President Iajuddin Ahmed appealed Monday to the people and political parties to root out extremism and fanaticism from Bangladesh's soil and build a welfare state by institutionalising democracy, as the nation passes through a trying time, report agencies.
In his address to the House at the first sitting of parliament in the New Year the President also urged the lawmakers for constructive, effective and active participation in the process of establishing democracy rising above jealousy, malice, and petty personal and party interests.
"Divisions among ourselves pave way for the enemies to cause harm to the nation and people," he said, adding: " it is possible to resolve any national problem on the basis of consensus through mutual trust and understanding."
President Ahmed, who made his last formal address to the present parliament that completes its five-year tenure in October, urged the people to exercise their franchise in parliamentary elections ahead and thus help nourish democracy.
"This is the expectation of us all that in the light of democratic manners and customs and in the light of the great Constitution established by your cooperation, the people of Bangladesh exercising their franchise, would enrich the history of nourishing democracy in Bangladesh."
As the President delivered his speech from the podium of parliament, main opposition Awami League stayed away holding a public rally at Paltan Maidan demanding fair elections under a reformed caretaker government and Election
Commission as part of their street agitation.
"There may be differences in our thoughts, system of work and strategies, but in the matters of national interest and patriotism there must be profound unity amongst us," he told the House.
The President noted that the struggle for institutionalizing democracy has not yet come to an end. "It is the responsibility of all to rear this democracy we earned. For this a consensus of the whole nation irrespective of parties or opinions is needed."
Ahmed in his 35-page written speech, started after Magreb prayers, dedicated much of his time to fighting out terrorism, consolidating democracy, accountability of public administration, easy access to justice, economic development and foreign relations.
Terming terrorism "a great problem" for democratic and constitutional rule, he said such terrorism equally hinders stability of the state, public security and advancement of development activities while the image of the country stands questioned in the international arena.
" So, it is needed to resist unitedly any wrongful attempt of making the nation unstable through terrorism and anarchism," he said, reminding that Bangladesh is a "liberal democratic" country. "Irrespective of religion and caste, amity and the bond of friendship exist unimpaired here."
The President warned that any vile endeavour for creating anarchism through terrorism, violent political activities and bomb explosion cannot be accepted.
Continuing he said the government have taken firm steps for suppressing the designers of indisciplined activities and bomb-terrorism for the sake of the country, and maintaining peace in all communities to protect the religious values.
"Noble intention and earnest cooperation of all are need of the hour for maintaining unhampered peace and discipline in the country by subduing the bomb-terrorists," he pointed out.