A king never makes mistakes. That is what they say but all that changed after February First. The king's move sparked protests from America, Britain and India and several European nations, resulting in aid cuts and suspension of military shipments. The events that followed made it easier for the king to assume the role of ruler.
Recently, at an international forum, the king justified his move to curb terrorism but the reality is that Nepal's image in the eyes of the international community will never be positive until democracy, freedom of press and civil liberties are restored. The international call for guaranteeing these values cannot be seen as interference in our internal affairs. Commitment towards democracy expressed whether in Jakarta or Boao will mean little unless they are put into practice for the good of the citizens.
Nepal has backtracked to pre-1990 days with the reintroduction of the zonal commission system. Although it seems that political parties are not under restrictions, leaders are still under house arrest and the fourth estate is intimidated by the administration. Since the formation of the Royal Commission, the arrests and imprisonment of leaders have intensified. To make matters worse, the Maoists are jeopardising the future of millions of children by closing down schools. Civilians continue to be brutalised by Maoist atrocities and children are being killed by Maoist bombs left behind recklessly.
The international community is watching closely to see how the king will solve national problems by remaining isolated from democratic political parties. In a democracy, the parties are representatives of the people and it is only a matter of time before we see whether the political situation will be normalised without the people's representatives. No matter how much foreign aid and support we get, the internal conflict will remain unresolved unless there is active participation of the people and their representatives. The king can't do it alone.