OF THE UNFULFILLED JOINT DECLARATION
Joint declaration on the outline of 15-party, 7-party and 5-party alliances for removal of the autocratic Ershad government, holding elections to a sovereign Parliament and establishing a representative government through elections supervised by a non-party, neutral interim government.
Top: Then acting president Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed with arch rivals Khaleda Zia, left, and Sheikh Hasina, right, on December 7, 1990, following the fall of HM Ershad. Bottom: (from left)…BNP chief Khaleda Zia speaks to a policeman assigned to arrest her on November 11, 1988, at Hotel Purbani in the capital. Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina, under house arrest, is seen on the balcony of her home on June 30, 1987.
People from all classes and professions have joined a heroic struggle in the on-going mass movement demanding the removal of Ershad government, establishing a permanent democratic system and restoring the spirit and values of the Liberation War.
At different stages of the struggle people have been sacrificing their lives, enduring jail terms, repression and defying fear of death for establishing a genuine representative system of governance.
The main goal of the struggle of the people is to bring an end to changes of power through unconstitutional means, such as murder and coups, and to ensure transfer of power through free and neutral election organised in a constitutional manner.
But Ershad, who captured power illegally through unconstitutional means, has been continuing with his attempts to hang on to power indefinitely through arranging farcical polls. Every election held under this government was marred by vote theft, fraud, capturing polling centres, snatching ballot boxes, vote dacoity and media coup. It also announced fictitious polls results in voter-absent elections. In such a situation no free and neutral election is possible under this government.
We, the 15-party, 7-party and 5-party alliances, will not participate in any national election under Ershad and his illegal government — be it presidential or parliamentary polls. Such elections will not only be boycotted; they will also be resisted. We, the 15, 7 and 5 party alliances will only participate in elections to a sovereign parliament under a non-party neutral caretaker government.
Against this backdrop and reflecting the aspirations of the people, we are unitedly making the following specific declaration on the main demands and goals of the on-going movement.
1. For establishing full democracy and a democratic system of governance in line with the spirit of independence and the War of Liberation by freeing the country from the clutches of the autocratic Ershad regime and the rule of his government established through killing, coups and conspiracies:
a) Ershad and his government will be compelled to resign as per article (ka) 3 of clause 51, article (ka) 1 of clause 55 and article 3 of clause 51 of the Constitution maintaining the constitutional continuity. A non-partisan and neutral person acceptable to the three alliances that are continuing anti-autocracy and anti-communalism movement will be appointed as vice president.
The present government and parliament will be annulled, the President will resign by handing over power to a new vice president.
b) An interim caretaker government will be established, led by the acting president, whose main responsibility will be to ensure holding a free and neutral election to a sovereign Jatiya Sangsad within three months.
2. a) The head of the caretaker government will be non-partisan and neutral, which means he will not be a direct or indirect follower of any political party or be involved with any party. He will not run for president, vice president and parliament membership. No minister of his caretaker government will participate in the election.
b) The interim government will conduct only routine activities of the administration and reorganize the Election Commission (EC) and reshuffle the activities and responsibilities of the EC aimed at holding free and neutral polls.
c) Voters’ trust has to be restored and it has to be ensured that they can exercise their franchise independently without any influence and according to their will and conscience.
d) All state media, including radio and television, have to be made completely independent and autonomous to keep the mass media completely neutral. Unhindered opportunities for all contesting political parties in publicity in the state media have to be ensured.
3. The interim caretaker government will hand over power to the sovereign parliament elected through a free and neutral election. The government will have to be accountable to the parliament.
4. a) Constitutional rule based on the recognition of the people’s sovereignty will be absolute and unequivocal. Any attempt to capture power through any unconstitutional way will be resisted. An elected government cannot be removed on any excuse in unconstitutional and extra-constitutional way without election.
b) People’s fundamental rights will be protected, independence and neutrality of the judiciary and rule of law will be ensured.
c) All laws contrary to fundamental rights will be annulled.
Circulated by 15, 7 and 5-party alliances.