European Parliament’s latest call to impose smart sanctions against the ruling elites in government and the military until democracy is restored in Nepal ( ) should be a major blow to the King and his junta in Nepal. On the same day, the King Gyanendra’s blistering reaction about India and Britain’s suspension of military aid indicates that rulers in Nepal seem in a desperate disposition.
As of February 1 2005 King Gyanendra joined a club of the South Asian of dictators along with Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Bhutan and Maldives; he might have excelled other dictators in the region (see King of Nepal: ISBN 061511928X). It is an established fact that tyrant’s strength lies on army as evidenced from Pakistan, Burma, and some African countries. Nobody ought to defy dictatorial orders. Dictators love to keep their people in dark. The army of Nepal, though its’ name is like Royal Nepalese Army, if fact, it is a royal army that exclusively obeys royal orders. Credibility and accountability of royal army are forgone. When the army defied the orders of civilian government during the early days of Maoists insurgency in 1990s, royal army has lost its credibility as a country server. Further, as Nepal ranks on top of the list of missing persons under the security custody obviously indicates a lack of accountability. Additionally, royal army is a place of exploitation between two classes. The upper elite classes mostly blessed by the royal networks, and the lower class comprised of people from poor households. The so-called upper class enjoys a very high level of benefits of lack of accountability and responsibility, as well as fiscal disciplines; where as lower classes are forced to combat with Maoists guerilla without even proper arms and ammunitions. In past 10 years, you can count any top brass army related to the royal network incurred any casualties. How could they since most them have business in the UN peace keeping forces in abroad! To show the world, it punished Mr. Ram Mani Pokharel, a Captain during the Doramba incident, but the question who ordered from the army command has never been public. Prior to that, Maoist had already bombed Mr. Pokharel’s native home in Gorkha. The middle level army officers have been penalized by both royalists and Maoists. How long will it continue?
Resources mis-utilization is nothing new since King and his army has the highest un-audited expenses in the history of Nepal. You may never know the facts, since 2002 the auditor general’s reports are dumped in the King’s palace. Prior to that, 2001 auditor general’s report showed that army had many examples of fiscal irregularities accounted at millions of Rupees. That also implies the most non-transparent institutions in Nepal are the King’s Palace and Army’s expenses. If any one does not bide a rule of expenditure implies a corruption. In such background, the new royal commission on corruption seems a new intimidation tool. Since a high level authority, Criminal Investigation Abuse Authority has been collecting and screening different corruption cases, the motives of a new royal commission are doubtful. Further, few members of the new royal commission are infamous custom officers until 1990. It is well documented in the report of the Mallik Commission – the first commission set up to examine the corruption cases before 1990. Unfortunately, government formed after 1990 never bothered to dig on the Mallik Commission. It is true that during democratic governments few elected people and bureaucrats become millionaire within a very short period of time through money laundering. In order to check corruption, it does not need to abolish the democratic system. In absence of civil fundamental rights, it would nothing more than an intimidation and dictators love to do that.
After the Maoist’s insurgency started, peace and prosperity are foregone. The King aims to restore peace in the country through guns. Will dictatorial peace at the edge of gun sustain the civilian peace? Whether providing a military as a newspaper guest editor and keeping the human right activists and political personalities in cells will herald the peace in the country? It should be a matter of shame to the King to pronounce “democracy” as he censors the press and curtails the freedom of speech. It seems that except King and his coterie nobody inside and outside the country understands the basics of democracy. Is this a democracy when a wife can’t meet her husband who is kept in army and police custody? Why Professors (like Baral, Gurung, Bahttarai, Shrestha etc.) are denied to participating in the conferences? Did Gauri Pradhan commit a political crime by helping the children in Nepal? Why Krishna Pahadi, an indigenous human rightist, can’t communicate his conscience? Why so many students are escaping from their homes in search of a shelter and security in India? The King is undermining the voices of people as his father did in 1960s. The further he hangs on his absolutism monarchial theory with the support of his army, the country and people may suffer more. What a great twist of democracy: when the US forces were in operation in Iraq, many journalists were embedded in the war zones, and, in our world, while King was delivering his democracy speech all telephone lines were shut down. Is that the democracy royalist are advocating? Come on, give us a break!
Except China, Pakistan, and Russia no other countries have supported King’s latest coup. North Korea, and Bhutan may congratulate him in future. King Gyanendra had already pleased China, so China will reciprocate its’ Myanmar policy to Nepal. Pakistan’s role in Nepal is simply to tease India and try to create another hub of terrorist like Kashmir if possible. Had China and Pakistan started to play inside Nepal, India won’t lag behind on wrestling. King and his junta won’t care any of such future pictures, because they will try to run and ruin the country as long as they can exploit with different excuses. Both international isolation and civil war are two very unwanted future scenarios for Nepal. King and his army may desperately try to intimidate until and unless hit and run situation. Well, that’s also not new since Paras Shah, son of the King, had already earned lots of credit on this business. May god will prevent the multilateral damages in Nepal.
Since European Parliament has already opted for “smart sanction”, it is highly imperative if the US as harbinger of liberty timely intervene to break the axis of dictators in the region. The further they consolidate, would be harder to break in future.
Surendra R Devkota, Ph.D. a native Nepali is US based research scholar. He can be reached at email@example.com.