Thursday, July 28, 2005

To: Koirala, Nepal, KC, Pokharel, Tripathy, Mahto And The Rest

To: Girija Koirala, Madhav Nepal, Arjun Narsingh KC, Bimalendra Nidhi, Lilamani Pokharel, Hridayesh Tripathy, Rajendra Mahto And The Rest Of The Democratic Leadership.
From: Paramendra Bhagat, New York City.
Subject: Proposed Constitution

My high school classmate and friend, the Kathmandu based radio journalist Madhu Acharya today sent me the email addresses of Madhav Nepal, Arjun Narsingh KC, and Lilamani Pokharel. That has opened a new door in my efforts to meaningfully participate in the peace process in Nepal. In this era of globalization and the internet, we Nepalis living abroad do not feel that far from the ground. We get news in real time on our computer screens, for one.

I have followed closely the developments since 2/1. And I am very glad for the seven party agenda that culminates with a Constituent Assembly. I would like to further add it is high time the democrats seized the initiative from both the Maoists and the Monarchists.

The road to a possible Constituent Assembly is not an easy one, but even once we get there, it is not going to be easy. Our many political differences on several sensitive issues will come to the fore, and there will be a lot of work that will need to be done in the form of relentless, tiring dialogue. The South African experience can be our role model, but our experience will be our own, with local peculiarities.

I think the very road to such an Assembly can be eased if the seven parties and the Maoists were to start working on a possible successor constitution to the 1990 document right away. I suggest an eight-member permanent committee involving the top names in the eight parties be formed for this purpose. And I suggest that committee meet on a regular basis and take this Proposed Constitution as a starting point. This document is not set in stone. Changes are possible. But there would be no secret talks. All differences will have to be aired publicly in the spirit of transparent democracy.

The goal would be to make a list of all the items from this Proposed Constitution that the eight parties can agree on. And if there are items on which consensus may not be reached, they are to be set aside to be decided through a Constituent Assembly.

I feel this constitution, if adopted, will put Nepal on the very cutting edge and will make double digit economic growth rates possible. This document also takes into account some of the criticisms that have been levelled upon the democratic parties for their performance in the 1990s. This document answers to the worst fears of both the extremes, the Maoists and the Monarchists, and brings both into the political mainstream. It also responds to the DaMaJaMa concerns.

This Proposed Constitution might be the quickest way to peace, democracy and progress.

And so I request you to take a look at it, and treat it as a starting point for meaningful dialogue among all three factions as a solution to the ongoing civil war, and political and military paralysis. Time is of essence. Achieving peace and democracy in two years or in six months are not one and the same. A sense of urgency has to be felt, especially by the democrats. Ultimately the fate of democracy in Nepal depends more on the democrats' willingness to do homework, and less on what the Maoists and the Monarchists might or might not do.

I hope you will take the initiative.

Thank you and all the best.

Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

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