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EC regrets inviting Hafizuddin, time loss PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 September 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission regrets its past dealings with BNP, including invitation to M Hafizuddin Ahmed, the acting secretary general nominated by the pro-reform faction, the chief election commissioner has said .

ATM Shamsul Huda told reporters it had been a mistake to invite Hafizuddin, and a lot of time had been wasted because of the move.

"We're sorry to have brashly dealt with BNP of late. It was not warranted, nor did we gain anything from the stalemate. A lot of time has been wasted."

He made the remarks on Sunday over the EC's sending out invite to BNP for taking part in the ensuing round of dialogue after a discussion held Sunday at the National Press Club.

Media Initiative for Public Policy organised the colloquium titled 'Amending RPO and elections'.

In 2007, the EC sent out letter to Hafizuddin to take part in the first round of electoral dialogue. Chairperson Khaleda Zia-nominated secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain and his associates resented the EC's action and took the EC to court.

It sent invitations to both factions for the second round of talks but invited only Delwar for the third round in a bid to diffuse confuse and misunderstandings.

The third round of the electoral dialogue is due to begin on Sept 6.

About the registration of the political parties, the CEC said, "Well, we are not interfering with anyone taking part in the country's politics. We just would like to make it clear that the political parties willing to run the polls must register themselves with the EC, or they'll have to contest as independent candidates."

"The Election Commission has been effectively functioning without being dictated by anyone. We all are working to make the commission transparent and highly skilled—worthy enough for carrying out its mandates," he said.

He sought the cooperation of the politicos, professionals and the civil societies.

"We'll attain a respectable status among the global nations in another 5 to 10 years; things don't change overnight. We'd dipped down into the abyss, but we'll manage to pull ourselves up, though it'll be a pretty tough journey."

Awami League leader Amir Hossain Amu at the discussion urged the government to lift emergency and hold general elections first.

"We are not opposing the upazilla polls, we're only reiterating that the Jatiya Sangsad elections should be held first," he said.

He said he had doubts if polls would be held fairly with all the identified criminals being released from government custody.

BNP joint secretary general Nazrul Islam Khan said, "The Election Commission has taken too much on its plate, which may be difficult to implement."

He also demanded lifting of emergency as soon as possible.

The discussion was addressed, among others, by AL presidium member Suranjit Sengupta, JP acting chairperson Anisul Islam Mahmud, election monitoring organisation Brotee executive director Sharmin Murshed and Bangladesher Communist Party leader Mujahidul Islam Selim.

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