Thursday, November 15, 2018 09:51:17 PM
Speakers at a roundtable on Saturday stressed the need for a fresh impartial free and fair election with participation of all parties to ensure the people's right to vote.
They made the demand at a function on " Bangladesh at a crossroad", organised by The Dhaka Forum at The Daily Star Conference room in the city.
Moderated by chairman of the Forum, former governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Saleh Uddin Ahmed, it was participated by cross section of people.
Ambassador Sirajul Islam, a member of the Forum presenting the key notepaper said the only possible way to overcome the prevailing crisis in the country is possible through holding of a fresh election with participation of all. " If the prevailing political problem is not resolved immediately, he said, our country might reach the level of countries like Afghanistan , Iraq or Pakistan."
The Election Commission instead of holding an uncontested farcical election to demonstrate compliance with legal compulsion should have postponed the elections respecting people's
right to voting parliament members through direct elections stipulated in the Constitution, he said.
BNP seems amenable to a political dialogue but it is binding upon the government to help it and resolve the legitimacy question, he said.
This parliament comprising of 153 uncontested members seriously lacks legitimacy, as it does not reflect the will of the people, democracy and country's constitution, he said. Such an election is also a deviation of the spirit of country's liberation war, he said. Former adviser to caretaker government Barrister Mainul Hosein said in the name of upholding Constitution a voter less election was held on January 5 . The 15th amendment to the constitution, he said, was made to hold such a farcical election. He also described the election time all party government as ridiculous. Politics in this country, he said, is a way to make illegal money.
Mahbub Jamil, another former adviser to caretaker government said, " It is yet to be determined whether people are for the constitution or constitution is for the people. Had it been determined election without people's participation could not have been held on excuse of constitution."
Another former adviser to caretaker government Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman said the country has beeen passing through a crisis as the election was not held properly. The rule of law is on fast decline, he said adding the country is also facing problems of moral degradation. Corruption, he said, has become order of the day. The image of the country, he said, has been tarnished as today Bangladesh is seen as " politically suspected" by the outside world. The message that the present government is giving to the people is that it could continue unless and until it is pulled down. It was said prior to election that dialogue would be held after the election but now it is being claimed that the government would continue for five years, he said.
Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder said, to overcome the prevailing crisis, there is the need for immediate election with participation of all parties.
Former secretary Sohel Chowdhury said there is the need for an understanding under a package so that at the end of every five year term the country does not face violence over type of government to conduct elections.
Professor Dilara Chowdhury said the government which assumes power without people's vote, wants to remain in power with foreign support. If such government remains in power for long, the country's sovereignty is likely to be in danger, she observed. Former Chief Information Commissioner M. Zamir said the voters right to vote has not been curbed. He stressed the need for implementation of right to Information law to create awareness among the people.
Ambassador Afsarul Kader said after every five year the citizens get the chance to vote but this time they were denied of such opportunity. Election must be held afresh to enable people to choose their representatives as to who will run the country for next five years.
The country is at a critical juncture with a government not accountable to the people putting the country at a political and economic crossroad, said Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank and currently president of The Dhaka Forum.