin.

These unessential praise and seductions, that is in its full swing, will ultimately stamp and certify that Nepal Prime Minister Bhattarai was excessively closer to the Indian establishment and that his elevation this time as Nepal Prime Minister must have become a reality only with the Himalayan support that he may have enjoyed from the Indian establishment.

Though Dr. Bhattarai has the right to rebuke these allegations but yet the manner the Indian leadership is exhibiting its beaming mood with his elevation as Nepal PM faintly hints that Bhattarai’s relations with the Indian regime must have been a long time affair and that his “special” relation with the Indian command, hopefully, will bode ill for the overall political and sovereign health of Nepal and may even have a negative impact on Nepal-India relations that is in its lowest ebb ever recorded. Read the rest of this entry »

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NEW DELHI: GJM National Committee members visit Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 4, 2011


The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha since its inception has always pledged on bringing Gorkhas across the nation on the same platform and have stressed upon uniting Gorkhas residing in various parts of the country. Within 46 months, GJM has been mostly successful in achieving this feat as it has its Sakhas (branches) spread across North-Eastern states, Delhi, Uttarkhand, Hyderabad, Kolkota, Jharkhand and Sikkim. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration bill was successfully passed in the Assembly yesterday and it will start working towards development of the Gorkhaland area, but the movement of the separate state of Gorkhaland will alongside continue on the National level. The GJM founder-president Mr. Bimal Gurung has always reiterated that the main goal of the organization is achieving the separate state of “Gorkhaland” and hence, he will not rest till it is achieved. Read the rest of this entry »

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OPINION: Darjeeling to Gorkhaland – Name-Change To Placate The Dominant Ethnic Group

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 26, 2011



[The author is an advocate practicing at Jalpaiguri District Court.]

THE Gorkhaland agreement is an interim arrangement prior to the creation of a separate state of the same name. In a de facto manner, it legitimises the process of colonisation in the 21st century. There is no such parallel yet anywhere in the world. The sensitive aspect of the pact signed last month is that it has changed the name of Darjeeling to Gorkhaland. Implicit in the name, “Darjeeling”, is the fact that it was once a predominantly Lepcha territory.

Mamata Banerjee has tried to under-play the name-change in the Hills by quoting Shakespeare ~ “What’s in a name?”. This is bound to boomerang, and add fuel to the fire. To say the least, the pact is a hasty, short-sighted exercise on the part of the Chief Minister, reminiscent of Rajiv Gandhi’s brand of politics. It reeks of opportunism.

We need to ascertain whether the term, “Gorkha” denotes a tribe, a race, a caste or a linguistic group. Why did the leaders of the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) insist that the territory should be named Gorkhaland if there was nothing substantive? Why do they find the original name, “Darjeeling”, unacceptable? The name-change has been incorporated in the agreement. And the GJMM has stuck to its demand for a separate state by that name.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is only a stepping stone towards a separate state of Gorkhaland within the Union of India. The permanent title of the territory has been reserved for the Gorkhas, to the exclusion of other ethnic groups, including the Lepchas. The hegemony of the Gorkha is inherent in the agreement. The grant of Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkhas, as promised, will enable them to exclude all other ethnic groups from buying property in the proposed state. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Security Chief Goes on Tour—How Is Asia Reacting?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2011

Posted by 

Over the past week, as I’ve traveled across Asia, I’ve discovered an unlikely partner in my continental peregrinations:

China's Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang arrives for a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, August 17, 2011. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters)

China’s security chief Zhou Yongkang. The senior Chinese envoy’s travels have taken him to Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Tajikistan. The final stop is Mongolia, where Zhou is expected to head on Tuesday.

In Zhou’s wake, the narrative has tended to follow the same plot-line: first, China’s state media proclaims “mutually beneficial cooperation” and “longstanding friendship” between Beijing and the local government. Then a raft of trade deals or bequeathing of military goodies is announced. Finally, an undercurrent of unease follows, with regional analysts wondering about China’s growing economic and security might.

Last Saturday, Zhou was in Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen. In addition to various mining, road-construction and farming deals, China has agreed to supply nearly $200 million in helicopters to Cambodia. Beijing is already the Southeast Asian nation’s largest foreign investor, and Hun Sen, who has quietly evolved into one of Asia’s longest-serving strongmen, has been vociferous in his support of China. His enthusiasm for Chinese largesse stands in marked contrast to his feelings toward Western donors who tend to attach pesky strings like human-rights commitments to their aid. The Phnom Penh Post quoted a local researcher worrying that “Cambodia will become subservient to China.” Read the rest of this entry »

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NEPAL: Bhutanese refugee numbers nearly halved

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2011

DAMAK, 24 August 2011 (IRIN) – Nearly half of the roughly 108,000 Bhutanese of Nepalese origin who fled to Nepal in the early 1990s have been resettled in third countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the seven camps they were living in are in the process of being consolidated into two.

Since late 2007, when a third-country resettlement programme was introduced, UNHCR has resettled 50,996 of the refugees, also known as Lhotsampas; 43,056 have been resettled in the USA alone. They fled Bhutan after the government stripped them of citizenship.

Due to a reduction in donor funds and to provide services more efficiently to the dwindling number of refugees, the Nepalese government and UNHCR have begun merging the camps into two – Beldangi in Jhapa District and Sanischare in Morang District. The plan is to complete the process by mid-2012.

“Refugees don’t necessarily feel comfortable losing half of the community, so it makes no sense to do business as usual,” Stephane Jaquemet, UNHCR country representative in Kathmandu, told IRIN.


Camps Beldangi I, Beldangi II, and Beldangi II Extension merged into Beldangi camp in January 2011, centralizing food distribution, health care and education. IRIN Asia | NEPAL: Bhutanese refugee numbers nearly halved | Nepal | Refugees/IDPs.

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Indian film maker insults Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 18, 2011

N. P. Upadhyaya

Insulting and humiliating the Nepalese nationals by the citizens of the neighboring Indian Republic, which only came into existence, 1947, thanks the British East India Company, is not a new phenomenon.

We are used to such fanaticism.

But yet Italy rules India.

India or Bharat or even Hindustan took a formal shape only recently compared to every heads high and a proud Nepal which ever remained as a sovereign and independent nation. Neighbors envy, Nepal’s pride.

But this fact the Indian authorities or for that matter even the qualified Indian nationals deliberately ignore.

Must have been suffering from inferiority complex syndrome which is only but natural because of their ignominious past. We sympathize.

The Nepalese understand this and prefer not to remind their harrowing past in the larger interest of Nepal-India relations considering the pain our friends in the South may have braved or subjected to while being mercilessly ruled by the various sorts of aliens.

Nepalese gesture is there. Nepalese people wish to love and honor the Indian nationals and their ruling authorities. This they don’t want to understand, unfortunately.

Yet at times, the Indian nationals do not reciprocate in a friendly manner and indulge in acts that summarily undermines our past glory and dignified status among the comity of nations.

Every now and then, one could listen or observe acts that are being deliberately committed by the other side which pains the independent citizens of Nepal.

However, some salaried local Nepali Mirjaffors ignore the insulting acts as if nothing has been done that could be taken as a slur worth the name. Countless Jaychands now we have.

But the insult is there. It can’t be dismissed.

This time Nepal, our country, has been slighted with a classic technique. In the past, while we the Nepalese and our nation was humiliated by some in India through the Indian filthy films wherein the Nepalese were inevitably portrayed as “Bahadurs”, “Kanchas” and Gurkhas”, then this time we have been offended to the hilt comfortably by a new entrant in Hindi Cinema, Mr. Aditya Seth, Mumbai, who through a newly made documentary film portrays the entire Nepalese as BAHADURS in a derogatory manner. Read the rest of this entry »

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