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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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Govt working to empower people

Says CA at banquet for Aga Khan

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed accompanies Prince Karim Aga Khan as he exchanges greetings with representatives of the Ismaili community in Bangladesh at Zia International Airport on his arrival on a 4-state day visit.Photo: STAR

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed last night said his government is working relentlessly and uncompromisingly to empower people and ensure their right to choose their representatives without fear or intimidation.

“We are in the final phase of achieving desired political aspiration. We are confident that a free, fair and credible election will be held as per the announced roadmap. We are also positive that our reforms and initiatives will be sustainable. To this end, the government will soon meet the representatives of political parties to discuss all relevant issues,” he told a state banquet.

The CA hosted the banquet in honour of Prince Karim Aga Khan, Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims, at Sonargaon Hotel.

“We are now passing through a critical period as we are looking to fulfil our promise for a meaningful and sustainable democracy. We believe that democracy is not just about elections and installing new governments at pre-determined intervals: It is also about empowering people and ensuring their rights - right to choose their representatives without fear or intimidation,” he told the function.

Prince Karim Aga Khan also addressed the banquet, attended by the entourage of the prince, advisers, noted personalities from different professions, diplomats and senior civil and military officials.

At the outset of the function, the CA flanked by Prince Aga Khan released four commemorative stamps and the first day cover, marking the golden jubilee of imamat of Price Karim Aga Khan.

Fakhruddin, whose government is carrying out comprehensive reforms in the interim period against the backdrop of the past political crisis, further noted that democracy is also about the right to enjoy the fruits of economic growth and development.

“To safeguard these rights, it is imperative to establish the rule of law, eradicate corruption, improve law and order and render the organs of government, including the judiciary, more effective and accountable,” he said, reminding that his government assumed office on January 12, 2007 against the backdrop of a looming political catastrophe.

According a warm welcome to Prince Karim Aga Khan, the CA recalled the prince- funded many projects for education, health and social welfare, saying that Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has addressed “many long-term and persistent challenges of our times - poverty, hunger, illiteracy, health and sanitation”.

In Bangladesh, he said, the Aga Khan Foundation has been in operation since 1980. It has been involved with projects across a broad spectrum of activities, encompassing health, education and rural development.

He hoped that the AKDN would be a lasting partner in the country's development efforts.

“There should be a greater emphasis on the sharing of our development experiences. Bangladesh is in a position to work with AKDN, especially in the areas of our common interest. Many of our success stories in the social sector are replicable,” he observed.

The CA mentioned that the prince's first visit to the country took place a half century ago and this visit was as yet another landmark event in the bilateral relations.

He said Karim Aga Khan is known for his laudable role in promoting social, economic and cultural development in Asia and Africa, contributing significantly towards improving the living conditions and opportunities of millions of poor around the world.

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