Friends and family members of Hussam Al Haddad, who died from wounds caused by shotgun pellets, shout anti-government slogans as they carry his body during his funeral procession in Muharraq, north of Manama, on Tuesday. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Bahrain’s justice minister said that he would resume meeting local political societies after Eid in a bid to promote the spirit of national reconciliation.

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa in Ramadan met several formations to receive their feedback on the developments in the country and their views on ways to promote reconciliation following months of tension.

“Self review and accountability by all concerned based on the objective and thorough reading of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) findings and recommendations is a fundamental duty and everyone’s national responsibility,” Shaikh Khalid said. “Everybody must be seriously committed to participate in promoting trust, reconciliation and understanding in political action.”

The BICI, a panel of international experts, was set up in June 2011 by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to look into the events that marked Bahrain in February and March.

In November, the commission issued a searing report that included a series of recommendations to ensure the incidents are not repeated. The government accepted the report and set out to implement the recommendations, enlisting assistance from international experts.

However, as the political and social tension remained, initiatives have been launched to help the country out of the crisis, the worst in its modern history.

Several political societies said that they wanted to take part in a national dialogue to ease Bahrain into a more reconciliatory mood, but set a series of preconditions that have hampered progress.

Shaikh Khalid’s meetings are part of a new initiative to promote dialogue.

“We urge all political societies to actively participate in the promotion of positive attitudes supportive of the evolution and advancement of political action,” Shaikh Khalid said. “The exchange of views by all constituents and segments of society through communication and joint meetings at the national level can significantly contribute to enhancing mutual confidence and understanding in political aspects, and enhance gains and advancement as well as building upon achievements realised through constitutional institutions.”

According to the minister, the principle of consensus remains the binding national benchmark, “as reflected in the king’s speech on the occasion of the last ten days of the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

“Dialogue and reconciliation are essential milestones for joint national action and national reconciliation will always provide the solid foundation for any change process in the public arena, transparently, and with everyone’s participation. Common understanding is the path to wisdom and strength while consensus is the sturdiest support and best guarantee to achieve solid, effective and continuous reforms,” he said.

Shaikh Khalid called for the stern rejection of violence at all times, stressing that “the sanctity of the country’s security and stability and the safety of citizens and residents must be respected all days and all months.”

“Violence and sabotage as means to impose political agendas are detrimental to reform and development. The message of violence intended to hold security hostage is contrary to all democratic principles and practices which must be founded on the respect of law and order and tolerance of the opinion of the other,” he said.

The minister in his statement stressed the “importance and role of balanced speech based on mutual respect, brotherly spirit and love, which form the fabric of this good people, conducive of the values of constructive difference, openness and listening to the opinion of the other without provocation, accusation of treason, and exclusion.”

According to Shaikh Khalid, all judiciary action taken in cases being tried by courts or currently under investigation is completely separate from the political path.

“All cases related to past events that are still being considered or new cases are criminal cases to be decided by courts alone. Due respect of the courts, their decisions and rulings consolidates justice and the rule of law, and protect freedoms and the rights of all parties,” he said.