Bangladesh Constitution to Retain 'Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim'

Dhaka, Jul 23 (IANS): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the phrase "Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim" would not be excluded from the constitution that will be reviewed by a parliamentary committee formed last Wednesday.

She did not elaborate during her address in parliament Thursday. This would mean that 'secularism' will not be restored as one of the basic tenets of the 1972 constitution, political observers said.

On continuation of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamist party and other religion-based political parties, the premier said her government "has no intention to ban politics of any party", The Daily Star newspaper said.

The government would not "allow anyone do politics using religion as a tool", said Hasina, who heads the government of the predominantly Muslim majority nation that was declared an Islamic Republic by a past military-led government.

The constitution, enacted after Bangladesh became independent in 1971 on separation from Pakistan, had four basic tenets: nationalism, democracy, secularism and socialism.

Socialism was dropped and secularism was replaced by Islamic republic.

The parliamentary committee has no representation from the opposition, as main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had declined to name a lawmaker for the 15-member committee.

Sajeda Chowdhury, deputy leader of the house, said: "The door is still open. If they nominate a lawmaker, he will be included in the committee."




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Title: Bangladesh Constitution to Retain 'Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim'

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