Govt won't ban religion based parties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 03, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 03, 2010

Govt won't ban religion based parties

Cabinet decides in principle

Despite having the mandate from the Supreme Court, the government yesterday decided in principle that it would not ban any religion-based political party.
The SC in its landmark verdict gave the government the mandate to ban religion-based political parties. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, categorically told her cabinet colleagues that her government would not ban any such party since banning them could make them take up underground politics and create trouble in the country.
Presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat, Hasina said it is the Election Commission which will oversee the political parties as to whether they fulfil the terms and conditions for getting registration with the commission.
"Restoration of the '72 constitution does not mean that many religion-based political parties will be banned. The government will take no measure in favour or against any party," a senior cabinet minister quoted the premier as saying.
The government would not put any pressure on the Election Commission to ban any party. If any party fulfils the criteria for registration of political party with the commission, it will be allowed to do politics, the minister quoted the prime minister as saying.
The minister, also a close aide to Hasina, said the EC set the terms and references for registration with the EC as political parties during the caretaker government. "At that time, all the parties were considered equally. So, it is the Election Commission to make the decision in this regard," added the minister.
At the cabinet meeting, Hasina also reiterated that the words "Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim" in the preamble to the constitution will remain as it is, since it reflect the beliefs of the people, highly-placed government sources told The Daily Star after the meeting.
A number of the ministers sought premier's move in preventing ministers and lawmakers from speaking too much about the restoration of '72 constitution without knowing much details. The ministers told the cabinet that people are confused due to some of their colleague's misleading and contradictory speeches on the constitution amendments, sources that attended the cabinet meeting told The Daily Star.
In response, the premier directed all her colleagues not to make any misleading statements on the amendments since an all-party parliamentary committee is dealing with the matter.

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