Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – The High Court on Tuesday rejected a writ petition filed challenging the cancellation of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s candidature, barring her from contest the December-30 parliamentary elections from three constituencies.
The one-member bench of Justice JBM Hassan passed the order.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that Khaleda Zia won’t be able to contest the elections as it is the final decision.
Earlier in the morning, the bench rejected a petition of Khaleda’s counsel expressing ‘no-confidence’ in the single-judge bench.
Later, her lawyers boycotted the court without hearing of the writ.
The High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing for today.
On December 12, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain formed the one-member bench to hear the petition over BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s candidature in all the three constituencies as the bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir issued a split order on December 11.
Senior Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed stayed the EC’s decision and accepted Khaleda’s appeal while Justice Md Iqbal Kabir upheld the decision.
Later, the appeal was sent to the Chief Justice as per rules to form a new bench.
Barrister Kaisar Kamal filed the appeal for Feni-1 while Barrister Nowshad Jamir for Bogura-6 and Advocate Masud Ahmed Talukder for Bogura-7.
Khaleda’s nominations for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7 constituencies were rejected by returning officers. The Election Commission also upheld the decisions of the returning officers, prompting the former prime minister to move the High Court.
Khaleda was jailed for five years on February 8 last in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. Her jail term was doubled by the High Court on October 30.
A day before that, she was sentenced to seven-year imprisonment by a special court in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) - BNP rolled out its election manifesto for the 11th parliamentary elections on Tuesday with a set of promises, including making democracy an everyday practice, building a vengeance-free Bangladesh and raising GDP growth to 11 percent.
It also pledged to scrap the controversial Digital Security Act, Official Secrecy Act and other black laws if it is voted to power in the 11th parliamentary elections.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir unveiled the party’s 19-point manifesto at a city hotel at 11am, 12 days before the national election.
“I’m announcing the manifesto on behalf of former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and I want to assure you that no revenge will be taken against anyone if BNP is voted to power,” said Fakhrul.
The BNP leader said people’s ownership of the country will be consolidated if their party returns to power. “We’ll turn the practice of democracy an everyday affair.”
BNP came up with its own manifesto a day after the party’s key alliance Jatiya Oikyafront presented an election manifesto. The two manifestos are almost similar.
Though Jatiya Oikyafront pledged to continue the trial of war cremains, such commitment was not there in the nine-page BNP manifesto read out by Fakhrul.
As his attention was drawn to the matter, the BNP secretary general said he presented a short version of their manifesto. “You’ll get it in our full version of manifesto.”
The party, however, did not provide the journalists with the copies of its full manifesto.
BNP’s promises also include ensuring the balance between the power of the President and the Prime Minister, making public the probe reports on BDR carnage and Bangladesh Bank reserve heist and conducting more investigations into the incidents.
The promises also include restoration of referendum system in the Constitution for establishing people’s democratic rights, introducing upper House of Parliament involving people of all walks of life, increased representation of women in all the constitutional institutions.
Fakhrul also announced that steps will be taken so that one-party rule does not return to the country and check corruption.
A judicial commission will be formed for reforming the judiciary if BNP is voted to power, he said.
He said no ongoing development projects will be stopped, but probe will be carried out to examine whether there is any corruption in the mega projects.
A parliament of youths will be formed for ensuring the interests of the youth, he said.
He also said the 5 percent of GDP will be spent on the education sector.
The BNP leader also said steps will be taken to ease traffic and remove public sufferings during the movement of the President and the Prime Minister.
He also announced that a national commission will be formed to introduce a new political culture to get rid of the politics of vengeance and Ombudsman will be appointed to ensure the transparency and accountability of administration.
An additional armed police battalion will be constituted bringing a change in the existing structure of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab).
If BNP is voted to power there will be no age limit for entering government jobs, except those of defence, police and Ansar, he said.
The control of lower courts will bestowed upon the Supreme Court by amending the Article 116 of the Constitution, said the BNP leader.
Fakhrul said freedom of expression will be ensured by removing online monitoring system and steps will be taken to end extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearances, killings and inhuman physical and mental torture.
Zila Parishads will be elected through people’s direct vote and city government will be introduced in municipal areas, he said.
Two lakh people will be given public jobs based on merits and qualifications in the first three years of the government while steps will be taken to create one crore jobs in the five years, he said.
Some other promises of BNP include making deputy speaker in parliament from the opposition, providing educated unemployed youths with allowances, revoking all types of VAT on students, withdrawing all cases filed against them during different movements, including quota-reform and safe road ones, making public the wealth information of the Prime Minister, ministers, MPs and higher government officials, increasing risk allowances for police, announcing freedom fighters as the revered citizens of the state and raising allowances for them, making a correct list of exact number of martyrs of the Liberation War, introducing allowances for destitute, widows and insolvent elderly people and forming a ministry for minority communities.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the High Court order that stayed the candidature of BNP candidate M Rashiduzzaman Millat from Jamalpur-1.
The seven-member bench led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed ‘no order’ after hearing on an appeal filed by Millat against the HC order.
Now, he will not be able to contest the election, said his lawyer barrister Abdullah AL Mamun.
The Election Commission allowed his candidacy after his nomination was rejected by returning officer.
Later, Awami League candidate and former information Minister Abul Kalam Azad challenged his candidature at the High Court as Millat was convicted in a corruption case.
Following his writ, the HC stayed his candidature on Dec 13.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – Bangladesh Awami League on Tuesday unveiled its 21-point manifesto for the upcoming 11th parliamentary elections promising to ensure urban facilities in every village and use the potentials of youths for the progress of the country with the slogan - ‘Bangladesh on the march towards prosperity’.
AL President Sheikh Hasina read out the summary of the election manifesto at a function held at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.
The manifesto focuses on 33 sectors to work under two strategic plans for making Bangladesh a hunger- and poverty- free country, and educated and secular nation.
Hasina said if Awami League is voted to power, it will further strengthen the ongoing process of institutionalising democracy while initiatives will be taken to make Parliament more effective.
“At the same time, efforts will continue to strengthen the National Human Rights Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, media and judiciary,” she said.
“If we’re voted to power, we’ll undertake and implement programmes aimed at turning villages into townships. The facilities of towns will reach the villages. In the next five years, electricity will be provided to every house. All the villages of the country will be connected with upazila/zila through pucca roads,” said Hasina.
“If we come to power, we’ll create employment opportunities for 1.28 crore people in the next five years. Employment opportunities for 1,000 youths from each upazila will be created outside the country,” she added.
Alongside ensuring universal human rights, any attempt to trample the human rights will be prevented while efforts to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the National Human Rights Commission will continue, she said.
Hasina said work on building a modern, technology-based, skilled, corruption-free patriot mass-oriented administration will continue, and transparency, accountability, fairness and service of the administration will be ensured.
The AL chief said the campaign against militancy, drugs and corruption will continue.
“We’ll take a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. Apart from strengthening the Anti-Corruption Commission, public awareness programme against the menace will be strengthened. Besides, steps will be taken to bring corruption to zero level utilising ICT.”
The highest priority will be given to uprooting terrorism, extortion and land-grabbing, she said.
About the decentralisation of power, Hasina said UP, upazila and zila parishads, pourasava and city corporations have been strengthened through decentralisation of power and the process will further be strengthened. “If we come to power, more financial and administrative authorities will be decentralised to local government bodies. The government’s assistance and efforts will continue to widen and improve civic amenities.”
She vowed to increase the GDP growth to 10 percent in the next five years while the per capita income of the people of Bangladesh will be over US$ 5,479 in 2030.
Hasina also said the scope for education of children in a better environment will be ensured where potable water and improved sanitation will be ensured. Infrastructures for healthy entertainment and sports will be built.
“For employment, mills and factories will be built at zila/upazila levels. Internet and modern technologies will be spread all over the country,” the AL chief said.
About the utilisation of youths in making prosperity for the country, she said Bangladesh Awami League is committed to building an organised, disciplined and production-oriented youth force.
Hasina said an integrated database for less educated, medium educated and higher educated youths will be prepared at the national level.
“We’re providing up to Tk 2 lakh collateral-free loan through Karmasangsthan Bank to increase entrepreneurship and self-employment. In the future, the facilities will be widened.”
For ensuring a healthy entertainment for youths, she said, an entertainment centre will be built at each upazila and a youth sports complex at each district.
She also promised to reduce child marriage to near zero.
Mentioning that 4.92 crore people are now getting various financial assistance under the social safety net programme, Hasina said, “In the next five years, the number will be doubled and the amount of assistance will also be increased. The poverty rate will be decreased to 12.3 percent and that of extreme poverty to 5 percent.”
She also said the regular income for at least one member of a family will be ensured.
“A modern industrial city will be built on the banks of the Padma River, while an IT park will be established in each divisional city employing a huge number of youths in the next five years,” the AL president said.
She said all the basic rights of workers will be protected and a four-month maternity leave with full salary for female workers will be materialised. “A rationing system for all workers, hardcore poor and rural landless farm labourers will be introduced.”
Hasina said the highest budget allocation will be ensured for the education sector and all-out steps will be taken for improving the standard of education.
She said under one-year children and citizens over 65 years will get free health services.
The ruling party chief said bullet train services between Dhaka and divisional cities will be introduced. In the next five years, a 10,000km waterway will be brought under dredging.
The four rivers around Dhaka will be re-excavated and a new international airport will be set up while the existing domestic and international airports will be modernised.
A tunnel will be constructed under the Jamuna River to ease communication with northern region, she said. “If we’re voted to power, we’ll introduce 5G mobile network service by 2021-23. The price of internet and mobile usage will be reduced to a reasonable level.”
To face the climate change impacts, Hasina announced to increase the size of the productive forest from 13.14 percent in 2015 to 20 percent.
“Special steps will be taken to preserve the memories of the Liberation War throughout the country, prevent the distortion of history and protect the genuine one,“ said the AL chief.
She said Bangladesh will be built with a non-communal spirit. “There’ll be no law against Quraan and Sunnah.”
“All kinds of laws and systems that are discriminatory towards ethnic minorities and ethnic groups will be scrapped,” Hasina said.
She also said the news media which are loyal to social commitments will be promoted from the government side. “Investigative journalism will be inspired and necessary training for journalists will be ensured. The security of journalists and media staff will be ensured for their professional duties. Media-friendly acts will be formulated. There’ll be no misuse of any law against journalists and mass media.”
About the Delta Plan 2100, she mentioned that the government has taken the 100-year plan to face the challenges of climate change to achieve the desired development of the country. “This plan will be helpful to attain the status of the middle-income country by 2030 and a developed one by 2041. The Delta Plan 2100 will create bondage among short- mid- and long-term planning.”
Hasina said Awami League does not believe in words but in deeds. “The commitment of this time, we will ensure sustainable investment and inclusive development.”
She mentioned that it is clear as daylight that the people of Bangladesh get something when Awami League government runs the country. Opportunities and potential of livelihoods and welfare of general people are created.
“To err is human. There may be mistakes from my part or my colleagues while discharging duties. I, on behalf of my own and the party, would like to request the country’s people to forgive the mistakes,” she said.
Hasina appealed to the country’s people to cast their votes in favour of Awami League and ensure its victory on December 30.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, convener of the manifesto preparing committee and Awami League presidium member Dr Abdur Razzak also spoke on the occasion.
Barishal, Dec 17 (UNB) – At least 30 people including journalists were injured in separate attacks allegedly carried out by ruling party men on groups of canvassers for BNP in Barishal and Savar.
The motorcade of BNP candidate for Barishal – 2 (Banaripara-Ujirpur) constituency was attacked at Daberkul in the upazila of Ujirpur.
Abdul Majed Talukdar, chief election convener of BNP Sardar Sharfuddin Ahmed Santu, alleged that ruling party men swooped on them while they were on their way to attend a meeting at Borakata union. The attack that left ‘dozens’ of their workers injured occurred at noon.
The attackers were heard chanting slogans associated with AL during the attack, Talukder said.
Meanwhile, AL candidate Shahe Alam not only denied the allegations against his men of carrying out the attack, rather he came up with some allegations of his own against the BNP men.
Officer- in-Charge of Ujirpur Model Police Station Shoshir Kumar Pal denied any knowledge any such incident.
In Savar, 10 members of BNP were injured as local AL supporters attacked them during the campaign at Hijla area of Aminbazar around 11:30 am.
Witnesses said the the initial attack contributed to a clash between the groups while a chase counter chase took place between them.
During the agitation three motorcycles and four cars belonging to BNP supporters were vandalised.
In-charge of Aminbazar Police outpost Jamal Hossain said they arrested four BNP supporters from the spot “to control the situation.”