Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  
Front Page

Hasina says Aziz picked to rig national polls
Rules out co-operation with new CEC

Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government has unilaterally appointed the new chief election commissioner (CEC) to clear the way for rigging the ballot in the coming general elections.

"Sensing defeat in the next general elections, the BNP and Jamaat-led alliance has politicised the appointment of the CEC," she said.

"The alliance government has totally ignored the opposition's demand for a dialogue to get an acceptable person in the crucial post," Hasina, also chief of the main opposition Awami League (AL), told reporters at the National Orthopaedics Hospital in Dhaka.

Hasina spoke to the journalists after visiting her injured party leaders there.

She ruled out the possibility of co-operating with the new CEC. "How can we co-operate with him (new CEC)?" She would not, however, comment on whether they would wage a fresh movement against new CEC MA Aziz.

On Monday, the AL formally rejected the new CEC's appointment, saying that the government has made the appointment unilaterally in a bid to politicise the Election Commission targeting the next general election.

She took a swipe at the government for not caring to take opinions of the opposition parties before making the appointment. The former prime minister said she sent at least two letters to the then leader of the opposition (Khaleda Zia) inviting her to a dialogue before the appointment of immediate past CEC MA Syed. "But there was no response (from Khaleda)," she added.

The opposition leader once again stressed the need for reforms to the caretaker government system and the Election Commission for the election to be credible.

She said the more the government is getting alienated from the people because of its misrule, the more it is increasing its persecution of the opposition.

"They are killing popular Awami League leaders across the country. They are carrying out their brutal oppression."

Hasina referred to the major grenade and bomb attacks in the country during the reign of the present government and said, "The perpetrators are not being nabbed because the government high-ups are involved in those heinous crimes."

Turning to the recent launch disasters, she said the government is doing nothing to save the victims. "Even the bodies are not being handed over to the families."

Hasina went to see Mohammad Wares Ali, general secretary of Meherpur district unit of Awami Krishak League, the peasants' unit of the AL, at the National Orthopaedics Hospital. Wares's mother and wife broke down in tears seeing Hasina at their side.

Assailants attacked and critically wounded Wares while he was returning home at Bidyadharpur from a party programme at Meherpur on May 18.

Hasina then visited Bhupesh Barua, a Raozan Chhatra League leader who is receiving treatment at the same hospital.

She then went to Mirpur National Heart Foundation to see Aminuzzaman, brother-in-law of her cousin Sheikh Shahidul Islam.