Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmedís Address to Nation
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Dear Countrymen, Assalamu Alaikum,
I appear before you today at a critical juncture of the national life. We took over the responsibility of the government on January 12, 2007 in the backdrop of inevitable changes. We are near to the threshold of the final phase of our desired political transition today on the basis of the reform programmes of about 16 months.
After assuming the responsibility, the main objective of the caretaker government was to conduct holding of a free, fair and neutral election acceptable to all. It aims at ushering a new healthy and democratic post election political trend. To achieve this goal, we required a flawless voter list and creation of a congenial environment to hold the election. You know, the preparation of a flawless voter list was the common demand of all political parties. To achieve this, we immediately accomplished the task of reconstituting the Election Commission and consequently the Election Commission engaged itself in preparing a flawless voter list. Registration of almost 6.5 crore voters have already been completed. For this, I sincerely congratulate the Election Commission, Armed Forces, field administration, and all development partners. Simultaneously, I also express my gratitude to the countrymen for extending all assistance and support to the efforts, making successful these historic activities.
To create environment to hold a free, fair and proper and meaningful election acceptable to all, one of the major conditions is to clampdown on black money and use of muscle power, establish rule of law and carry out anti-corruption drives, improvement of law and order and above all, made effective and dynamic the state-run institutions. You know, our government is working uncompromisingly to achieve these goals and has already been successful to a great extent in creating a election-friendly environment. In this context, on behalf of the government, I would like to make a clear announcement about the date of the next Jatiya Sangsad election. The election would be held on any day in the third week of December next. The Election Commission will make announcement of the specific date and election schedule as per rule.
I hope all questions, suspicious and speculations centreing election will come to an end after it. The sunrise of the new-year after December next, will greet a newly elected people's representative government in office. And it will be made possible by the democracy-loving people of Bangladesh, its supportive political parties, concerned government and non-government organisations and the people of the right thinking civil society.
We have almost reached now the final phase of the election process. Our aim is to establish a proper sustainable democratic process in the country by holding a free, fair and acceptable election as per the earlier announced roadmap. It is true that the achievement of this goal is not possible by the caretaker government alone. It requires an indifferent national unity. In the light of this reality, steps have been taken to initiate a dialogue on the basis of proposals made by various political parties and professional organisations. We held pre-dialogue discussion staggering over 22 days before starting the main dialogue. Five advisers of the government completed the pre-dialogue discussions working relentlessly and trying intensively to understand the views of the parties. I firmly believe, by holding the pre-dialogue discussion, we have been able to send the message of our earnest desire in building the foundation of respect and trust in political parties. The five advisers of the government have prepared the dialogue document and presented their views to me containing the main objective of the dialogue, its procedure, and different action programmes that may be taken. In this context, I would like to announce that we would sit in formal dialogue with political parties starting from May 22. Letters will be sent from tomorrow (Tuesday) from my office to various political parties inviting them to join the dialogue.
I firmly believe, in this historic dialogue we will be able to reach consensus on all important national issues. It will reflect the hopes and aspirations of all political parties, groups, professions and the people of the country at large. It cannot be denied that the national consensus to be reached in this way needs to be given a moral compulsion and permanent shape. In the light of this, a 'national charter' needs to be adopted through concerted discussion of the government, political parties, representatives of all groups and professions. A proper and fair electoral framework will established through this national charter. It will help launch a healthy and stable democratic process in the country.
My dear countrymen,
I have already mentioned that the government has accomplished various programmes aimed at making the election meaningful. It is at the final stage of the process to promulgate soon the Election Commission proposed amended electoral law, rules and regulations. We hope that the political parties will spontaneously come forward to take steps towards reform keeping inconformity with the electoral law, rules and regulations.
I firmly believe that the political parties would remain committed to playing an effective supportive role to the steps taken by the government. The nation expects that the entire election process would be free from black money, muscle power, administrative biases, nomination trade and excessive expenses for poll campaigns. Also it is expected that the political parties would reach a consensus through dialogue to create an election-friendly environment with improved law and order situation.
The Election Commission has already expressed its decisions to hold polls in city corporations and some municipalities before the national elections. Besides, polls at upazila levels are also in their work plan. It's a demand of the time to hold polls at upazila, pourasabha and city corporations as part of strengthening local government institutes aimed at people's welfare.
The government, in this context, would provide all-out support and cooperation based on the needs and demands from the Election Commission. However, the elections at local levels would not create any obstacle to attain our prime target -- to hold national elections. We would remain uncompromising in regards to national elections. We would just expect that the polls at the local levels would able to create a positive flow towards greater national elections.
Our all endeavours would turn into despair unless a healthy and stable democracy is introduced. To that end, our first task is to reach consensus on all issues towards qualitative improvement of politics. In this context, we expect a successful implementation of voluntary internal reforms of all political parties. The nation today wants to see a successful implementation of cherished reforms for creating a trend of democratic attitudes within political parties, as well as to make inroads for honest, worthy and dynamic leadership.
Side by side, the people also expect a reflection of mutual respects among political parties for each other as well as cordial and effective relationship among them. I do hope that all would realise the urgency of reaching consensus to introduce and spearhead the motto of a healthy and stable democratic system in all party and state activities.
It is very urgent to reach a consensus before elections to make the parliament effective after the elections. Different proposals have already been discussed in this context. It must be ensured that none would reject election results, nor they boycott parliament. I would hope that this thing would be discussed in dialogue with special importance. The obligations to be realised by all to continue and proceed further the institutional and legal reforms done by the caretaker government that include separation of judiciary, Election Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission.
All know, the culture of 'lackey politics' is one of the major sources of 'evil politics'. Whatever good intentions gave birth to front organisations, the ground reality of today is that most of these organisations are now plunged into an ill culture of lackey politics that is void of ideology. It has become imperative to rescue politics from such trends, put it on track and resume a health trend through qualitative changes in politics. We have to realise these important issues through dialogues and find clear solutions to those as well.
The present world is very competitive and fast moving. All political and administrative activities should be complementary to economic development to keep pace with the world economy. Every day and every hour is very important to keep economic wheels moving on. So, we have to reach consensus that we would shun all forms of destructive and negative politics. Hartal, blockade and violent agitation would be buried forever. The nation doesn't want to see any form of anarchic political activities in future.
Here, I want to raise another issue for considerations. To make power permanent, the tendency of politicisation in different public institutions, including administration, has been expanded severely in the past. Sadly I am to say that the ill culture of such politicisation is not at all good for the nation in any sense. Running administration based on efficiency and merit is a clear reflection of a successful regime. All political leadership has to think it deeply. I hope that an effective solution would be sort out from dialogues to this effect and consensus would also be established.
You know, the serious degradation of rule of law was the main reason for creating unbridled anarchic situation before January 11 of 2007. Our government has been playing an uncompromising role to establish the rule of law. The supports from all of you and your deep respect to rule of law have together made it possible to establish an improved law and order situation in the country. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all political parties, professional organisations, civil society and others for it.
Dear fellow countrymen,
You all will agree that the people might not be fully informed about the grim picture of corruption unless our government would have conducted the anti-corruption drive.
Corruption is the main enemy to national progress and development. We have to come out of the vicious circle of corruption at any cost. We all must unite to build a corruption free society. I hope, all political leaders and people of all walks of life would make proposals so that all avenues for corruption get closed in the future.
From the political point of view, the lack of balance is the main weakness of power structure. Too much centralised power is not helpful at all for a stable and responsible governance. Preparing specific proposals and forging of consensus regarding what kind of power re-structuring among the highest constitutional posts can play positive role for political stability can be one of the major achievements of dialogue. I hope, all parties, would lead the nation towards desired goals through utilisation of their talents and creativity.
There is no doubt that the nation wholeheartedly expects the overall stability of the post-election government. Balance of power, rule of law, healthy politics, effective parliament, accountable administration are the components of a stable ruling system. An infrastructure or guideline is essential for containing these components. Such an infrastructure or guideline will keep the nation united in the national interests.
There might have differences in political philosophy or ideology, but there must have the system that such differences can in no way hamper stability. I appeal to all political parties, professional organisations and the people -- let's develop such infrastructure or guideline for ensuring stability for the next governments where political, economic and administrative stability would always be upheld. The valuable proposals of all of you and consensus on these matters are now the expectation of the nation.
We expect that the political parties would take part in the upcoming dialogue in open mind. I can assure that the government has no pre-fixed agenda. Nor even it has hostility against anyone. Rather it has an open mind for understanding. The political parties would make their opinion in open mind about the actions in resolving all problems in political arena, their possible solutions and work plans. They will make constructive proposals for bringing qualitative improvement in political structure. I declare lifting of ban on indoor politics throughout the country from tomorrow (Tuesday) to make room for taking preparation for the elections to be held in December next and also casing participation of all political parties in this process. Necessary directives in this matter are being made from the government.
For conducting election publicity, it is necessary to ensure free movement of political activists, their unhindered participation in holding meetings and making other means of publicity. The EC has formulated an election code of conduct through discussion with the political parties, and the commission is determined to implement it fully. Considering all relevant matters, the government will take steps to suspend or relax certain provisions of emergency rules and its regulations at an appropriate time for creating an atmosphere for holding election. The government is firmly determined to do everything that is required for making the election meaningful and fruitful.
Dear fellow countrymen,
The record production of three main staple foods -- boro, wheat and potato -- for the first time in the country's history, is the latest example that we can achieve any success through an integrated and united effort. We have proved, through the bumper production of crops, that we can do many things if there are good wishes and initiatives.
For this great success, I on behalf of the government and the people, convey my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the farmer community. I congratulate all concerned including various ministries, field level administration and the army who played their due role for achieving the success. I hope, the trend of new reawakening would be continued during the upcoming Aman season. The government is firmly committed to provide all kinds of cooperation to the farm sector and the farmers.
The dialogue in one sense is a trust-based initiative. There may be disputes, rivalry and competition within us. But in eventual judgment, these are not our main features. The nation expects from us a healthy and stable transition. We will have to overcome all narrowness, vengeance and mistrust in proceeding towards that end.
I know, we have the courage to discard these challenges. This is the time to express our determination. We don't have any scope to go backward. All the hearts of 150 million people of our beloved motherland developed an irresistible dream in view of the reality of the time. This dream is for a political and economic transition and to stand before the comity of the world with a national identity, flourished with the spirit of self-confidence.
Dear fellow countrymen,
We think the role of common masses in the process of electoral and political reforms is to be most crucial. We don't want to go back to the situation which had witnessed violent political conflicts. We want a qualitative and meaningful change in the governance and political structures. The people will have to take the responsibility to ensure that the political parties are run according to the law and the constitution in a democratic atmosphere. You will also have to ensure that honest, competent, patriotic, meritorious and efficient candidates dedicated to public welfare are elected to represent the people in parliament.
We will have to keep in mind that the key to build an enlightened future for society and state lies with the people or voters. I will hope, all voters of the country will perform this duty accurately on the day of the election. Allah willing, we will definitely succeed in installing an honest, patriotic, transparent and really accountable government through the accurate exercise of our voting rights.
The next election is also opening up a golden horizon for politicians who intend to unveil the door of a golden future for the motherland. I hope, the honest, competent and enthusiastic politicians will also properly take this advantage.
At this transition point of the history, I would like to express my hope that we will be able to remove the apparent differences of our opinions or thoughts through cordial discussions and exchange of opinions since our goal is the same. Definitely, we will have to instill in the soil of this country the democracy and democratic system, values and rules and regulations. And it will have to be done for a permanent period. We will have to ensure this sustainable system to announce our democratic entity with pride in the world stage defying all odds or barriers.
Before conclusion, I would like to reiterate some points of my today's statement.
1. The election for the ninth parliament will be held in the third week of December this year. 2. We will start the formal dialogue with the political parties of the country from May 22. 3. The ban on indoor politics across the country will be lifted tomorrow. 4. According to the necessity, we will suspend or relax the relevant sections of the emergency rules and regulations at appropriate time to create a favourable atmosphere for the election and ease the poll campaigns. 5. Efforts will be made to formulate "National Charter" on the basis of consensus on relevant matters prior to the polls so qualitative changes are censured in government and political systems after the election.
The responsibility of making the dialogue a success lies with all of us. To say in one word, there is no scope for failure in this regard. In terms of aspirations, the nation is united today. Here lies our main strength. The successful eventuality of the journey we started on January 11, 2007 is at our doorstep. We will definitely reach our aspired goal with our united efforts.
The present caretaker government will no more be in office at the end of this year but it will leave behind a sustainable democratic system based on a firm foundation. We extremely hope that the hopes and aspirations of the struggling people of Bangladesh will get a real shape through this foundation.
May Allah help us in rebuilding that enlightened and democratic future. Allah Hafez.
Courtesy: Daily Star (Dhaka)