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Election Cancellation Demands Spark Objectivity Debate!

The Bangladesh Election Commission recently unveiled the schedule for the 12th National Parliament Election after engaging in extensive consultations with all stakeholders and extending multiple invitations to registered political parties. While several political parties participated in these discussions, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and like-minded parties chose not to engage with the commission. Even when invited separately, they did not respond, displaying a lack of political courtesy.

In such a situation, a group of 141 retired government officials issued a statement on Wednesday, November 22 urging the cancellation of the schedule for the 12th National Assembly elections. It has been claimed that, against the wishes of the country’s citizens and the global community, the nation is on a collision course by announcing a unilateral schedule in line with the Awami League’s preferences. The statement included a plea for the freedom of opposition leaders and activists.

In response to the recent statement issued by 141 retired government officials urging the cancellation of the scheduled National Assembly elections, concerns were expressed about the lack of objectivity, motivation, and misleading facts contained in the statement.

The statement additionally conveyed, “Given the current conditions, we advocate for the cancellation of the proposed timetable, aiming to pave the way for an election that is free, fair, participatory, and widely accepted, facilitated by a non-partisan electoral administration through constructive dialogue” – which is unacceptable and a travesty of truth.

Historical Disruptions and Present Demands

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and like-minded parties were also invited numerous times by the government to discuss the forthcoming national parliament elections. Unfortunately, they did not address issues such as the call for the government’s resignation, incidents of arson in the name of protests, acts of terrorism, attacks on the residences of the Chief Justice and other judges, brutal killings of on-duty policemen, and assaults on journalists.

According to official statements from the Fire Service and Civil Defence, 197 vehicles and structures were intentionally set on fire nationwide from October 28 to November 20, 2023. These incidents happened during a countrywide strike and blockade by the BNP-Jamaat alliance and their supporters. Notably, 132 of these attacks occurred in Dhaka Division, with 95 targeting the capital city. Sadly, the post-October 28 violence has resulted in the deaths of at least 11 individuals, including a police constable and a journalist.

Similar disruptive actions occurred in 2014, including the burning of vehicles, cutting down trees on roads, setting fire to polling stations, and brutally assaulting voters.

Despite these heinous instances, the same group is now demanding the cancellation of the election schedule, claiming it to be one-sided. The announced schedule is applicable and open to all political parties registered with the Commission, making it unclear how it can be deemed one-sided. Such attempts risk creating a constitutional vacuum in Bangladesh.

Misuse of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’

Extraordinary actions by administrative authorities, undertaken to restore order or uphold fundamental constitutional principles, are deemed lawful under the ‘Doctrine of Necessity,’ even if such actions run counter to established constitutions, laws, norms, or conventions.

The statement makes reference to the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ concerning the reintroduction of a caretaker government. Continually labeling a party’s decisions as ‘one-sided’ and invoking the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ is unwarranted, especially given the absence of any situation in Bangladesh requiring such measures. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) initially proposed the idea of a caretaker government in 2001, and in 2006, through various maneuvers, prolonged a three-month caretaker government into a two-year tenure. The people of Bangladesh, having learned from this experience, liberated the country from the caretaker government system, implementing the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ninth National Parliament formed through the 2008 elections.

In adherence to the Constitution of Bangladesh, the Election Commission’s statutory election schedule provides an open opportunity for the participation of all parties registered with the commission. We firmly believe that there is no basis for characterizing it as a ‘one-sided schedule.’

Among the 385 signatories who issued statements advocating against the cancellation of the upcoming National Assembly Elections, notable individuals include Kazi Riazul Haque, President of the Bangladesh Retired Government Employees Welfare Association and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh; Dr. Atiur Rahman, Former Governor of the Bangladesh Bank; Mr. K. H. Masood Siddiqui, Former Secretary and Former Member of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC); Mr. Ujjal Vikas Dutta, Former Secretary and Former Member of the Bangladesh Public Works Commission (PSC); Mr. Mohammad Nurul Huda, Former IGP, Secretary, and Columnist; Dr. Hasan Mahmud Khandkar, Former IGP and Ambassador; Ambassador Md. Abdul Hannan; Mr. Sourendra Nath Chakraborty, Former Senior Secretary; Mr. Mohammad Sirajul Haque Khan, Former Secretary; and Mr. Aparup Chowdhury, Former Secretary.

The post Election Cancellation Demands Spark Objectivity Debate! appeared first on Press Xpress.

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Election Cancellation Demands Spark Objectivity Debate!


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