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BNP’s state reform outline add caretaker govt, upper house parliament

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has announced its 27-point of Structural Reform of the State, proposing radical changes to the state system including balancing the executive powers of the president, prime minister and the Cabinet, and introduction of the upper house of legislature.

BNP Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain read out the outline while speaking at a press briefing at a Dhaka hotel on Monday.

The outline of the ‘Structural Reform of the State’ has been prepared in line with the late president and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s 19 points and BNP’s ‘Vision-2030’ declared by its chairperson Khaleda Zia.

It has been said in the beginning of the outline that people of the state, which was achieved through a bloody Liberation War with the dream of establishing democracy, equality, human dignity and social justice, are deprived of their ownership.

“The current authoritarian government has destroyed the state structure of the country. This state needs to be reformed,” said the outline.

A government of national unity will be formed by all political parties, who will take part in the movement to oust the fascist government, after securing victory through free, fair, credible and participatory general election, it added.

Twenty-seven points of BNP’s Structural Reform of the State are as follows:

1. A ‘Constitutional Reform Commission’ will be set up to repeal/amend all illogical, controversial and undemocratic constitutional amendments and changes adopted by the Awami League government.

2. An inclusive ‘Rainbow-Nation’ will be established on the basis of Bangladeshi nationalism, as opposed to the politics of vengeance. A ‘National Reconciliation Commission’ will be formed in this regard.

3. An ‘Election time Non-party Caretaker Government’ system will be introduced.

4. The executive power of the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers will be balanced.

5. No one can serve as President and Prime Minister for more than two consecutive terms.

6. An ‘Upper House of the Legislature’ will be introduced to run the state with expertise.

7. Amendment of Article 70 of the Constitution will be examined to ensure freedom of speech for members of Parliament.

8. The existing ‘Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Appointment Act, 2022’ will be amended.

9. All constitutional, statutory and public institutions will be reconstituted.

10. Effective independence of judiciary will be ensured. A ‘Judicial Commission’ will be constituted to reform the present system.

11. Administration will be restructured by constituting an ‘Administrative Reforms Commission’.

12. A ‘Media Commission’ will be constituted for the overall reform of the media.

13. There will be no compromise on corruption. A white paper will be published on investigating money laundering and corruption will be published. Ombudsman will be appointed as per the constitution.

14. Rule of law will be established at all levels. Human rights will be implemented according to the Universal Human Rights Charter.

15. An ‘Economic Reforms Commission’ will be constituted comprising experts.

16. Based on the principle of ‘Religion belongs to respective individual, state belongs to all,’ every individual citizen will enjoy the right to perform respective religious activities.

17. Fair wages will be ensured to working people in keeping with inflation.

18. All black laws, including Indemnity Act in the power, energy and mineral sector, will be repealed.

19. Bangladesh’s national interest will be given the highest priority in case of foreign relations.

20. The Armed Forces will be appropriately developed imbibed with the supreme spirit of patriotism for safeguarding the sovereignty of the country.

21. A list of the martyrs of the Liberation War will be prepared under state initiative.

22. Local government institutions will be made more independent, stronger and empowered with a view for greater decentralization of power.

23. Modern and time-befitting youth development policies will be formulated by incorporating the vision, thoughts and aspirations of the youth.

24. Specific programmes will be adopted to ensure the empowerment of women.

25. Need-based and knowledge-based education will be given priority.

26. Based on the principle of ‘health for all,’ universal health care will be introduced in line with ‘NHS’ in the United Kingdom.

27. Fair price of agricultural produce will be ensured.