Kader Siddiqui asks EC to bar war criminals
Friday, 29 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

Krishak Sramik Janata League president Kader Siddiqui asked the Election Commission Thursday to directly disqualify acknowledged war criminals from elections instead of awaiting a court order.

"The Jamaat-e-Islami is recognised as a party formed by the anti liberation-war forces and war criminals. Why should they receive political recognition?"

Kader asked the EC in the second round of electoral reforms talks. "We are not saying that a religious person cannot enter politics, but war criminals and religion-based parties are not the same thing," he said.

Criticising Jamaat-e-Islami's choice of election symbol, he said: "In the Quran the scale is the symbol of justice and truth, as well as a religious symbol." Kader proposed the EC cancel its use as an election symbol.

He said the electoral reforms dialogue were 90 percent successful, but added that it would be a total failure if the commission could not hold a dialogue with BNP. He also said that the commission did not have the authority to decide which faction was valid, and that the EC could invite both factions.

Chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda replied: "The matter of holding talks with BNP is pending a court verdict." "We do not want to comment on it." "We don't want any party to split. We don't want to be involved in any party feud," Huda said. On the issue of disqualifying war criminals, the CEC said: "In our draft proposals we have already proposed that war criminals should be put on trial in court."

"No convicted candidate can contest in the elections." The party raised a number of proposals including lifting the state of emergency, allowing election posters at designated sites, allowing election campaigning from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm, relaxing registration conditions for parties, and not to delimit constituencies right now.

It also asked the EC to allow expatriates to run overseas party offices. A 10-member KSJL delegation was present at the dialogue, also attended by election commissioners M Sakhawat Hossain and Mohammad Sohul Hossain.

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