|Straining for a glimpse: Curious civilians crowding around Kathmandu\'s Khulla Manch to see what the future looks like, last Friday at the first Maoist public meeting since the peace deal.
The first deadline in the peace schedule has been missed. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is now set for next Tuesday, when the interim constitution, and cantonment and arms lockdown issues are also to be finalised.
Pushing back ambitious deadlines by a few days is not in itself alarming, but more than just the schedule is straining at the seams.
The Maoist leadership is emphasising its good faith, but barely any \'PLA\' fighters showed up at the proposed camp sites during the UN peace team tour earlier this week. There is continued recruitment, offering underage children money to sign up in what appears to an attempt to fill the camps with an acceptable number of 'fighters'. Maoist leader Dinanath Sharma said they were, "forming a working group to re-estimate the actual number of PLA personnel," never mind that this mars the perception of trust.
The 7+21 camp formula has been described as 'overly complicated', with military sources suggesting a series of linked camps instead. The comprehensive agreement is also meant to clarify issues such as how the fighters are to be occupied and retrained during the cantonment period.
The government and the United Nations accepted a near-impossible timeline to keep up the momentum and pressure of expectations. But the parties didn't help by pushing agreement on human rights issues, which are more appropriately addressed by the interim constitution in order to have the force of law.
The UN peace team's tour highlighted its status as a non-enforcement body, and a senior member of the government told us that there is growing wariness about the terms of the deal.
Meantime, the other monitoring body, the ceasefire monitoring committee is facing possible dissolution "due to an unclear mandate", committee member Taranath Dahal told us. The fate of the committee is to be decided on Sunday.