‘Parl Committee to resolve ethnic issue in SL’

The opposition parties are yet to make public their official position on the move to appoint the PSC.

Colombo: Sri Lankan government would soon announce the formation of a Parliamentary committee to give recommendations on the island`s long-running ethnic strife.

The proposal for the committee has been notified to the country`s Parliament and is likely to include a number of Cabinet Ministers and President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s brother Basil.

"The notice of motions for which no dates have been fixed" was issued on August 12, parliamentary officials said.

The 16-members, who proposed the motion and expected to serve in the select committee, featuring at least a dozen cabinet ministers, which even include the President Rajapaksa`s brother Basil, the leader of the main Muslim party Rauff Hakeem and Douglas Devananda, the Tamil minister from Jaffna in the north.

The terms of reference stipulates that the PSC will have six months to recommend to the House "the initiative appropriate to achieve political and constitutional measures to enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka, further empower the people to work as a nation and enable the people to take decisions and engage in actions towards their economic, social and political development".

The PSC will have a maximum of 31 members and the opposition parties are expected to name their members soon. The PSC as a tool to resolve the conflict has been mooted by the President Rajapaksa as he had earlier also told the visiting top Indian advisors, Nirupama Rao, the then foreign secretary and the national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon that he wanted the Parliament to recommend a solution to the crisis than through a mere engagement with the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance.

The analysts, however, view the appointment of the PSC as a sign of Rajapaksa`s discomfort in making the existing 13th amendment more meaningful.

The Tamil minority clamour for the full implementation of the 13th amendment moved in 1987 due to intervention mainly from the Rajiv Gandhi administration in Delhi.

Rajapaksa is averse to conferring police and land powers to the provinces. The opposition parties are yet to make public their official position on the move to appoint the PSC.


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