Military dictating no good for country, armed forces | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 07, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 07, 2008

Military dictating no good for country, armed forces

Observes ex-CA Justice Habibur at National Citizen's Dialogue

Former chief adviser Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman speaks as the chief guest at the National Citizen's Dialogue titled "National unity to face major challenges 2008" at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the city yesterday.Photo: STAR

Military intervention in the country's politics and administration cannot be salutary either for the country or the armed forces, former chief adviser to caretaker government Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman said yesterday.
"The present government will have to shoulder the responsibility for the undemocratic situation it has created in the country by altering the democratic system," he said.
The former chief justice advised the government to remain alert so that it does not make any mistake by chance or by taking any over-enthusiastic or careless decisions.
He was speaking as the chief guest at the National Citizen's Dialogue titled "National unity to face major challenges 2008" at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the capital. Bangladesh First, Bangladesh 2025 organised the three-session daylong dialogue chaired by Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain.
Noted economist and President of Bangladesh Economic Association Prof Kazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, former caretaker government adviser Sultana Kamal, former president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Yusuf Abdullah Harun, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Anwarul Alam Chowdhury Pervez, and Dr Badiul Alam Majumder spoke in the first session of the dialogue.
Former adviser and Chairman of Regulatory Reforms Commission Dr Akbar Ali Khan, noted scientist Dr Abed Chowdhury and agriculturist Dr Zahirul Karim addressed the second session titled "Agriculture and Food Security and Rural Development".
Prof Anisuzzaman and Prof Anisur Rahman, among others, spoke in the third session titled "Desired Bangladesh and Young Generation".
The participants approved a citizen charter in which they demanded a national dialogue to resolve the challenges of daily life. They urged the government to take effective action for holding the election according to the roadmap, controlling the prices of essentials, and creating stability in the country's economy.
Justice Habibur said he is concerned whether power will be handed over to an elected government after smooth holding of the ninth parliamentary elections at this year's end.
He cautioned that increasing discrimination in the society in the present situation when prices of essentials have gone beyond people's purchasing capability will increase instability and "there is possibility of being attracted to religious terrorism for its solution".
Habibur said the present famine-like situation could become permanent if reforms to and management of agriculture and water resources cannot be developed.
He said, "We have amended the constitution thrice in the interest of just one person. Now if we pretend to be upholding the constitution while furthering an individual's benefit, it will not last long."
Habibur said to amend the constitution a Constitution Commission can be formed. "But we do not get any confidence after observing little utilisation of the Law Commission. Because, top brasses in the government consider themselves to be big scholars and do not like advice from others," he added.
"In the nine months ahead of the election we will not commit the mistakes we have already committed and help all concerned with the holding of a free and fair election. We will elect such parliament members who will be role models not only in politics but also on our way forward," he said, urging people not to waste their votes on incompetent persons.
To check price hike and food crisis, Justice Habib called upon the government to increase investment in the agriculture sector with utmost importance so that there is no shortage of fertiliser, seeds and power.
Terming the year 2008 a year of challenges, Dr Kamal Hossain said they would unite to face the challenges before the nation, namely, skyrocketing prices of essentials, layoff of mills and factories, and acute power crisis.
He urged the government to import rice and fertiliser on emergency basis.
He also called upon the government to hold a meaningful dialogue with professionals and political leaders to resolve the crises and reach a consensus on holding a free, fair and credible election.
Dr Kholiquzzaman said if the prices of essentials are not controlled, the other successes of the government would be diminished. "I think the government should concentrate on bringing the prices of essentials within people's reach," he said.
Calling upon the caretaker government to hold the election as per the announced electoral roadmap, he said a disorderly and chaotic situation might arise if the election is not held in time. He observed that the country is already witnessing some political unrest.
Sultana Kamal said, "We neither want to go back to pre-1/11 days nor want to be in the present situation. We do not want to live under the state of emergency day after day where we are not able to speak."
She urged all to take bold pledges to work for restoring democracy in the country.
Yusuf Abdullah Harun stressed the need for launching food for work and test relief programmes for the low-income group. He observed that a free, fair and credible election is a must for social, economic and political stability in the country.
Anwar Ul Alam Chowdhury suggested that the government handle political parties carefully as the economic stability depends on politics.
Prof Anisuzzaman said, "Intervention by army officials and military coups at different times have derailed the country from its desired destination...We want restoration of politics as it is the base of democracy."
He said it is expected that the politicians would rectify their wrongdoings but seeing the government's failures, among other things, in controlling the price hike of essentials they now think that they need not be corrected.
"We hope politics would be healthy and political leaders will reach a consensus on fundamental issues," said Anisuzzaman, who presided over the session titled "Desired Bangladesh and young generation".
Among others, economist Prof Anisur Rahman, Dr Reza Kibria, Dr Abul Momen and Shahin Reza Noor spoke at the programme.
Politicians, foreign diplomats, representatives from the civil society and NGOs also attended the dialogue.

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