As PN went to press, the tortuous and tortured Nepali peace process was mired yet again in inter-party wrangling. The shadow of the decade-long civil war continues to fall across the political scene, including attempts to form a ‘high-level political committee’ to write a new constitution.
The operation of parliament was stalled as we went to press partly because of demands by the Unified Maoists for the legalisation of land seizures, purchases, sales and redistribution by Maoist forces during the insurgency.
A key aspect of the new federal constitution (supposed to be written by January 2015) is whether the provinces it creates will be ethnically-based (the position of the breakaway CPN-Maoists and many historically-excluded ethnic groups).
At the beginning of September, British journalist Thomas Bell published a book, Kathmandu, alleging that MI6 ran a four-year covert action programme in Nepal from 2002–2006. According to the high-level sources interviewed by Bell, MI6 assisted the Nepali national investigation department (NID) in penetrating Maoist networks and arresting suspected dissidents, some of whom were then tortured or killed. During ‘Operation Mustang’, MI6 apparently ran safe houses, provided surveillance equipment and created a secure communications network for the NID.