January 6, 2004
says: ’ÄòI resigned to avert constitutional crisis’Äô
By Staff Reporter
Jan 6, 2004
Prof AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday said, he had resigned from
the office of the President to avert a constitutional crisis and on
moral consideration since more than 150 out of 300 members of
Parliament opted for it.
"I could have continued in office ignoring their threat (of
impeachment), but I did not want to push the nation into a
constitutional crisis," he said while exchanging opinion with
senior lawyers of the Supreme Court at the Bar Association
The BNP in a very short time of my resignation realised that they
had committed a 'blunder' through removing me. Meanwhile, it was
clear that the country was not running well, the former President
He said he would form a political party to carry forward his
programmes if the people and civil society groups wanted him to do
so. "Even a political party will be needed for the proper
utilization of the contributions of the civil society. But I cannot
say whether it will be formed tomorrow or a day after " he
said, adding that, at present, he was still exchanging views with
the civil society groups.
Prof Chowdhury, who is campaigning to establish an alternative
political force in the country, met the lawyers as part of his
programme to exchange views with different professional groups to
mobilise support for floating a united platform of the civil society
Presided over by the Supreme Court Bar President Barrister
Rokonuddin Mahmud the function was also addressed by the Gano Forum
President Dr Kamal Hossain, vice-president of the Supreme Court Bar
Association Advocate Subrata Chowdhury and the Secretary Advocate
Prof Chowdhury first delivered an introductory speech outlining his
position on the current situation of the country and his immediate
programmes. Then it was followed by a question-answer session. A
number of lawyers including Dr Kamal Hossain posed questions to him.
Stressing the need for integration of the expertise of the civil
society groups in the governance and their participation in social
reforms, Professor Chowdhury said, good people should come forward
now to mould the society. "The governance of the country would
be better if good people and specialists were taken from the civil
society," the former President said.
In this context, he cited the governance by three caretaker
governments since 1990 and called upon the civil society members to
come forward and play their role in this "critical time-the
country was passing through".
Referring to the comments made by some foreigners he said, in
Bangladesh civil society is very strong and it can play due role in
the present situation to fulfill the aspirations of the people.
Reiterating his proposed framework for political reforms, which he
thinks can present good government Prof Chowdhury said, besides 200
directly elected members, another 100 people could be brought in to
Parliament on the basis of proportional representation.
"Even a small political party that would get one per cent of
votes would have representation in Parliament," he said. He,
however, said the proportional representation could be changed in
phases, going for 150 directly elected and as many selected members.
In the last phase, he said 100 would be directly elected and 200
selected from the civil society and specialist groups.
About how to choose good and specialist person, he said before
elections the contesting parties would have to name the persons, who
would be selected on proportional basis for Parliament.
To make Parliament function effectively first of all neutrality of
the Speaker should have to be ensured, he said.
this the Speaker should have to resign from his party first and then
there must be a guarantee that he would be reelected uncontested in
the next general election," he added.
Prof Chowdhury identified the lack of effective bureaucracy and
police force as the main problems, the country is facing.
And’Ä¶corruption and politicisation destroyed their effectiveness.
He said, he believes in constitutional process, parliamentary
democracy and multi-party system. He asserted that he had no
weakness to any undemocratic process to acquire power. "There
is no Trojan horse in my sleeves," he said.
He regretted that the two top leaders of the country (Prime Minister
Begum Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina) do not
see eye to eye and do not also talk to each other. They stick to
their egos even if every thing goes to hell.
"This can not at all be a political culture and nor acceptable.
We want to establish a political culture which must be decent and
fair," he said. We will address specific problems with specific
solutions, he added.
"This is an alternative-the only way to save the country,"
he said and asserted that the country was in need of a clean
leadership to free the nation from terrorism and corruption, which
have already pushed the country into an alarming situation.
To a question, the former President said, hartal should not be used
any more. "We do not believe in politics of hartals and siege
as well as, the use of terrorism and money in politics," he
Referring to debates on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and
Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman, Prof Chowdhury said, "There
should not any debate about the contributions of these two great
leaders. They must be given due recognition. Debates undermines them
and divide the nation."
Replaying to a question on Bangladeshi and Bangali nationalism, he
said, we do not want to create controversy on the issue. He,
however, recommend the use of the expression "Bangladesher
Dr Kamal Hossain, the other proponent of an alternative political
force, stressed the need for national consensus to fulfill the
aspirations of the people.
"There should not be any division in the people since there was
no division during the War of Liberation and in the Constitution of
the country," he said.
Emphasising the need for stopping the use of black money and muscle
power in the elections, Dr Kamal said, law should be enacted to
prevent these curses.
Barrister Rokonuddin Mahmud expressed concern over the state of
governance, law and order and corruption.
"In no way we want any unconstitutional government. We believe
in parliamentary democracy and want continuity of constitutional
rule," he said.
Barrister Rokon said, "Judiciary is in crisis. A vested quarter
is trying to politicalise the judiciary through political
appointment of judges."
In this context, the Bar President criticized the alleged
superceding of seniority even in the Appellate Division.
Former BNP Minister Barrister Rafiqul Islam Miah, Advocate Saifuddin
Chowdhury, Advocate Salimullah, Advocate Tajul Islam, Advocate
Sirajul Islam, Barrister Tania Amir and Advocate Abdul Awal, among
others, put forward questions to the former President.