Bangladesh ministers nod to key charter amendment

THE Bangladesh cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the constitution amendment bill after a hectic round of discussions.

The move, which came at a regular cabinet meeting, clears the way for placing the much-talked-about bill before the parliament to pass a law on it.

Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed placed the bill, prepared mainly basing on the recommendations of the parliamentary special committee on charter amendment, before the cabinet.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting held at Bangladesh Secretariat.

Sources said the key issues featuring in the bill are scrapping the provision of caretaker government system, maintaining “Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim” in the preamble to the constitution and recognising Islam as state religion.

Keeping the provision of religion-based political parties is another key recommendation, the sources added.

With scrapping the CG system, the bill proposes dissolving posts of chief adviser and advisers as are now in the constitution.

“The cabinet is against keeping any such words in the constitution,” a minister told our correspondent who covered the meeting.

During the discussion, the premier explained the background or having the CG provision in the constitution and the reality after the Supreme Court’s declaring it illegal, said another cabinet minister.

“She said the idea of scrapping the caretaker government system came after massive discussion with representative from cross sections of citizens,” the minister quoted the PM to be saying.

While secularism remains a key issue in the constitution, the draft bill advocates for identifying the citizens of the country as ‘Bangladeshi’ and the nation as ‘Bangalee’.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Abul Kalam Azad, the prime minister press secretary, said the cabinet also approved the draft of the Money Laundering Prevention Act-2011.


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