HC adjourns EC dialogue hearing
Thursday, 28 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

The High Court has adjourned the hearing until Monday on twin writ petitions that challenge the Election Commission's invitation to BNP's disputed secretary general Hafizuddin Ahmed for electoral reforms talks.

The HC bench of justices Mirza Hossain Haider and Mamunur Rahman heard the petitions Wednesday. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's chief counsel TH Khan told the court that the BNP standing committee had appointed its secretary general through a "coup on Oct 29 last year".

"The standing committee members present at the meeting were there because former finance minister M Saifur Rahman invited them," Khan said. "There were also two unidentified individuals at the meeting."

"The meeting that day failed to fulfil the quorum, even though the two outsiders forced the standing committee members to add their signatures," said Khan quoting the four defendants of the writ petitions also members of the standing committee.

They are Dr RA Goni, M Shamsul Islam, Chowdhury Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui and Khandaker Mahbub Uddin. The hearing was originally scheduled for Feb 12.

The EC originally invited Hafizuddin to dialogue, slated for Nov 22. On Nov 18 last year, the HC stayed the EC's letter of invitation to Hafizuddin after Khaleda filed a writ petition challenging the invite.

The court asked the EC, six members of the BNP standing committee, and Hafizuddin to explain why the invitation should not be declared illegal.

They were also asked by the court to clarify why Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the secretary general appointed by the BNP chairperson, should not be invited to the electoral reform talks. Former Chhatra Dal leader Nasiruddin Ahmed filed the second petition challenging the EC's invitation.

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