It is now a year since the decision was taken to restore law and order and activate the multiparty democratic polity in the country in keeping with the nation’s needs and the people’s aspirations. Arresting a situation that was slipping into anarchy and reactivating a stalled democratic process has not been easy. Yet, given the commitment of our patriotic countrymen, all the Nepalese people have experienced the nation grow in confidence and the self-respect of the Nepalese people restored within a short span of one year, with the cloud of pessimism dissipating. We are confident that, remaining alert to the sensitivities of the self-respecting Nepalese people and our glorious ever independent history, we will be able to ensure for the nation peace, stability and prosperity within the next one year through mutual understanding and with patriotism as the focal point. We believe that a road-map to sustainable peace and re-energising a meaningful democracy are two sides of the same coin. We are confident that a road-map of consensus will forever end all possibilities of resurgence of violence and terrorism in our motherland, which will otherwise put at risk the universally acclaimed multiparty democracy and hurt the self-respect of Nepal and the Nepalese people. Guided by a national perspective that upholds our political, administrative and civic traditions, we are confident that by April 2007, all popularly elected bodies will be active in ensuring a bright future for the Nepalese people through a dedicated exercise in democracy so as to create a welfare society.
The nefarious designs to portray Nepal as a failed state a year back has now begun to unravel with acts of terrorism being limited to petty crimes. The elected government not only dissolved the popularly elected village, municipal and district bodies but also at the national level. The process of activating multiparty democracy and Constitutional Monarchy has now begun with the people exercising their franchise to reinstate these bodies for which the elected government had failed to conduct elections in spite of being given repeated opportunities. The people are determined to ensure the success of the municipal elections currently underway. In fact, the freedom to exercise one’s vote through adult franchise forms the democratic basis for a honourable national consensus. Democracy flourishes only through the enfranchisement of the people and democrats are never losers when democracy is upheld. Therefore, the first and foremost preconditions for consolidating democracy are to gain the support of the people through the ballot and respect their mandate. In keeping with these universally accepted democratic principles, the process to reinstate all the elected bodies through free and fair elections has been initiated. We are confident of the active participation of all democrats who have faith in the people’s democratic rights. Democratic norm dictates that, while upholding the people’s rights, their confidence can be won only through participation in the democratic process.
With efforts to initiate a meaningful exercise in democracy in keeping with the accepted norms, measures are also underway to improve public service utilities for the benefit of the people. As the bureaucracy has been freed of political pressures and discipline instilled among them, criminal activities under political patronage is now under control. The ongoing fiscal and administrative reforms will be implemented in a more effective manner. Rule of law alone will ensure good governance. As long as corruption, which has proved to be a parasite to our society, is allowed to spread its tentacles, a system of governance as aspired by the people cannot be ensured. More effective measures will be adopted to realise the commitment to maintain fiscal discipline. The concept of Land Bank will be effectively implemented to make available land to the landless, agricultural tenants and freed bonded labourers. Internal and external investments will be mobilised to accelerate the pace of economic development, increase employment opportunities, improve transport infrastructure and attain self-sufficiency in the energy sector through optimum utilisation of water resources. An effective integrated policy must be adopted to initiate development activities that have direct impact on the people. A conducive environment exists to utilise the opportunities created by information technology in the economic development of the country. Likewise, the role of the service sector is also increasing in importance. In this context, special programmes will be introduced to create opportunities of self-employment within the country for talented youths. Measures will also be adopted to train those youths going abroad for employment so that their skills and abilities are duly recognised.
The Nepalese are well aware of the fact that character without any moral foundation, politics indifferent to national pride and a form of governance bereft of the people’s confidence will neither benefit the nation nor the people. They also know that politics will not have the strength to inspire the people and overcome challenges if it is tainted. It is our belief that multiparty democracy cannot be made meaningful in the absence of significant popular participation in governance, effective decentralisation of authority in the village, municipal, district, zonal and regional levels and maximum autonomy to elected local bodies in the formulation and implementation of development projects.
Democracy can be adopted into our way of life only if we are prepared to have faith in the people’s abilities and the elected representatives. To achieve this, guidelines will be formulated in a transparent manner through collective wisdom and reflections based on experiences and aspirations. Appropriate measures will also be initiated to convincingly address, in the greater good of the nation, grievances regarding indigenous people as well as discrimination relating to regional and other issues. Contributing to efforts aimed at the general welfare of the people alone can ensure the collective well-being of the Nepalese. The nation can be freed from the clutches of poverty and made prosperous only through the collective participation of all. We are confident that all Nepalese, conscious of their national pride, will make significant contributions from their respective places towards the success of the pro-development strategies currently being implemented. While history will be the sole judge of an individual or a generation, it should be our endeavour to ensure that the present generation of Nepalese is given due credit.
Nepal ‘s foreign policy is now clear and stable. Our foreign policy and relations are solely guided by how best to serve and protect our national interest in a rapidly changing world. This has restored Nepal ‘s prestige and credibility in the international arena. Nepal desires friendship with all and is always ready to cooperate for mutual benefit. Nepal has malice towards none and is ever alert in ensuring that her territory is not used against any friendly country. Nepal is ever ready to have mutually beneficial fruitful relations with both her neighbours. This policy remains unchanged. To act as a catalyst in enhancing economic ties between her two neighbours, Nepal is preparing to be the transit point between them. Nepal ‘s role as a transit point will contribute to the welfare of Nepal , India , China and the region as a whole.
Nepal has unflinching faith in and is totally committed to the principles of human rights. It is in this spirit that our country has adopted the policy of institutionalising the promotion and protection of human rights and rectifying its shortcomings. It is not easy for a country combating terrorism to strike a balance between the compulsions of national security and upholding the rights of the citizens – this is a reality faced by all democratic countries afflicted with the scourge of terrorism. But it is our strong belief that the people must be allowed to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner, with due consideration to national security.
The Nepalese people desire for sustainable peace. This was clearly spelt out to us when we had direct contacts with our beloved people during our recent visits to various parts of the Kingdom. The vigilant Nepalese have well understood the conspiracy to foment further acts of terrorism in the name of momentary cessation of violence. If those who have gone astray wish to rejoin the mainstream of peace and creativity, democracy and coordination, and if they wish to dedicate themselves in the service of the people through the ballot, abjuring their murderous acts against the nation and people, we make it clear that they will be given the security and opportunity necessary to shoulder the responsibilities of governance in their capacity as the people’s representatives, having won the people’s confidence through the universally accepted democratic exercise. The people can be won over only through peaceful political and constructive activities. Activities like disrupting peace, encouraging discord and creating hurdles on the road to rapprochement in the name of democracy will benefit none. Let us, therefore, unite, with patriotism as the focal point, in dedicating ourselves to the people’s welfare and initiating a new chapter in the exercise in meaningful democracy. We wish to emphasise that all differences can be resolved within the framework of the Nepalese patriotic tradition in keeping with the Nepalese psyche, which has never had to put up with subjugation throughout history.
We have always, single-mindedly and with determination, strived to fulfill our beloved people’s aspirations in the greater interest of the motherland. We have no desire other than the Nepalese people’s welfare and the responsibility towards Nepal ‘s glorious history. While utilising the indestructible synergy constantly spouting from the fountain head of patriotism, it will be in the interest of the nation to uphold, with utmost dedication, the glorious history of the Kingdom of Nepal . The success of this alone will keep the nation secure and ensure a meaningful democracy for the people.
A clear decision was made for the country last year. Today, let us, once again, pledge to achieve this national goal. The Nepalese are determined to see a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Nepal in tune with the 21st century. The essence of Nepal ‘s glorious history is the fact that the Nepalese people themselves determine Nepal ‘s national agenda in the interest of the country and their own.
Patriotism is the only means of creating a democratic society. We, therefore, call upon all Nepalese to consign mutual recrimination to the bitter past and build a secure and prosperous future for the nation and people, while upholding democratic norms.
May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all!
Jaya Nepal !