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EC allays fear of polls under martial law PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission is studying the past instances of holding national elections under martial law regimes or state of emergency so that the EC could answer if such issues were raised by any quarters.

'We are not propagating or recommending the idea of holding elections under a state of emergency… There will be different types of people when we will call on the chief adviser [to discuss issues relating to elections and the emergency]… We need to know the background so that we can handle any kind of question regarding the instances [of holding elections under martial law or a state of emergency],' the chief election commissioner, ATM Shamsul Huda, told a press conference at the EC conference room on Monday.

Asked why the issue of martial law should crop up, he said it had been reported to him that this particular issue was being discussed in the media. He was reported that parliamentary elections in 1970, 1979 and 1986 were held under martial law. The CEC termed the 1970 elections as the 'finest ever' [in the country's history].

When it was pointed out that those [elections under martial law] were bad instances and asked if the polls this time too would be held under martial law, the CEC promptly replied, 'No, no, that is not going to happen.'

The CEC started talking about the issue when reporters asked him how long before the elections should the state of emergency be lifted.

'We have not yet made any decision what strategy we will adopt [about the state of emergency]', he said.

The CEC hailed the communications adviser Ghulam Quader's remarks that the state of emergency would not be there even for an hour when it was not required.

'The government is our assisting force… It's entirely a political decision what is to do with the state of emergency. What we can, we can pinch it (the government)… I asked to lift the ban on politics fully, but the government didn't,' he said

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