We went thinking let’s visit Europe but it turned out to be Free Tibet program: lawmakers

The lawmakers who participated in a Free Tibet program in Latvia have claimed they did not know about the program before reaching Latvia.

Pradeep Yadav of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Iqbal Miyan of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP) had participated in the meeting of parliamentarians supporting Free Tibet held in the European country from May 7-10.

“A friend of Miyan proposed to him to attend a program of international parliamentarians. Miyan then proposed to me to go to Europe,” FSFN lawmaker Yadav told Setopati. “I went thinking let’s visit Europe but I knew about the program only after reaching there.”

He claimed that they did not address the program despite attending the inaugural session and did not sign on the joint statement of the parliamentarians. “We knew we went for a program that we should not have attended only after reaching the place. We went out of the program after that. I made an excuse of feeling unwell. They had tried to send a person with me to buy medicines. But Miyan said he has medicines in his room,” Yadav reminisced. “We went out of the program after staying for 30 minutes. We went out as we felt that it was against Nepal’s policy.”

He claimed the two left for Switzerland on a taxi on the second day of the four-day program. “We did not speak against anyone. We went there by mistake. They tricked us saying there is a program of parliamentarians in Europe,” he added.

He argued that they have not been involved in any activity against the laws and foreign policy of Nepal. “Neither did we sign on anything nor did we give statement,” he pointed. “To leave the program is a respect of China. It is in line with Nepal’s foreign policy.”

He claimed that they returned buying their own tickets even though they had gone to Latvia on the tickets provided by the organizers. “We are new lawmakers. We can be tricked like anybody else. We did not go there with prior understanding and knowledge.”

He added that the organizers tried to make them sign on the statement and take them to the stage but they declined. “We have not violated our foreign policy. Why should we lie?” Yadav stated.

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had summoned Miyan on Tuesday and questioned about the Latvia visit. Mahara had advised the lawmakers to clarify about the visit.

“They had not provided prior-notice before going for the visit,” Chief Whip of RJP Laxman Lal Karna said. “Speaker raised questions. We summoned and talked.”

Karna revealed that Miyan has provided written explanation claiming they had attended the program without knowing the agenda. “He has provided written explanation to the party claiming they did not know about the subject of the program and left it after the first day of the meeting,” Karna said. “He has written that he is committed to the one China policy.”

He added that lawmakers generally go for foreign visit after informing the party. “They were taken by some NGO. They should have informed while going for a formal program.”

The parliament secretariat, meanwhile, said the two lawmakers had sought recommendation for visa to Latvia.

“Honorable lawmakers ask for recommendation to help in visa processing when they want to go abroad. We provide recommendations,” Under Secretary at the International Contact and Coordination Section of the secretariat Rekha Upadhyaya said. “We do not know about the subject of the visits. They inform their party about it.”



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