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Recently the cabinet issued a seven-point directive regarding civil servants, especially about their meetings and interactions with foreigners. The directive, issued at the initiation of Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav, indirectly requests foreign diplomats in Nepal to respect diplomatic ethics and norms while meeting politicians, ministers or government employees.

Minister Yadav must have his reasons but it would be foolish to expect a substantial result by implementing such a code of conduct only at the civil servants' level and not at the political level. Nepal's ministers have a history of rushing abroad at the drop of a hat, often jeopardising national prestige. Neither the government nor the ministers make any effort to formally notify the public of their junkets. This slapdash attitude of the government makes us question their so-called commitment to the right to information.

How effective can such a directive be when the ministers themselves act irresponsibly with regard to foreign visits and don't even care to inform the state? The most recent incident was that of Information Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa conveniently cruising into Tibet in a government SUV escorted by a car from the Chinese embassy. Along with them were Maoist leaders Netra Bikram Chand and Jayapuri Gharti.
This isn't the first time that such an embarrassing incident has occurred. It used to happen all the time during the tenure of Girija Prasad Koirala. Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who was then home minister, made several secretive trips to Jharkhand to meet a 'guru'- an easy excuse.

Under these conditions, how meaningful will Yadav's directive be?



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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