UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe wrapped up his 40-hours visit to Nepal after talking to more than 40 personalities directly involved in the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants within UNMIN’s Jan. 15, 2011 deadline. The visit is significant as an indication of the Security Council’s intention to follow closely developments in the Nepal’s peace process during the final months of UNMIN. Pascoe will report his findings to the Security Council on Wednesday. During his earlier visit to Nepal in March, Pascoe had strongly objected to the criticism of UNMIN as unfair and absurd and criticized the present Madhav Kumar Nepal Government and his political allies for blaming the UN mission to “cover up their failures”.
The debate on the fate of Maoist Army has intensified with the Maoist Party’s insistence on integrating the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) guerillas into the National Army, and on the other hand, the opposition Nepali Congress’s strong reservation over integrating PLA into the National Army. The Terai parties like MJF & TMDP also have strongly objected to what they call “wholesale integration” of the Maoist guerillas into the Army. Similarly, Nepal Army Chief Chatraman Singh Gurung has reiterated his predecessor Rukmagad Katwal’s Army policy of accepting only those “deemed fit through free competition.”
Tackling the issue of “integration” or “rehabilitation” of around 20,000 UNMIN certified Maoist combatants would be the most daunting task for the political leaders after the peaceful abolition of monarchy and promulgation of republic in Nepal two year’s back. However, some Nepal Army officers claim that “integration” of the guerillas would not be of much concern provided the politicians refrained from attaching their personal egotism with the issue and begin vigorous but informal track-three consultations among the stakeholders.
There is a widespread concern among the commoners that if the UNMIN really exits from Nepal in January 2011 and if the integration issue is not resolved by then, there is a real danger of the issue flaring up into another armed conflict.