Nepal campaigners seek halt to MPs` foreign junkets

The campaigners are also demanding that the lawmakers return the salaries.

Updated: Jun 02, 2011, 15:58 PM IST

Kathmandu: A new pressure group of Nepali people, who were brought together by social networking site Facebook, has asked Nepal`s international donors to stop funding foreign junkets for the republic`s nearly 600 MPs till they draft the new Constitution within the extended deadline of August 28.

"We, the concerned citizens of Nepal, are united in our resolve to hold our government accountable in their conduct and ensure transparency in their actions," said the group that calls itself Nepal Unites in a press statement on Thursday.

"We believe that this campaign is in accordance with your stated goal of supporting democratic values and human rights in Nepal. Hence, we would like to request you to stop funding all international travels for our 601 Constituent Assembly (CA) lawmakers and senior politicians of all political parties until the expiry of the extended term of the CA for the next three months."

The campaigners are urging all donor agencies, foreign embassies in Nepal and INGOs not to fund foreign trips for MPs till August 28 since they are needed at home to write the Constitution for which they were elected three years ago but frittered away the time.

They are also demanding that the lawmakers return the salaries and allowances they enjoyed for three years, which runs into over NRS 91 billion.

Though the MPs failed to write the new Constitution within the first stipulated deadline of May 28, 2010 and subsequently, extended the deadline to May 28, 2011, during the additional 12 months, Parliament sat only for 95 minutes.

Also, most of the top leaders, like Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, attended Parliament in the last 12 months less than five days.

Lawmakers became targets of public anger and derision after two were suspended this year for allegedly selling their diplomatic passports, one was detained during a gambling raid and one went on the rampage under the influence of alcohol.

Also, it took them three years to decide on a name for the new Constitution.

Most of the MPs, including Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, also squandered away much of the time on questionable foreign trips.

With less than two days left for the May 28 deadline to end and the Constitution drafting not even started, Prachanda went on a dubious trip to Bangkok.

When at home, lawmakers` favourite activity has been cutting ribbons and addressing public meetings instead of attending Parliament.

During one such jaunt, the Prime Minister was slapped by a protester, who accused politicians like him of destroying the country.