May 25, 2013 | 09:39 AM (BD Time)
25 May, 2013 Saturday
Evolving an interim set up for fair national polls
Dr. Mustafizur Rahman :
In Bangladesh Care Taker Government system(CGS) was born out of mistrust among political parties. It was once termed as "innovative" and welcomed by the people. Party in power was not comfortable with it because of its apprehension of loss of advantage of influencing election someway or other. Despite a few acceptably peaceful general elections under the CGS, the incumbent administration, with about three-fourth majority in the parliament, made radical amendments to the very constitution abolishing CGS with arguments against conduct of national election under a non-elected ad hoc administration. The prolonged CG backed by army at the end of the 8th parliament is also a point in such argument.
As distrust is not yet diminished, rather aggravated, non-ruling party and the general people do not seem to be convinced that an election under party government in power will be fair for now even if the Election Commission is strengthened. The abolished CGS had also some weaknesses as to its formation with retired justice. This may be improved and given an institutional shape coupled with a National Security Council (NSC) which is itself a vital institution for the nation to avert crisis. We can establish the Council as follows :-
National Security Council (or Advisory Council on National Security) may be composed of :-
The President - (Chairman)
The Prime Minister - (Vice-chairman)
Chief of Intelligence (ex-officio)
Minister of Foreign Affairs (ex-officio)
Minister of planning (ex-officio)
Minister of Finance (ex-officio)
Minister of Defense (ex-officio)
Secretary General (to be selected or elected by and from amongst the following non-ex-officio members by three-fourth majority, for appointment by the President) :-
3 qualified Nominees, one each of the Chiefs of Armed Forces, Air Forces and Naval Forces.
1 - Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert (with knowledge of development strategy, technology, R&D, industry, infrastructure, economic and social development, education, and the like.)
1- Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert (with knowledge of natural resource, minerals, energy, international trade, fiscal and monetary system, inward and outward FDI)
1- Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert - (with deeper knowledge of abstruse principles of society, public administration, Business administration, management, transport , infrastructure, construction, city and urban planning, etc.)
1- Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert (who is abreast of global information, media affairs, legal matters, social justice)
2- Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert (who can contribute to any aspect of national security) nominated by members of ruling party MPs. If there is no such nominee, the president shall appoint one of his choice.
2- Multi-disciplinary and scholarly expert (who can contribute to any aspect of national security) nominated by members of opposition in the parliament. If there is no nominee of the opposition, the president shall appoint one of his choice.
The members must have strong patriotism and determination to protect the interest of the nation and the people. All non-ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president of his own as prescribed, subject to approval by the Parliament. In case the Parliament rejects any member, the president may send the list or another list which will automatically be approved within 7 days.
National Security Council (NSC) meetings can be attended by concerned Ministers, three service chiefs, heads of intelligence service, the attorney General, the comptroller & Accountant general and other persons or officials when so needed or invited.
Individuals appointed by the President to the Advisory Council are selected for their patriotism, integrity, expertise, creativity, knowledge of abstruse principle of state policies and experience on such diverse matters as intelligence, law, economic & technology-based industrial development policy, human rights and civil liberties, emergency planning and management, public health emergencies, public safety, transportation security, border security and international security, international relation and or any aspect of national security to safeguard people' s right and sovereignty.
The members of the National Security Council other than the Prime Minister, Ministers and ex-officio members shall be persons who at the time of appointment -
(a) are qualified for election as a member of Parliament;
(b) are not members of any political party or of any organization associated with or affiliated to any political party;
(c) are not, and have agreed in writing not to be, candidates for the ensuing election of members of Parliament;
(d) have not acquired any foreign citizenship or divested his own.
(e) have not been in any public service within last three years; and
(f) are not over seventy-eight years of age.
Any member of the National Security Council shall vacate his seat if -
(a) he resigns his position by writing under his hand addressed to the Chairman and handed over to the Secretary General, and in his absence, to the Chairman.
(b) his nomination is withdrawn by the authority nominated him, with three month's advance notice and nominated another person in his place.
(c) his term of three years' service expires.
(d) he looses his qualification as a member or dies or is not available for physical reason.
The term of office of a member of the Council is three years, but one member can serve a maximum of two terms if so appointed.
The function of the Council may be conducted when no less than two-thirds of the total members are present in any particular meeting.
The President shall take necessary steps to fill in any permanent vacancy arising in the Council, within not more than fifteen days of occurrence of such vacancy, unless the Parliament (Sangshad) is already dissolved.
The National Security Council may advise the President on any matters of national importance and the President may seek its advice on any matters.
The President on his own, or on the request of at least three other members, may advise the Secretary General to serve notice of any regular or special meeting of the Council.
The meeting or its subject of discussion may either be confidential or public as may be decided by the President in each case, but all orders issued by it must be made public.
The National Security Council, in consultation with President, by its Order may appoint any reasonable number of advisors, consultants, permanent or ad hoc committees of members selected mainly from persons qualified to be its members to offer it expert advice on important national issues. The state shall bear their expenses.
The President shall fix the remuneration, privilege and other entitlements of the members of the National Security Council and the committees or the advisors appointed by it, provided that the remuneration and privilege of any member of the National Security Council shall not be less than that of a Minister, and the remuneration of any council adviser or Consultant or Committee members, not less than any vice-Minister or deputy Minister or as may be decided at the time of appointment.
The main duty of the National Security Council shall be to find ways and means to manage to avert national crisis arising out of collapse in law and order, non-cooperation, emergency or danger to national economy, social life or national security, and advise the president to take measures to advise t
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