Gaun Khane Katha: Three answers from Katuwal to Prachanda

Excerpts from army chief's clarification: I've played by rule
The Kathmandu Post, April 22 - Nepal Army has always played its roles abiding by the directives of the Nepal Government. In my capacity of the Chief of Army Staff, I have always acted in accordance with sub-clause 1 of Clause 9 and sub-clause 1 of Clause 10 of the Army Act 2006. In this context, I would like to humbly remind you of the fact that Nepal Army extended support for implementation of Legislature-Parliament declarations, Republic and Comprehensive Peace Agreement. While performing my duties, I have fully assisted the government positively and with maximum flexibility to take the current peace process to its logical end, and have not ignored the government. I have also reiterated my pledge in this regard.

While presenting my clarification I would like to bring up the following constitutional and legal provisions:

Article 144 (2) of the Interim Constitution, 2007 has the provision of appointing Chief of Army Staff by the President upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, while  Clause (3) has the provision that the president will control, mobilize, and manage the Army as per the existing laws upon the recommendations of the Council of Ministers. In this light, the appointment of Chief of Army Staff, which I am currently serving, rests with the honorable president, and I humbly say that as per clause 16 of the Act Related to the Legal Explanation 2010 B.S., the power to remove the Chief of Army Staff rests with the one who makes the appointment.

I was appointed as per the Constitution of Nepal 1990, as amended by the reinstated House of Representatives. Clause 11 (4) of Army Act 2007 has the provision for continuity of the job of Chief of Army Staff, appointed in accordance with the 1990 Constitution. In this light, I would like to humbly request that it is not legal to invoke Clause 11 (3) of the Army Act with the motive of giving me retirement.

On recruitment: The army headquarters had sent letters to the Ministry of Defense on May 22, 2007, informing the latter that the NA was having difficulties due to vacant positions. The NA received a directive from the government to fill up the vacant positions, not exceeding the numerical strength as it was there while signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. On Oct. 15, 2008, the NA had informed the Ministry of Defence about advertisements to fill up vacant positions. The NA published advertisements for recruitment in Gorkhapatra on Nov 2, and 3, 2008, set up a board in consultation with the Public Service Commission, and completed various phases of the recruitment procedure.

The NA received a letter from the Ministry of Defence on Dec. 24, 2008, to stalled the recruitment. In reply, the  NA told the Ministry of Defence that it would be inappropriate to halt the recruitment procss that had reached its final stage as it could spawn negative feelings toward NA and the government and might create a state of anarchy. The recruitment process moved ahead as the NA did not get any extra directive in this regard. The recruitment doesn't violate Clause 5.1.2. of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and there is no dispute on it in the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee. The recruitment has been legitimized by the Supreme Court decision.

On the reinstatement of eight army generals: There was an interim order from the SC not to implement, for the time being, the government decision to give retirement to the Army generals. The Ministry of Defence was informed about this. The generals were assigned work as per the SC order.  

On the boycott of some events in the Fifth National Games: Army players only boycotted some events as some other team was given entry to the games violating the national games regulations. But the Nepal Army team actively participated in the games.

As the Army is committed to the civil administration and rule of law, it has always adopted all political changes, and as Chief of Army Staff, I have accepted the constitutional supremacy and political changes and will not deviate from my stance. The NA is an organ under the government. It has abided by all  directives of the government. 

In the process of obliterating remnants of past conflict, taking the ongoing peace process to its logical end and finding points of convergence for amity and reconciliation, the feeling of some uneasiness is natural. But as Army Chief, I am committed to gradually mitigating such feelings for the sake of durable peace in the country.  

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