Former chief justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman said on Sunday that is was axiomatic that military interference in politics and administration could not benefit a country.
Addressing a citizens’ dialogue at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, Habibur Rahman said, ‘Bangalees are not bestowed with any special attributes that they should prove otherwise.’
‘The thought of the day is transfer of power to an elected government after holding elections to the ninth parliament within this year; but there are worries about whether it will take place’, he said.
The present government will have to take the responsibility for the uncertainties they have caused by suspending the democratic process, said the former head of a caretaker government adding, ‘They have to be cautious so that they do not harm the country by their overzealous activities.’
Justice Habibur Rahman observed that the constitution could be amendment and a constitution commission might also be formed for the amendment, but added, ‘We cannot be optimistic given the little potential of the law commission. Senior figures in government consider themselves to be omnipotent and do not want to consult people.’
Expressing concern over the rising food costs, he called for increased investment in the agriculture sector.
‘We have neglected this sector giving priority to industry.’
He urged the government to ensure seed, manure and power supplies to farmers, saying, ‘We have to institute necessary reforms in agriculture and water resources, and devise better management modes, otherwise the present ‘famine situation’ will become our permanent national attribute.’
Gana Forum president Kamal Hossain, who presided over the daylong dialogue organised by Bangladesh First-Bangladesh 2025, said that price hike of essential commodities and power shortage were the two problems that needed to be addressed urgently.
The government should hold a meaningful dialogue with the political parties for holding a free and fair election according to the roadmap announced by the Election Commission, he said.
‘We want to establish a democratic country where there will be no poverty.’
Former adviser Sultana Kamal, also the executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, said, ‘We are not in a better condition now than when an elected government was in power’.
‘But we do not want to return to the pre-January 11, 2007 situation and at the same time do not want to remain under a state of emergency’, she said.
‘We want restoration of the people’s rights’, she added.
Economist Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad urged the interim government to augment food stocks to ease the food crisis.
He also called for raising an emergency fund for facing calamities.
Yussuf Abdullah Harun, former president of FBCCI, said the food crisis was the most serious challenge facing Bangladesh at the moment and ‘we should take steps for strengthening our fragile economy’.
BGMEA president Anwarul Alam Chowdhury said that the political parties must reach a consensus on ensuring stability in the country.
Badiul Alam Majumder, country director of Hunger Project in Bangladesh, said that the country should be ruled by the politicians, not by others.
He hoped that the government would hold a free and fair election in the country according to the roadmap announced by the Election Commission.
The opening session was followed by two more sessions chaired by regulatory reforms commission chairman Akbar Ali Khan and educationist Anisuzzaman.
The sessions discussed issues of food situation, agriculture and rural development and the youths.