Bangladesh SC Says No to Religion-based Political Parties
The Daily Star 06 Jan 2010
Religion-based political parties of the country will be banned, said the law minister on Monday.
But the words ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’ and state religion Islam will remain in force in the constitution, said the minister.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed’s affirmation came at a media briefing at his secretariat office, a day after the Supreme Court vacated an earlier stay on the High Court verdict that declared illegal the fifth amendment of the constitution.
He said since the Supreme Court has upheld the High Court verdict regarding the fifth amendment to the constitution, religion-based political parties will be banned.
He said the government would implement the HC verdict as per the recommendations of the Bangladesh Law Commission.
Shafique Ahmed also said the matter will be sent to the law commission for its recommendations after January 18 when the SC is due to hear the leave-to-appeal petitions against the HC verdict.
He said the HC declared illegal the fifth amendment of the constitution since the amendment had legitimated the rule of martial law that suspended the constitution.
There will be no controversy regarding implementation of the High Court verdict.
Move to ban religion-based parties protested
The New Nation 06 Jan 2010
Protesting remarks of Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed to ban the religion-based parties, different Islamic parties yesterday threatened strong movement against the government if it did not stop its conspiracies against Islam.
Shafique Ahmed at his Secretariat office on Monday said the ban on religion-based parties would remain in force.
Terming the government’s viewpoint – the spirit of the Liberation War is secularism- as false, Bangladesh Nezami Islam Party yesterday in a statement said, “No party has raised the demand of secularism before the Liberation War even it was not mentioned at the declaration of the war”.
They said, secularism, democracy, socialism and nationalism were imposed on Bangladesh through the 25-year Indira-Mujib accord signed on March 19, 1972.
Saying to ban the religion based political parties was undemocratic and against human rights, they protested it.
Bangladesh Khelafat Andalon demonstrated in the city protesting the decision to ban the political parties that are based on religion.
Saying that to ban the religion based political parties means to ban the Islam, they claimed, “The remarks of the Law Minister reflects the government was controlled by the enemies of Islam outside of the country”.
Maulana Ashraf, President of the party Maulana Md Zafrullah Khan, Secretary General, Alhaj Anisur Rahman Jinnah and Maulana Mujibur Rahman Hamidi, addressed the demonstration, among others.
They said, “The government does not have the right to ban religion based parties in a Muslim country”.
Maulana Ashraf said the country’s people would protest any conspiracy against Islam at any cost.
Islami Andalon Bangladesh (IAB) also protested the remark of the law minister and said the country would head for instability through such speeches of the responsible persons of the government.
IAB Amir Mufti Syed Rezaul Karim said, when Olama and well wishers meet with him in Barisal, the people having faith in Allah would let not implement such decision against religion and Islam in the country containing nearly 90 per cent Muslim.
He said religion based politics were existed in the courtiers acquainted as secular.
Leaders of Jamiwate Ulamaye Islam Bangladesh in joint statement said the speech of the law minister would push the country to into a state of flux.
Protesting the decision of the government to ban the religion based political parties, they said the government had withdrawn its appeal challenging High Court order declaring illegal the Fifth Amendment because it did not want that the religion based parties to remain.
‘Bismillah’ and Islam as state religion to stay
PM tells 14-party meet
The Daily Star 06 Jan 2010
The words “Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim” in the preamble to the constitution and declaration of Islam as state religion will remain as they are, since they reflect the beliefs of the people, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday.
She was meeting 14-party leaders at her official residence Jamuna. It was the first such meeting since the Awami League-led grand alliance came to office in January last year.
Hasina, also president of AL and chief of the 14-party combine, however said the spirit of the original constitution would be restored with inclusion of the High Court verdict that declared illegal the fifth amendment, said meeting sources.
On the issue of Bismillah and Islam in the constitution, she told the leaders they must accept the reality.
The matter came up when an alliance leader suggested that the 1972 constitution be restored to uphold secularism.
The fifth amendment incorporated “Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful) into the preamble and the eighth amendment gave Islam the status of state religion.
The Supreme Court on Sunday vacated its stay on the HC verdict on the fifth amendment, which legitimises the regimes between August 15, 1975, and April 9, 1979.
At yesterday’s meeting, the prime minister stressed the need for strengthening the 14-party coalition, formed during the BNP-Jamaat coalition rule.
She endorsed the alliance leaders’ proposal for holding meetings of the combine regularly.
Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, AL presidium member and deputy leader of the House, was made coordinator of the coalition.
The leaders resolved to bring the war criminals to book as early as possible, and to help the government achieve its goals.
Briefing newsmen afterwards, AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said they have decided to meet regularly from now on.
The top leaders of the coalition discussed the government’s activities in last one year. They praised the way Hasina has been leading the government, added Ashraf, also LGRD and cooperatives minister.
Later, the prime minister hosted a dinner for the alliance leaders to mark the occasion of the grand alliance’s one year in office.
Those present included JP leaders HM Ershad, Rawshan Ershad, Anisul Islam Mahmud, Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu and Ruhul Amin Hawlader, Worker Party President Rashed Khan Menon, General Secretary Bimal Biswas, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haque Inu, General Secretary Syed Zafar Sazzad, Samyabadi Dal President Dilip Barua, Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Misbaur Rahman Chowdhury and Islamic Front Bangladesh leader Shaikh Khandaker Golam Mowla.