Moving Forward from the Dictators’ Mess

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.

16 Comments

Filed under Democracy, Islamism, Justice, Politics, Religion, south asia, state

16 responses to “Moving Forward from the Dictators’ Mess

  1. Bangladesh is the future powerhouse of Southasia.

  2. Ron

    @Ex-muslim
    It already on its way……forex reserves just crossed 10 billion dollars

  3. Suv

    bold step by Bangladesh. I hope this decision is followed in letter and spirit

  4. Mustafa Shaban

    @Ex-Muslim : I would hope that Bangladesh prosper but rite now the nominations for Asian power house would go to Pakistan, India and China for the future.

  5. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Bnagladesh: Secularism And Constitution

  6. AAENA

    “I would hope that Bangladesh prosper but rite now the nominations for Asian power house would go to Pakistan, India and China for the future.”

    Wrong ,the only candidate is China.Pakistan and India are destined to crumble into smaller nations sooner or later.But the communist party of china wont let that happen to China.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    Now Bangladesh model looks truly appealing for Pakistan.

    Well done Bangladesh.

  8. yasserlatifhamdani

    Md Zafrullah Khan, Secretary General, Alhaj Anisur Rahman Jinnah and Maulana Mujibur Rahman Hamidi,

    How odd… that these gentlemen protesting the decision are named after

    1. The Qadiani Ahmadi author of the Lahore resolution

    2. Pork Eating Whiskey drinking founding father of Pakistan who promised to separate church and state

    3. The founding father of Bangladesh who made Bangladesh unequivocally secular.

  9. Majumdar

    Ex-Muslim/Ron,

    Bangladesh is the future powerhouse of Southasia.

    Provided Bangladesh does not drown in the Bay of Bengal-thanks in no small measure to the powerhouses (literal ones, not figurative ones) of China and India.

    Aaina,

    Wrong ,the only candidate is China.Pakistan and India are destined to crumble into smaller nations sooner or later.

    Neither India or Pak will crumble but they wont be a patch on China.

    Regards

  10. hoss

    It is a dumb decision. Supreme Court has no right anywhere in any democratic country to tell the political parties what name they choose. We can tolerate this because of the current climate where the Islamist parties have become a major source of problem but would removing the word Islam or the religion based make them any less problematic? The court is being used to ban some political parties

    The Court should have asked the state to reconsider the use of bismillah and the word Islamic in the constitution and recommended removal.

    A word of caution for our resident enthusiast: The all mighty Mujib, the so-called author of the Secular constitution of Bangladesh was also responsible for adding the word Islamic and in the next and less publicized constitution he authored when he switched the system from parliamentary to Presidential.

    The two politicians that emerged from the 1971 debacle got killed violently by the armies they saved, after they moved to the right. Well, in Mujib’s cases he created/rebuild the army that eventually murdered him.

  11. B. Civilian

    Supreme Court has no right anywhere in any democratic country to tell the political parties what name they choose

    it’s not the SC but the govt, law minister, saying that. it’s a govt that includes the same parties within its coalition, as the third of three distinct news items above gives an example of.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    “was also responsible for adding the word Islamic ”

    In my opinion it was General Zia (Bangladesh wala) responsible for this.

    Mujeeb did make the constitution presidential and virtually became an autocrat… but he did not add Islam to the constitution.

    In this respect he stands far above Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who it was our misfortune to endure.

  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Supreme Court has no right anywhere in any democratic country”

    Now that I have read this again I too have a problem with it. In my opinion this should have been limited to Muslim and Islamic parties only.

    In a Muslim majority country there is no democratic justification for a Muslim or Islamic party….

    However… I don’t see why minorities can’t be allowed to have their parties to safeguard their rights.

    Ofcourse all this is subject to what we mean by “Religion-based party”… does it mean a party that strives to promote religion above secularism … or does it mean a party representing communal interests in politics? The former must be banned… the latter are part of the democratic system….

  14. Majumdar

    I don’t quite agree with either the SCB or YLH. It is undemocratic to ban a party for having a name after a religion or a religious group or even espousing a religious cause. Such parties (like all others) shud be forced to affirm allegiance to the Constt as a price for being allowed to participate in the political process.

    Regards

  15. aliarqam

    Excellent Decision………….Must be followed here
    Though a long way to be followed.
    Hope PPP, ANP will dare to return to the their basics….

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    You mean the basics that resulted in the most theocratic constitution in our history?