Friday, March 25, 2011

Bangladesh urge bipartisan initiative to end military coup d’états

SALEEM SAMAD

PRIME MINISTER Sheikh Hasina on Friday pleads opposition to cooperate in a bid to amend the constitution to plug the holes to discourage coup d’états.

The poverty-stricken nation of 159 million has intermittently been ruled by authoritarian juntas, which retards growth indicators of human development.

The nations two pro-democracy women leaders, who have taken turn to be prime ministers twice have bitter experience with the military juntas, which causes alarm for sustainable democratic progress.

Bangladesh, a Sunni Muslim majoritarian has a history of military takeovers. Political leaders critique of military regime aspires to seal grab of power through unconstitutional means by ambitious military officers in future.

Prime minister Shiekh Hasina and opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia were several times put under house arrest, detained, imprisoned and denied public appearance by military juntas. Both the pro-democracy leaders have bitter experience with the military juntas.

The current prime minister is the daughter of Bangladesh founder Shiekh Mujibur Rahman, who was assassinated in a military putsch in 1975. Similarly, opposition leader’s husband and president Ziaur Rahman was also assassinated in a military rebellion in 1981.

The military dictators governed the country for 15 years, since 1975 and again in 2009-2010 explain that the junta primary purpose was to restore democracy, but freezes the constitution, denying fundamental rights of the citizens. Also promises to eradicate corruption which has taken roots in the society.

"A committee has been formed for constitution amendment. Let's work together so that no one can come to power through unconstitutional means," the leader of the House addressed the parliament.

A parliamentary committee will bring recommendations for constitutional amendment after supreme court ruled to restore secularism. The judgment said to got rid of provisions that had allowed religious political parties to prosper and legitimised military dictatorship.

The court verdict also suggested "suitable punishment" to perpetrators who brought military regimes and imposed martial laws, who were dubbed as “extra-constitutional adventurers.” [ENDS]


Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com