Government moves ahead to evacuate 1,500 Nepalis from Afghanistan; Prorogues Parliament

Minister for Home Affairs Bal Krishna Khand instructed secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation to immediately begin necessary procedures for the rescue of Nepalis from Afghanistan.

In a meeting with the government secretaries including three security heads of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and two-star general from Nepali Army on Monday evening, the Home Minister directed an immediate and safe airlifting of Nepali citizens from the country in turmoil.

Expressing the view that it would be appropriate to formulate an action plan for the rescue of Nepali nationals in coordination with the international community, Minister Khand urged authorities to develop better communication and coordination among all agencies.

As per the Department of Consular Services’ web portal, about 134 Nepalis in Afghanistan have registered their details by Monday evening.

Nepal’s government on Sunday had called for the evacuation of an estimated 1,500 Nepalis working as security staff with embassies and with international aid groups in Afghanistan.

“We have formally written to embassies requesting them for the evacuation,” Nepal Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sewa Lamsal said.

Lamsal said the government has also set up a panel to determine the exact number of Nepalis working in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.

“The government will make arrangements for their evacuation also,” she said.

Nepal does not have a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan but thousands of Nepali men work as security guards in diplomatic districts of the country.

Similarly, the actual number of Nepalis in Afghanistan is estimated to be higher than 1,500 and the government does not have a clear strategy regarding its repatriation plan.

Meanwhile, President Bidya Devi Bhandari, at the government’s recommendation, prorogued both Houses of the federal parliament from Monday midnight. Monday’s Cabinet meeting had recommended to the President for the prorogation.

The House of Representatives (HoR) and the National Assembly held 10 and 12 meetings in 29 days, respectively, since the Supreme Court reinstated HoR on July 12.

Ever since, the National Assembly passed seven bills and sent them to HoR for endorsement. However, the Lower House did not pass any bill. The House of Representatives has rather been without business although 43 bills, including citizenship bill and federal civil service bill, were under consideration.

According to the record in federal parliament secretariat, Cabinet ministers presented 15 different ordinances in the House of Representatives but none of the ordinances were accepted for endorsement.

The prorogation came on the same day of House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota directing the government to furnish its reply to lawmakers’ queries regarding pressing issues such as the investigation into the tuin accident in Darchula, failure to give a full shape to the Cabinet, failure to appoint ministers, and the government’s response to the situation in Afghanistan, among other things.

Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader of CPN-UML Subas Chandra Nembang said that the ruling coalition was trying to evade the Parliament by abruptly ending the parliamentary session.

Similarly, lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna, of the Thakur-Mahato faction of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, said that the government had prorogued the Parliament because it lacked majority in the House and hence could not pass any bills.