Mon, May 19th, 2008 10:43 pm BdST

CA speaks of democracy at banquet with Aga Khan

Dhaka, May 19 ( - Chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed has said democracy is not just about elections, but also about ensuring people's right to choose their representatives without fear or intimidation.

"We believe that democracy is not just about elections and installing new governments at pre-determined intervals," said Fakhruddin at a state banquet in honour of visiting Prince Karim Aga Khan at Sonargaon Hotel Monday.

"It is also about empowering people and ensuring their right to choose their representatives without fear or intimidation."

"Democracy is also about the right to enjoy the fruits of economic growth and development," the chief advisor said.

He went on to stress the importance of establishing the rule of law, the need to eradicate corruption, improve law and order and increase the effectiveness of government and the judiciary.

"We are confident that a free, fair and credible election will be held as per the announced roadmap."

"We are also positive that our reform efforts will be sustainable," the CA said.

Prior to their banquet speeches, Fakhruddin and the Aga Khan released a postal stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of the Prince taking over the role of the Imam to the Shia Ismaili Muslim community.

Referring to a new Aga Khan Academy, which will be built in the capital, the Prince said: "This school will be part of a network of 18 high-quality schools located throughout the developing world."

"They will be global in outlook, but deeply rooted in local culture, providing a world class education for boys and girls of all backgrounds, independent of their ability to pay."

"It will educate promising students and develop inspiring teachers. It will be a strong educational resource for the entire country," said the Aga Khan.

The Prince will lay the foundation stone of the new academy, located in the Bashundhara residential area, on Tuesday.

There are around 20 million Ismaili Muslims in 25 countries in the world. Approximately 10,000 Ismaili Muslims live in Bangladesh.