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     Volume 6 Issue 25 | June 29, 2007 |

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News Notes

BNP Proposes Reform
BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan revealed a 15-point reform policy at a press briefing on Monday. The proposal for reform aims to curtail the authority of the party's current and future chairpersons. Party joint secretary Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, read out current chairperson Khaleda Zia's statement in support of the new policy proposed by Bhuiyan, claiming that the national council should take the required measures after examining the proposal.
According to the proposal the chairperson of the party will be elected for three years, rather than the current total of two years. He or she will not be able to hold the post of chairperson for more than two terms (or six years). This clause is applicable to chairpersons who have already held the post for over two terms, such as Khaleda Zia who has reigned as chairperson for about 23 years. Also, if a person has served as the chairperson for two terms, he or she will not be eligible for the position of party chief or prime minister in the succeeding term. If and when the party chief assumes the position of prime minister or a cabinet minister, he or she will have to resign their post as party chief. The prime minister will also have to discuss policy-making issues with the party chief and the standing committee in running the government and parliament. The party chief will be unable to execute the authorities given to him by the relevant clauses of the party's constitution without the approval of the national standing committee. The party chief will also be stripped of the authority to amend the party constitution in the case of an emergency. Members of the parliamentary party will elect their leader, deputy leader, etc without having to consult the chairperson of the party. He or she will no longer have the authority to “discipline” anyone at will, but rather will take the matter to be approved by the standing committee of the party. In addition, the proposal stresses that inclusion of family members and close friends of party leaders will be deterred. The party chairperson will also be unable to nominate members of different committees which include the national standing committee, the national executive committee, the national council and the council of advisers of the chairperson. The proposal also states that all ministers, lawmakers, party standing committee members, executive committee members and thana committee members will also have to submit wealth statements to the national executive committee. The proposal also aims to ensure transparency and a regular audit of party funds by ensuring that all donations at every level will be collected by receipt and requiring that all the organisations units will prepare budgets and auto credit-debit, along with following the instruction of the national standing committee with regards to fund raising.
Interestingly enough, Bhuiyan did not mention any reforms or limits on the tenure of the secretary general, a post which he has been holding for over10 years. Former BNP vice chairman Mir Shawkat Ali describes this reform policy as an “unconstitutional act” claiming that the secretary general has no right to propose a reform policy. However, earlier in the day, Bhuiyan held a meeting with senior leaders and lawmakers.

With No One to Talk To
There is no doubt that university students have to go through an enormous amount of stress during their academic life. The amount of strain they have to deal with from family, peers and ever-increasing educational competition makes students go through phases of helplessness, which are not always easy to deal with by themselves. Most students have friends and family, but even then they should have someone professional to help them to get through the very sensitive times. Then perhaps incidents like the one that took place in the Dhaka University Rokeya Hall last week could have been avoided.
Zohra Khan Progya, a student of the law department of the DU committed suicide by hanging herself in a bathroom at Begum Rokeya Hall on June 25, 2007. She was a resident of room No. 13 of the new building of the hall and was found hanging with a scarf from a pipe in the toilet. Shahbagh police recovered the body at around 8:00am after breaking open the toilet door which was bolted from inside and sent it to Dhaka Medical College morgue.
Many of the fellow residents said that she was quiet and unassuming. She returned to the dormitory from her home the day before she died and appeared normal, they said.
According to the hall authorities Progya was the daughter of Nazimuddin Khan, a madrasa teacher, and came from Azmatpur village in Kaliganj, Gazipur. Progya had a brilliant academic background with CGPA 5 in both SSC and HSC examinations, hall authorities said. She stood fourth in DU Gha unit admission test.
This is the second such incident in the Rokeya Hall in one year. Khadiza Khatun, a third year student of English department, committed suicide the same way on July 28, 2006.

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