Nation exposed to confrontation
Eminent citizens yesterday questioned the government motive for scrapping the provision of caretaker government through a hasty amendment to the constitution.
They also said the abolition of 15-year-old system has once again exposed the nation to political confrontation.
“I believe nowhere in the world constitution was amended at such a pace,” said former caretaker government adviser M Hafizuddin Khan. “It makes us suspicious, indicating an ill-motive on the part of the government.”
“We are very much anxious that it [conflict following removal of CG system] would cause public sufferings and in turn hamper economic development,” he added.
Hafizuddin Khan observed the situation, which led to the introduction of the system, has not improved yet; rather it has deteriorated.
The provision of caretaker government was repealed through passing of the Constitution (15th amendment) Bill, 2011 by overwhelming margin of vote in the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday.
The amendment requires parliamentary polls to be held under an interim government led by the ruling party discharging only the routine duties.
Earlier on May 10, the Supreme Court declared illegal the 13th amendment to the constitution that mandates an elected government, on completion of its term, to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration.
However, Hafizuddin Khan said polls will not be credible even if the interim government acts impartially. It is not possible to hold a fair election for any of the political parties as they, assuming power, politicise the administration.
Referring to the SC verdict, he said the court even did not ask to abolish the system right now. Rather, it said next two elections could be held under a caretaker government.
Had the government felt the necessity for an interim government, the matter should have been discussed with the opposition, added Hafizuddin Khan.
“[Only] the verbal assurance of talks on the issue in future lacks merit and sincerity after it is passed without any discussion,” he said.
Former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan said credible election cannot be held without a consensus with the opposition.
“The constitution has been amended in a frantic rush although there was scope for discussion. The decision would definitely have an adverse effect on politics,” he said.
Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, a trustee of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), observed the government should have waited until the release of full text of the SC judgement as nobody knows the details.
“Constitutional amendment is a serious business and it should not be done for the sake of a party or a person,” he added.
Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, a teacher of Dhaka University international relations department, said he is sure that the next general election will not be held unless a new formula acceptable to all is introduced.
“The demand of caretaker government for a free and fair election is always the demand of the opposition,” he said adding that the party in power never likes it.
Now the opposition is compelled to call strike and the formula of holding the next polls depends on opposition activities, he said. "Before that, I hope the government would come up with a solution.”