Dilly-dallying at PMO leaves envoy appointments uncertain

Published On: August 5, 2018 06:01 AM NPT

Some question over choice of ex-chief election commission Upreti

KATHMANDU, Aug 5: The cabinet decision to appoint ambassadors to India and Malaysia has become uncertain following dilly-dallying by the Prime Minister's Office in writing to parliament for confirmation hearings. Even three weeks after the cabinet decision, the government has yet to write to the Parliamentary Hearings Committee for the hearings.

A cabinet meeting on July 16 decided to appoint former chief election commissioner Nilkantha Upreti as ambassador to India and former ambassador Uday Raj Pandey as the new ambassador to Malaysia . But the choice of Upreti sparked some public criticism after constitutional experts questioned whether the constitution did not bar former election commissioners from taking up any post in government .

Article 245 of the constitution has disqualified the chief election commissioner and other commissioners from further government service. However, the government defended its decision, stating that the ambassadorial post was a political position and therefore not barred by Article 245.

According to high-level sources in the government, the cabinet decision has not proceeded any further as some leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), including Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Jhal Nath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam , protested the choice of Upreti.

Ad-hoc Chairman of the PHC Laxman Lal Karna confirmed that the committee has not received any letter from the Prime Minister's Office about the ambassadorial nomination . “I have heard about the nomination from media but the committee is yet to receive any letter to this effect from the government ,” said Karna.

Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali informed that the cabinet decided the appointment of the two ambassadors last month. “The cabinet had decided to appoint ambassadors to India and Malaysia. I couldn't follow up the matter as I was out of the country after that,” he told Republica.

The ambassadorial post in India fell vacant after then ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyaya resigned in order to contest the parliamentary election from Kapilbastu last year. Similarly, the post of ambassador in Malaysia fell vacant after the four-year term of then ambassador Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat expired a few months ago.

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