Prime Minister’s Political Adviser and Awami League Advisory Council Member HT Imam today gave paramount importance to political tolerance, urging all political parties to adhere to political forbearance for making democracy more functional.
“Without political tolerance, democracy cannot be flourished,” he told a round-table discussion on “Advancing Youth Leadership and Participation in Peaceful Elections” at a Gulshan hotel here.
AL Presidium Member Dr Md Abdur Razzak, AL Organizing Secretary Barrister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel, Mohila Awami League Vice-President Waseqa Ayesha Khan, BNP Standing Committee Members Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan and its Assistant International Affairs Secretary Barrister Rumin Farhana, USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski, Democracy International Chief of Party Katie Croake, among others, joined the discussion.
HT Imam urged BNP not to carry out violence on general masses again in the name of “boycotting or resisting polls”.
“Before the previous election BNP opted for not joining election. Later, the party came up with the threat that they would resist the election. Accordingly, they unleashed arson attack and violence on common people in the name of resisting election,” he said.
The prime minister’s adviser said holding the next general election will not depend only on what the government will do rather on how all political parties cooperate to hold a peaceful election.
“Let us hold a peaceful and fair election with the cooperation of all (stakeholders),” he said. About the participation of youths in the party, the AL advisory council member said his party always promotes youth leadership and that is why young leaders were brought to the party’s central working committee.
“We always promote youth leadership. The age-limit for Bangladesh Chhatra League (the ruling AL students’ wing), has been fixed at 29 to promote youth leadership,” he said. He said the Election Commission will hold the election but only the commission cannot guarantee a fair election.
“According to the constitution, election-time government will act as the interim government. The responsibility of the interim government is very limited excepting routine works,” he said.
He said election-time government will have to extend all-out support to the election commission for holding a peaceful, credible and participatory election.
AL leader Dr Abdur Razzak said the government is committed to help the Election Commission to hold the next election free, fair and non-controversial.
“Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sincerely said she would like to see the next election an inclusive one . . . it should be free and fair so that nobody can raise any question regarding the next election. The government is committed to do that,” he said.
About the BNP’s allegation that under the existing system, election cannot be free and fair, the AL leader said in every country in the world, election is held under the incumbent government.
“Our constitution has given enough power to the Election Commission. It is the basic responsibility of all the executives to assist the Election Commission. It is constitutional bindings,” Razzak said.
He the Election Commission must have strength and firmness to hold a free, fair and credible polls. Otherwise, it would tantamount to failure as a nation, he observed.
Addressing the function, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan called for holding a credible and participatory national election. “Credibility is the most important element of election. Unless the election is credible, it won’t be peaceful and participatory,” he added.