Kamal criticises govt, EC for softening stance | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2008

Kamal criticises govt, EC for softening stance

Dr Kamal Hossain, a staunch advocate for the post-1/11 reforms, slated the caretaker government and the election commission for softening their position on holding fair polls and bargaining with some political parties to bend the newly framed electoral rules.
“How one those holding such constitutional posts go for bargaining? Is there any room for bargaining in the application of laws?” the Gano Forum president asked during an interview with UNB at his Bailey Road residence.
He was reacting to a question about the continuing dilemmas over holding of the general election.
Dr Kamal, a leading jurist who helped frame the country's constitution, vented both his disappointment and annoyance over what he termed as 'wholesale bail' of those arrested on corruption charges, relaxation of election rules and regulations and party-registration provisions, and non-application of existing laws.
“The caretaker government and the election commission must not face defeat, they must succeed,” the veteran jurist-politician said.
However, on a note of optimism, he expressed hope about a new beginning in national politics on a clean sheet following the painstaking period during interim period.
He noted that the interim regime has enjoyed the support of the people for the last 20 months, “but now they seem desperate to give up. It looks like a stage-managed performance in the name of an election, this is not acceptable.”
“Right now, in the face of pressure and threat, the Election Commission is softening its stance on party registration and other matters saying they are compromising this in the interest of the elections,” he said.
One must join the race within the existing the laws and regulations, he emphatically said in support of the sweeping changes being carried out since the January 11, 2007.
The eminent lawyer, known for his hard stance on clean politics, questioned the granting of over 200 bails to the accused in corruption cases at one go before the vacation bench of the High Court.
“I've never seen such a thing my 50 years of legal profession,” he said, adding that the caretaker government and judiciary have the responsibility to inquire into how this happened.
Dr Kamal also said that the legal procedure of granting bails should not be abused.
He was critical of the projection of corrupt persons as politicians and demands for their release as 'political prisoners'. He demanded publication of the inquiry reports, charge sheets, trial proceedings and court verdicts against those convicted in corruption cases so these people later cannot claim to be innocent.
Naming some BNP and Awami League leaders and former MPs already convicted of corruption, Dr Kamal questioned if they are political prisoners at all.
“These people are telling lies, they are deceiving the nation,” he said.
Asked if the caretaker government has failed in its anti-corruption drive, he said the government achieved some success in its mission as some have already been convicted while trial proceedings continue against some others.
Criticising the two main political parties for their frequent threats that they will not participate the elections unless their demands are met, he cited rules of international games like Olympics and questioned whether a player taking steroids would be allowed in the games if proved to be using drugs.
He said in such cases, the organisers seize the medals back from such players and even disqualify them for a life term from future competitions.
Dr Kamal observed that parties demanding the release of corrupt politicians are basically deceiving the nation. “I will continue to fight against this. I will call a spade a spade. A big lie is being foisted on another big lie. We cannot remain as slaves in an independent Bangladesh,” the verteran politician said in an emotion-charged voice.
Asked if he and his party will participate in the elections, Dr Kamal said Gano Forum would sit on October 17 to review the situation and take a decision.
“We have been fighting for free and fair elections for the last three years. We've spelt out a 23-point charter of demands and mobilised people's support towards it,” he pointed out.
He said the caretaker government and the election commission cannot deprive the people of a fair election. The laws, which were amended for fair elections, must be applied without any other considerations.
Asked whether the planned December 18 elections would be any different from the past, he said, “The next few weeks will show.”
Asked if his party will join any alliance, Dr Kamal said they would join alliance with like-minded parties like the Awami League-led 14-party combine and Prof Badruddoza Chowdhury's Bikalpa Dhara.
However Dr Kamal said that he opposes jumping on the bandwagon of the mega-alliance.

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