Good Times in Nepal?

Nepal Ends Crisis Rule, but Bans Some Protests,” by Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 1 May 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/international/asia/01nepal.html.

There’s good news in the otherwise gloomy collapse of Nepal… maybe

The king of Nepal announced the lifting of emergency rule in his Himalayan nation late on Friday, but left a host of unanswered questions about whether basic rights would be restored. On Saturday, meanwhile, the authorities announced a new ban on protests in parts of the capital, Katmandu.
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The announcement by King Gyanendra was not entirely a surprise: Shortly after seizing absolute power on Feb. 1, in what he called a bid to crush a Maoist insurgency in the countryside, the king told foreign diplomats that emergency rule would last no more than 100 days.

The implications of his announcement, however, were far from clear, particularly the fate of political dissidents in jail, curbs on news media freedoms and special powers awarded the military in the name of squelching the Maoist rebellion in the country. Perhaps more important, the king did not address what would be done to restore democratic rule. His handpicked deputies have governed the country since Feb. 1.

While the King’s end of parliamentary rule is troubling, the evil Maoists are far more worrisome. It is important that all nations of the world, but especially democracies like India, Britain, and the United States, support the people of Nepal against the Maoists.

Also unclear, but crucial for the king, was whether lifting emergency rule would prompt Nepal’s donors, chiefly its largest military backers, Britain, India and the United States, to resume supplying arms and ammunition. All three countries had effectively closed the tap since Feb. 1.

Having a DPRK-aligned Maoist Nepal would do no one good. Or having a DPRK-aligned Kingdom of Nepal. Nepal must be kept in the world system. Military aid is the most immediate way to help.

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