Envoy nominations sent to the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee
By Bishnu Budhathoki
KATHMANDU- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has sent a list of 14 names to the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee nominating them as the country’s ambassadors in different countries. Talking to the Kathmandu Post on Tuesday (June 26), Minister for Foreign Affairs Sahana Pradhan said, “The ministry (of foreign affairs) on Monday sent the same name list, which was proposed by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister K P Sharma Oli in the cabinet meeting in December 18, 2006, to the parliamentary hearing special committee to carry out hearings before their appointment to the respective countries.”
[Update: No, they are not confirmed this time. The House body seeks fresh envoy list (June 28)]
However, the foreign ministry has recommended former foreign secretary Murari Raj Sharma as Nepalese envoy to the United Kingdom instead of Bhagirath Basnet (former acting Foreign Secretary), whose name was proposed by the then government. No one has been nominated for the Nepalese Embassy in Paris. Following the then government decision to recommend 14 individuals as Nepalese ambassadors including Nepali Congress leader Shailaja Acharya as Nepalese ambassador to India on December 18, Maoist activists had carried out nationwide strike protesting the government’s ‘unilateral decision’.
Meanwhile, Acharya said she has taken the government decision positively and will face the hearing at the parliamentary committee. She also claimed that she did not care about public criticism against her because she had fought for democracy in the past. Of the names, three are career diplomats with the ministry, a parliament secretariat official and four are university teachers but aligned with NC and CPN-UML and the rest are politicians. Pradhan also sought cooperation from the parliamentary committee, asking for immediate clearance of the proposed names so that it would be easy for the ministry to send their names to the concerned countries for their agreemos.
She also said that it may take more than five weeks to complete the process and appoint ambassadors. Meanwhile, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a major constituent in the interim government, criticized the decision saying it was against past pacts and understanding reached among the eight-party alliance. Dinanath Sharma, Maoist chief whip in the parliament and member of the committee said, “We strongly oppose it because it is the old decision that we had rejected in December.” He also criticized NC and CPN-UML members in the interim government for not taking up the issue in the cabinet meeting for discussion. “We have no objection to the persons but to the practice adopted by NC and UML members in the government,” Sharma said further adding, “The parliamentary committee should not go for hearing without reaching understanding among the eight-party leaders.”
Immediately after the restoration of democracy in the country in April 2006, the then government in May 7, 2006, had recalled royal appointees from India, UK, USA, Japan, Russia, France, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan.
1. India — Shailaja Acharya (NC leader)
2. USA — Dr Suresh Chalise (PM’s foreign affairs advisor)
3. UK — Murari Raj Sharma (former Foreign Secretary)
4. Bangladesh — Pradip Khatiwada (MOFA Joint-Secretary)
5. UN Mission in Geneva — Dinesh Bhattarai (MOFA Joint-Secy)
6. Myanmar — Guna Laxmi Sharma (BK) (Health Ministry official close to CPN-UML)
7. Thailand — Navin Prakash Jung Shah (Former VC of TU and NC supporter)
8. Saudi Arabia — Hamid Ansari (Associated with TU and CPN-UML)
9. Belgium — Pramesh Hamal (CPN-UML leader)
10. Japan — Dr Ganesh Yonjan (Conservationist)
11. Pakistan — Bal Bahadur Kunwar (former MP, NC-D leader)
12. Qatar — Dr Surya Kant Mishra (University Teacher)
13. China –Tanka Karki (CPN-UML leader)
14. Russia — Surya Kiran Gurung (General Secretary, Parliament Secretariat)
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