Jatiya Oikyafront Manifesto 2018: What Experts Think | Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 18, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:56 AM, December 18, 2018

What Experts Think

The Jatiya Oikyafront has come up with several laudable promises in its manifesto, but making good on the pledges would be a big challenge, if the alliance comes to power, said experts.

Terming some of the proposals time-befitting, they said the alliance had touched many socio-political and economic problems but had not outlined the strategic plans to solve them.

The Oikyafront unveiled the election manifesto yesterday, promising, among other things, to form an all-party truth and reconciliation commission in order to investigate and resolve the incidents of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and false cases filed in the last 10 years.

If voted to power, the alliance will bring balance of power between the president and prime minister.

Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder lauded the pledges of forming a truth commission and bringing balance of power.

"But the commission has to work impartially," he told The Daily Star.

However, on the election-time government, he said the proposal seemed incomplete.

He also praised the proposal of introducing an upper chamber in parliament. There would be checks and balances in enacting laws if the upper chamber is consisted on the basis of proportionate representation of voting. In that case, the government would not be able to pass laws arbitrarily.

"All the political parties come up with lofty promises in their manifestos, but they do not fulfil the pledges after coming to power. We hope Oikyafront will fulfil its promises if it comes to the power," the former cabinet secretary said.

Prof Nizam Uddin Ahmed, an expert on parliamentary affairs, termed the proposal of reconciliation commission a historic one.

"It would be a good initiative if such a commission is constituted and allowed to function properly. Because our politics has become vengeful," he said.

But the alliance did not make it clear who would be in the commission and how it would function, he said.

Regarding the pledge of bringing balance of power between the president and the prime minister, he said many political parties had made similar promises but had not kept them.

Besides, bringing the balance of power will be very difficult. The parliament has to be empowered by ensuring the prime minister's accountability to the House, he added.

However, the promise of introducing an upper chamber to the parliament is not feasible in the present context, he said.

Noted rights activist Sultana Kamal also said the proposals of the manifesto were very good.

The Oikyafront talked about rule of law, women empowerment and zero tolerance towards corruption and extrajudicial killings. The proposals resemble the spirit of the Liberation War, she said.

"My biggest concern is that BNP and Jamaat are with the Oikyafront. The proposals do not match their past records. They do not even believe in these promises," she said.

Theoretically, the proposals are very good but questions remain about the implementation, she added.

Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said the manifesto was a crafty collection of lofty promises, too good to be believed as deliverable, especially bearing in mind the political culture and track record of the largest component party of the Oikyafront.

"As the saying goes, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Nevertheless, one can at least give them the benefit of the doubt that perhaps this time they are attempting to take the voters to a dreamland!" he added.

Prof Al Masud Hasanuzzaman, a teacher at Jahangirnagar University, said the Oikyafront came up with several good proposals, but how those proposals would be implemented was missing in the manifesto.

One good thing is that they showed a positive gesture and pledged to end the politics of vengeance, he added.

Regarding the pledges about the financial sector, Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor, said, "If other parties [after coming to power] want to implement the pledges, they [the Oikyafront] should support them," he said.

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