Concerned citizens for unity to establish democracy

Dhaka – Voicing grave concern over the ongoing political crisis, civil society members at a dialogue here on Friday stressed the need for an immediate initiative by senior citizens to make the ‘silent  majority’ vocal to establish real democracy in the country.They said the nation would run into a great trouble if the political parties fail to find a fruitful solution to the dispute over the next parliamentary elections.
The Concerned Citizens, a new platform of civil society members, orgainsed the dialogue on current political crisis, titled ‘Nation Demands Peace’ at Cirdap Auditorium, in the afternoon.
Moderated by former caretaker government adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, the discussion, was addressed, among others, by Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, former attorney general Hasan Arif and constitution expert Dr Shahdheen Malik, former president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Asif Ibrahim and president of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Mahbubur Rahman.
Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed regretted that the country earned only the name of democracy in 1991 after a long struggle against the military ruler. “But, now I think, the situation has turned worse than what was during military regimes. We’re now living in a state ruled by ‘autocratic democracy’,” he said.
Prof Sayeed said such ‘autocratic democracy’ started ruling the nation of 160 million people since 1991, and both the major parties — Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party—resorted to autocratic measures during their respective regimes.
“So, we need to launch a united fight against this and forging such a unity is not easy,” he said.
Asif Ibrahim said the businessmen are the worst affected of the political volatility despite their key role in bolstering the country’s economic growth.
“The most unfortunate thing is that politics controls the economy here,” he said.
Mahbubur Rahman expressed his concern over the current political situation and blamed the major political parties for not practicing real democracy in the country.
The platform placed a four-point demand at the dialogue to hold a free and fair election
The demands are immediate end to all destructive political programmes; postponing the election schedule, ensuring a level-playing field through reconstitution of the poll-time government, and initiating a constitutional reform. – UNB