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February 21, 2001 Volume 2 Number 150

The Daily Ittefaq


The City Publishers

Virtual Bangladesh

  Head Lines

  • PM distributes Ekushey Padak
  • Picture
  • HC rejects writ challenging trial
  • Picture
  • Donors suggest reform of poll tribunals
  • Picture
  • 33 US Peace Corps trainees arrive
  • Memo to British HC by 50 cos
  • Govt denies plan to form Sharia Board
  • 9 HC judges appointed
  • Bangla Academy fails to announce 'Literary Award-2000'
  • 11 personalities get Ekushey Padak
  • Official Secret Act to be reviewed

    PM distributes Ekushey Padak

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon the people to take renewed pledge to build up a respected nation by establishing the dignity of the mother tongue as the spirit of the great Ekushey was the pioneer of the nation, reports BSS.

    "Let the spirit of Ekushey work as pioneer of the nation in future like it did in the Liberation War, Forge a greater unity to lead the nation towards progress and prosperity and hold our head high as a self-respected nation," Hasina said this while she gave the call to the people.

    She was addressing a function marking the handing over of Ekushey Padak 2000 to the recipients at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

    She also urged them to remain alert about the on-going conspiracy against language, culture and tradition. She said the nation could achieve greater successes if it could work together with the spirit of the historic Language Movement.

    A total of 15 personalities got the award for their contributions in their respective fields. For the first time five language martyrs-Shaheed Abul Barkat, Shaheed Abdul Jabbar, Shaheed Abdus Salam, Shaheed Rafiquddin Ahmed and Shaheed Shafiur Rahman-received the award for their supreme sacrifices. The award carries a gold medal, a citation and a cheque for taka 40 thousand.

    She said the history of the Bengalee nation is full of sacrifices. She said the people of this soil first shed their bloods for protecting their mother tongue and then for earning country's independence. She said no sacrifices go in vain. She said the day is now being observed across the world as the International Mother Language Day.

    The Prime Minister said that her government would set up a Mother Language Research Center having facilities for research of all the world languages. She stressed the need for acquiring knowledge on one's own language for perfection.

    The Prime Minister congratulated the recipients for their feat and said they have guided our nation to progressive life with their sacrifices, talent and toil. She said they have enriched our thought and have been working for leading our nation to bright future.

    Minister, Members of Parliament, Litterateurs, diplomats, high civil and military officials attended the function.



    Students of Bulbul Lalitakala Academy rendering patriotic song to mark the Amar Ekushey at the National Press Club on Wednesday.:New Nation photo


    Bangabandhu murder
    HC rejects writ challenging trial

    The High Court on Tuesday rejected a writ petition challenging the Bangabandhu Murder Trial after two days of hearing, reports BSS.

    A High Court bench comprising Justice Shah Abu Naeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury rejected the case saying the petition was not maintainable since a bench of the court was now hearing the case involving the issues of the writ.

    "Considering the well settled principles that "Writ of Certiorari' can be issued on inferior (lower) courts, we find that an appeal being pending in another bench of High Court, this application is not maintainable," the judgement said.

    Wife of a condemned prisoner, former lieutenant colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed (artillery) filed the writ challenging the proceedings of Bangabandhu murder case saying the case was lodged before the scrapping of the Indemnity Act protecting the incident of August 15, 1975.

    The ruling on the writ said it was also "a principle of law that when a matter is ending in a normal court, the court (HC) in exercise of its writ jurisdiction will not issue rule."

    The bench, however, said the issue raised in the petition could be argued before the Appellate Division and since the issue involved the question of law, "the petitioner would not face any difficulty" in doing so.

    Defence lawyer Khan Saifur Rahman said that the Indemnity Ordinance was repealed on November 14 in 1996, but the case was lodged with Dhanmondi Thana on October 2, 1996.

    Dismissing the plea, the Attorney General Mahmudul Islam submitted that the petitioner had no "locus standi" to challenge the proceedings of Bangabandhu murder case because she is not the aggrieved party in the case.

    Moreover, even if the Indemnity Ordinance was in existence now, only those who had obtained certificate regarding their involvement with the incident can enjoy the benefit.

    He also argued that according to the now scrapped Indemnity Ordinance itself, only the issues involving the change of government could not be challenged. But the killing of other family members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman including his 10-year-old son Russel had nothing to do with the government change.



    Speakers at a seminar organised by the World Association of Press Council at a city hotel on Tuesday.:New Nation photo


    Donors suggest reform of poll tribunals

    Envoys of five top donor countries on Tuesday held a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner and proposed reform of the Election Tribunals through parliament for determining appeals against allegations regarding elections, reports BSS.

    They requested the Election Commission to ensure responsible use of electronic media during the time of election and felt the need of developing a model code of conduct for the political parties putting more responsibility on the party leaders for discipline of their candidates and agents.

    The envoys were US Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, Swedish Ambassador Anders Johnson, Canadian High Commissioner David Preston, Charge d'Affaires of Japan Kiokazu Ota, and Charge d'Affaires of European Delegation Gorge Volker Ketelsen.

    Welcoming the envoys, the CEC MA Syed expressed his determination to ensure a free, fair and transparent general election. He told the envoys that the Election Commission would invite impartial, neutral and reputed foreign and local observer groups to monitor the process of election.

    Mr Sayed pointed out that the EC has already proposed election related reforms like registration of political parties, minimising election expenditure and limiting the number of constituencies one candidate can contest.

    Election Commissioners Abidur Rahman and Saifur Rahman, and EC Secretary Md Anwar Hossain were present during the meeting.



    A four-member delegation led by Lord Mayor of Birmingham city of the United Kingdom, Ms Thersa Stewart made a courtesy call on Mayor of Dhaka City Mohammad Hanif at Nagar Bhaban in the city on Tuesday. The delegation includes Lynne Boland, Professor Stewart, Subhash Rajani and Adrenne Roberts. During the courtesy call, ward commissioners of Dhaka city, Chief Executive Officer of DCC, Secretary and high officials were present.


    33 US Peace Corps trainees arrive

    A group of 33 Peace Corps trainees, including 17 females, arrived in the city on Monday, reports UNB.

    The trainees of 20-61 age group will receive training for the next nine weeks to become Peace Corps volunteers, according to a USIS press release.

    They will study Bengali and Cross-cultural skills and practise English teaching at the National Academy for Primary Education in Mymensingh. During their training, they will live with the host families in Mymensingh.

    Upon completion of their training, they will spend two years working in training institutes across the country.

    This is the third group of Peace Corps Volunteers to arrive in the country. The first group arrived in November 1998 and departed in December 2000-January 2001.

    The second group arrived in February 2000. The United States and Bangladesh signed the agreement to establish a Peace Corps programme in 1978.

    Under the agreement, the volunteers work as English language teachers to enhance the English language skills of local teachers and staff.

    The Peace Corps in Bangladesh will soon be volunteers in most primary training institutes and vocational training schools of Youth Development Department and technical training colleges.


    Memo to British HC by 50 cos
    Staff Reporter

    Proprietors of nearly 50 local private enterprises on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the British High Commission in Dhaka.

    An official of the British High Commission received the memorandum from Sheikh Zakir Hossain, proprietor of Akhi Enterprise.

    The proprietors in the memorandum said that they were cheated by RE Parkers, Project Director of the Granger Systems Ltd. They stated that RE Parkers left Bangladesh without paying bill amounting to Taka 850 million to the Bangladeshi companies.

    Earlier in the morning, the owners of the enterprises, carrying banners marched towards the British High Commission. However, the processionists were intercepted by police.

    The proprietors demanded of the British High Commissioner to take necessary step to realise their bills amounting to Taka 850 million from Granger System Ltd a London-based British company.

    Expressing concern over the silent role of the British High Commission the entrepreneurs said "We have been suffering for long for our dues resulting huge in financial losses to our businesses".

    Despite repeated requests to the British company as well as the British High Commission in Bangladesh to look into the matter, nothing has so far been done in this regard, the proprietors alleged.

    Some 50 Bangladeshi Private Companies supplied and provided goods and services like Rent-A-Car, Car, Air-cooler, decorative furniture, Electric supply, T & T Telephone bill to the Granger System Ltd.


    Govt denies plan to form Sharia Board

    The Government on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of forming Sharia Board and said no such initiative is underway.

    Describing the recent statements and reports in a section of the press as "false and motivated," Minister of State for Religious Affairs Moulana Nurul Islam told BSS that the government had not taken any decision in this regard or contemplating in forming such a board in near future.

    Moulana Islam said Bangladesh is a democratic country being governed by a democratically elected government, and it will be governed by the laws duly passed by Parliament and all interpretations of laws including the Muslim family laws will be done by the constitutionally authorised court.

    He also said what the Government is thinking is to form a committee with leading Islamic scholars, so that it can take decisions, as and when required, on matters relating to moon sighting, hajj, zakat and other related matters.

    The issue of Sharia Board was first raised at the Olema Mashaekh rally held at Paltan Maidan on February 15. Various pro-liberation parties and organisations including eminent personalities across the country have strongly opposed the proposal saying as a democratic country Bangladesh must run by the laws of the land and all legal interpretations of the Muslim laws of 1961 should be done by the court, not by any board.

    They also called upon the people to stand firmly united against the Fatwabaz and anti-liberation fanatic forces who are out to bring the country back to medieval age.


    9 HC judges appointed

    Nine additional judges were appointed on Tuesday in the High Court Division of Bangladesh Supreme Court, a press release signed by HC Deputy Registrar, said in Dhaka on Tuesday night.

    The Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Mr. Justice Latifur Rahman, will administer the oath of office to the nine additional judges on February 22 at 10:30 AM in his chamber, the release said.

    The newly-appointed additional judges are: Mohammad Abdul Hye, Faruque Ahmed, Mohammad Marzi-ul-Huq, Mohammad Shamsul Huda, Altaf Hossain Khan, Mohammad Abdur Razzak, Syed Mahmud Hossain, Barrister Mohammad Iman Ali and Hasan Fayez Siddique.


    Bangla Academy fails to announce 'Literary Award-2000'
    Campus Reporter

    Bangla Academy authorities failed to announce the 'Literary Award-2000" yesterday (Tuesday), the scheduled date for announcing the award.

    Bangla Academy sources said, due to internal conflict of the Executive Council members of Bangla Academy, the authorities failed to announce the award.

    Meanwhile, a press release issued by Acting Director General of Bangla Academy Mr Mainul Hasan said, the decision for not announcing the award was taken recently at an Executive Council meeting of Bangla Academy.

    Meanwhile, some fifty nine new books arrived at the Boi Meta on Tuesday.


    11 personalities get Ekushey Padak

    The Government awarded 11 personalities and one organisation with the Ekushey Padak-2001 in recognition of their outstanding contribution in their respective fields, reports UNB.

    The 11 personalities are: Abdul Matin (Language Movement) Prof Rafiqul Islam and Shamoli Nasrin Chowdhury (Education), Mohadev Shaha, Zia Haider and Nirmalendu Goon (Literature), Golam Mustafa (Film), Ataur Rahman (Drama), Kabial Fani Barua (music), Abdul Karim Shah (folk song) and Binoy Bashi Jaladas (instrumental music).

    Besides, Mother Language Lovers of the World, a Canada-based organisation, was awarded the Ekushey Padak for its contribution to the declaration of 21st Feburary as International Mother Language Day.


    Official Secret Act to be reviewed

    The government is actively considering to review the ago-old Official Secrets Act 1923 considered as a barrier to free flow of information, reports UNB.

    Law Minister Abdul Matin Khasru gave the hint while addressing a seminar titled "Right to Freedom of Information with Reference to Official Secrets Act and Other Related Laws" at a city hotel on Tuesday.

    "Unfortunately, in our country many things are not allowed to know for this law," the Minister said adding that the law was enacted some 70 years back to protect the interests of the colonial government.

    The seminar was arranged as part of the 8th International Conference of the World Association of Press Councils.

    Describing the importance of free flow of information in election, the Law Minister said information is power and if the people are allowed to know what the government is doing they will be able to elect the right person. But "there is a nexus between freedom of information and good governance.."

    "Nothing should stand in the way to the right to information in the name of official secrets and the state affairs, except a few... for the sake of national security and public interests," Khasru said.


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