Vol. 5 Num 714 Thu. June 01, 2006  
Front Page

Saifur takes 3 days to decide on resignation
Skips vital JSC meeting; Osman Farruk goes to his residence to clear the air

Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman, who is adamant to resign from the cabinet in the wake of prevailing volatile situation in Sylhet BNP, said yesterday he will come up with a decision after three days.

"I will make my position clear after three days," Saifur told reporters after a meeting with World Bank Country Representative in Bangladesh Christine Wallich at his secretariat office.

He remained absent from a vital meeting of the Jatiya Sangsad Commission (JSC) yesterday forcing the meeting to be postponed.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Osman Farruk met Saifur at the latter's residence last night and explained his position over the news published in different dailies on Wednesday about his becoming the next finance minister and having been called to Hawa Bhaban in this regard.

The absence of Saifur and other officials of the finance ministry from the JSC meeting irked the ruling party lawmakers who were waiting at the meeting venue, sources said.

State Minister for Finance Shah Muhammad Abul Hossain was scheduled to attend the meeting on behalf of the finance minister but he also did not turn up. Sources said Saifur asked Abul Hossain to attend another meeting of the ministry.

A ruling BNP lawmaker and JSC member in presence of senior lawmakers blasted the finance minister for his absence without any prior notice.

The lawmaker alleged that the finance minister wants to keep pressure on the prime minister over the discord with lawmaker Ilyas Ali. Saifur has already threatened to resign if the party does not sack Ilyas. Now, the finance minister did now allow the state minister and the secretary of the finance ministry to attend the meeting, sources quoted the lawmaker as saying.

"The finance minister has set a bad precedent for the parliament. If he cannot attend the commission's meeting, he should have informed that earlier," he told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.

Saifur's absence from the JSC meeting has further fuelled the ongoing speculation over his resignation from the cabinet.

Acting Chairman of JSC Akhter Hamid Siddique, also deputy speaker of parliament, postponed the meeting after waiting for half an hour but did not fix any date for it.

According to the Jatiya Sangsad Secretariat Law 1994, the speaker is the chairman of the commission. But in his absence, the deputy speaker is the acting chairman of the commission.

Apart from approving the budget for the next fiscal, yesterday's meeting was also tasked with finalising creation of over 200 posts for security guards, private secretaries to chairmen of the parliamentary standing committees, committee officers, record suppliers, operators, drivers and others.

Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina, who is also a JSC member, did not send her representative to attend the meeting.

Agriculture Minister MK Anwar, Adviser to the PM Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, Chief Whip Khondoker Delwar Hossain and lawmaker Joynal Abedin Farukh came to attend the meeting.