Hasina submits 11-pt demand, siege postponed:
President assures all steps to ensure free, fair polls
Tuesday October 31 2006 09:37:56 AM BDT
By Shahididul Islam
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday informed President and Chief Adviser Prof Dr Iajuddin Ahmed that her party would submit the list of names by tomorrow candidates from its quota for appointment as Advisers of the Caretaker government.(The New Nation )
Sheikh Hasina called the President and had a 75 minutes meeting with him and handed over an 11-point demands and gave a four-day ‘ultimatum’ to the President to prove his neutrality as the Chief Adviser.
After the meeting with the President Prof Dr Iajuddin Ahmed, she declared postponement of the siege programme till November 3. She told the President that the 14-party alliance would announce tougher agitation programme from a grand rally at Paltan Maidan on November 3 if he fails to prove his neutrality.
Meanwhile, other political parties, particularly those who took part at parleys with the President on Saturday and Sunday, including the BNP, Jatiya Party (Ershad) and Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday submitted names from their respective quota for appointment as Advisers.
President’s Press Secretary Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury said this after Sheikh Hasina’s meeting with the President. He, however, declined to disclose those names.
However, a highly placed source in Jatiya Party (Ershad) said it has nominated former Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Atiqur Rahman, Gano Sasthyo Kendra Director Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and Mohammad Shahjahan, a businessman.
Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury said the President, during his meeting with the outgoing Leader of the Opposition, assured her that he would do everything possible to ensure the free and fairness of the next general elections.
President and Chief Adviser Prof Dr Iajuddin Ahmed also urged all the political parties to cooperate with his Non-Party Caretaker Government, he added.
He said Sheikh Hasina met the President along with a 9-member delegation of leaders of the AL and 14-party alliance.
He said the 11-point demands placed by Sheikh Hasina to the President included the reorganisation of the Election Commission by dropping Chief Election Commissioner Justice MA Aziz and Election Commissioner SM Zakaria, correction of voters’ list affixed with individual photographs, reorganisation of administration and police department by removing partisan officials, removal of the Attorney General, withdrawal of cases against AL activists, to make the media neutral, action against militancy and corrupt ministers and MPs and cancellation of all fire arms licences issued during the last two years.
Later, at a press conference, Sheikh Hasina said the President has positively responded to her stance.
She said, “The President will have to prove that he is a neutral person within four days through fulfilling our demands. And we will welcome him as the Chief Adviser of Caretaker Government if our demands are met.
She said the Chief Adviser of the Caretaker Government gave them an assurance of maintaining the neutrality of his twin offices for ensuring free, fair and credible polls.
“But if the Chief Adviser failed to fulfill our demands, we would launch a tougher movement to protect peoples’ right to vote,” she warned.
“We will declare tough agitation programme from a grand rally at Paltan Maidan on November 3 if our demands are not met,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said neither did they welcome the Chief Adviser nor reject him.
She said, “Our doubt on the Chief Adviser is logical as he is a party-selected President. He will now have to prove that he is neutral and nonpartisan.”
Urging the people to “get prepared to resist the caretaker government if any trick is smelt”, she congratulated the people for their participation in the siege and blockade programmes”.
Sheikh Hasina said during the meeting, the President asked for a list of advisers of the Caretaker Government. “In replay, I told him that after consultations we would inform him about the names.”
She was highly critical of the former BNP-Jamaat coalition government for what she said plundering national wealth and resources abusing official power.
She said if voted to power, she would take back this money and distribute it among the people, as it is people’s wealth.
The New Nation