Statute changes needed to stop military takeover: Hasina
A 15-member parliamentary committee would review the 1972 Constitution.
Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called the move to amend the country`s Constitution "a historic responsibility" meant to prevent future seizure of power by the military.
The amendments to the 1972 Constitution are "necessary for upholding democracy, and for blocking the way for usurpation of state power through imposition of martial laws in future".
Boycotted by opposition parties, the Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) on Wednesday approved the formation of a 15-member parliamentary committee that would review the Constitution.
Bangladesh underwent radical political and constitutional changes during a 15-month phase of military strongmen led governments that began with the assassination in August 1975 of Hasina`s father and freedom movement leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The period also witnessed proclamations of martial law and a score of military coups.
"Changes made to the constitution altered the fundamental principles of state policy, destroyed the secular character of the constitution and allowed politics based on religion," The Daily Star said on Thursday.
The committee formation has been without consulting or informing the opposition parties to which the latter have taken exception.
"Are we expected to attend a marriage party," Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, a senior leader of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) asked.
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the country`s largest Islamist party that had opposed the country`s 1971 freedom movement, was also not consulted.
The government dropped an earlier move to keep one or more seats on the committee vacant for the opposition parties.
"The decision of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party to not send a representative to an all-party parliamentary committee to review the Constitution is unfortunate as well as unacceptable," New Age newspaper said in its editorial on Thursday.