BNP terms search committee ‘controversial’

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Dhaka : Bangladesh nationalist (BNP) on Friday alleged that the search committee formed by the President for constituting the new Election Commission (EC) is not neutral as five out of its six members are controversial.

‘The inclusion of those loyal to Awami family and those awarded by the government for helping fulfill its desires in the search committee not only has made it controversial, but also set another undemocratic example of ignoring public opinion’, said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, reports UNB.

He came up with the remarks while giving their party’s formal reaction to the search panel at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.

‘There’s no scope to consider the search committee impartial and neutral as it has been formed with such members of such nature’, Fakhrul observed.

The BNP leader also claimed that forming a neutral Election Commission is not possible by the search committee.

‘We think it’s only absurd to expect that impartial, honest, competent and brave persons will be made the next Commission chief and members by such a search committee.’

He also urged the country’s people to remain aware of the government’s plot to influence the next election and get united to force it to hold a neutral election.

‘We strongly condemn and protest the government’s autocratic attitude towards forming the search panel.’

Earlier on Wednesday, President Abdul Hamid formed a six-member search committee headed by Appellate Division’s Justice Syed Mahmud Hassan for proposing the names for constituting the next EC as the tenure of the current one will expire in February next.

The other members of the search panel include Justice Obaidul Hassan, Public Service Commission Chairman Muhammed Sadique, Dhaka University Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam, Chittagong University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Shireen Akhter, and Comptroller Auditor General Masud Ahmed.

Asked whether their party is turning down the search committee, the BNP secretary general said it is not a matter now to accept or reject the search panel.

‘This question can arise once the Election Commission is formed.’

About the search committee chief, Fakhrul said Justice Syed Mahmud Hassan was the chief of the search committee formed by late President Zillur Rahman in 2012 which proposed the names for constituting an incompetent, subservient, spineless and controversial commission like the Rakibuddin-led one.

‘Making that committee chief as head of the new screech committee means the government wants to form another loyal and worthless commission like the Rakibuddin-led one.’

He also questioned the neutrality of Justice Obaidul Hassan saying he was a former central leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League and known as a pro-Awami League lawyer.

The BNP leader also said the Justice Obaidul’s father was one of the leaders of Awami League and his brother is now working as the Prime Minister’s personal secretary.

He also criticised the inclusion of Public Service Commission Chairman Muhammed Sadique in the search panel saying he was the EC secretary during the controversial national election on January-5, 2014.

‘He has been made the PSC chairman after his retirement on political consideration as a reward for legalising the election full of irregularities.’

Fakhrul said it is usual that Sadique will try to fulfill the government’s desires as he is grateful to it and known as a pro-Awami League bureaucrat.

He also claimed that search panel’s woman member Shireen Akhter is not an impartial person as she was elected a member of Chittagong University Teacher’s Association as a pro-Awami teacher.

‘Her father late Afsar Kamal Chowdhury was the founder president of Cox’s Bazar district unit Awami League while she herself was the leader of Cox’s Bazar Mohila Awami League. So, she in no way can be considered as a neutral person,’ he said.

About another search panel member Comptroller and Auditor General Masud Ahmed, the BNP secretary general said as a public servant he will not be able to do anything against the will of a political government.

‘It means he is not any obstacle to fulfil the government’s desire.’

He, however, did not make any comment against Dhaka University Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam.

Fakhrul alleged that the rational proposals of their chairperson Khaleda Zia and other parties to the President during the month-long talks with him over formation of the next EC were ignored in forming the search panel.

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