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Make women ineligible to become head of government, state: Khelafat Andolon tells Dhaka

By Staff Correspondent

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan (BKA) yesterday called upon the interim government to make women ineligible for becoming head of the government or the state.


"We have told the government to take measures so that men hold the top executive positions and no woman assumes the responsibility of head of state or government," said BKA Secretary General Muhammad Zafrullah Khan in a joint press briefing following the party's dialogue with the panel of advisers led by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed.


The BKA during the dialogue also suggested reintroducing presidential form of government in the country and mentioning religion of voters on voter identity cards to determine their religious identity.


The party urged the government to implement the recommendations made by Baitul Mukarram National Mosque's acting Khatib-led committee that was formed to review the National Women Development Policy 2008.


A seven-member delegation of the BKA, led by Amir-e-Shariah Shah Ahmedullah Ashraf, attended the dialogue and demanded the release of those held for violence from the Baitul Mukarram area during a demonstration over the National Women Development Policy 2008.


The party, however, demanded promulgation of a law banning destructive activities such as hartal and blockade.


BKA at the talks put forward a 30-point demand that includes formulation of an electoral policy. They demanded that the policy would have to ensure a free, fair, meaningful and acceptable election while barring the agnostics, identified corruptionists, black money holders, murderers, terrorists, convicts and bankrupts from participating in the elections.


They also proposed increasing parliamentary seats in accordance with the rising population in the country.


Zafrullah said handing over the responsibility of the country's education to any NGO would be disastrous. "We also urged the government [to take a stand] against foreign interference in our internal affairs," he added.


Commenting on bringing BNP to the dialogue, Commerce and Education Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman, one of the participants on the government side, told journalists that the government, if necessary, would send a fresh invitation letter to the BNP. "We are confident that BNP will join the dialogue."


"The issues that we are discussing bilaterally need final approval at an all-party dialogue," said the adviser mentioning that the government is planning to hold such a dialogue to reach a consensus over the issues raised during the bilateral talks with political parties.


Regarding the spiralling prices of essential food items, the adviser said following the increase in fuel prices, the rise in prices of essentials is not irrational.


Referring to the 100-day employment generation programme of the government, Zillur said they were considering adopting a few more measures to ease the pressure of commodity prices on the lower income group including 7,000 injured freedom fighters.


The BKA urged the government to make a list of freedom fighters and declare them first-class citizens of the country, said the BKA secretary general adding that the government had enjoyed enormous popularity after assuming power, but the popularity has faded away due to the increase in prices of essentials, especially rice, oil and lentil.


Regarding the second phase of dialogue with Awami League (AL), Adviser Zillur said the AL is yet to announce its timetable.


LGRD Adviser Anwarul Iqbal and Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury were present at the briefing.


The government is scheduled to hold talks with Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Janata League today. Jatiya Gonotantrik Party and the Jatiya Party faction led by former minister Anwar Hossain Manju is scheduled to sit in dialogues with the government on July 16 and July 17.


Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed is expected to lead talks with rural and urban civic groups in Keshabpur upazila of Jessore and in Khulna city on July 14 and in Sylhet city on July 20.


The government-sponsored dialogue is aimed at bringing qualitative changes in politics through reaching consensus with political parties over crucial national issues.


Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka