Vol. 5 Num 903 Mon. December 11, 2006  
Front Page

Iajuddin's 'doing alone' policy enrages advisers
They meet him today for clarification, may take drastic decision if CA continues to act unilaterally

Seething with frustration over President/Chief Adviser (CA) Iajuddin Ahmed's unilateral moves including the latest order for army deployment, some advisers might soon take radical decisions unless the caretaker government head changes his "go-alone attitude".

A number of advisers already communicated with the president yesterday and had appointment set for today. They plan to clarify their positions on different issues as they feel the CA had not duly consulted them before taking a number of major decisions, said sources.

"We are discussing what can be done in the wake of the prevailing situation. You might come to know of our decision by tomorrow," Adviser Sultana Kamal told reporters, replying to a query about their next course of action.

Finance Adviser Dr Akbar Ali Khan said, "We are still trying to deliver. We will step down when we will find ourselves too stuck to contribute anymore."

Asked whether he might resign following the latest developments, Adviser Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury said,"I will take that sort of decision only if I'm told to do so by my own principles and conscience."

He told reporters that none of them [advisers] think that the current situation in the country calls for army deployment. The deployment without consultation with them has in fact become a "prestige issue" for them, he added.

Asked whether he will step down, Mashhud said it will not take long to know. "You can check by the evening if I am continuing or not," he added.

Adviser CM Shafi Sami, who on Saturday night said the deadlock would be resolved by Sunday, termed the deployment unwarranted.

He said they will cease staying with the government the moment they will feel they cannot contribute to holding of a free and fair election anymore.

Some of the advisers, who felt aggrieved at the president's unilateral decision to call out the military, yesterday discussed the latest situation.

Five advisers---Dr Akbar Ali Khan, CM Shafi Sami, Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, Mahbubul Alam, and Sultana Kamal--met at an adviser's office at around noon. Later, except Mahbubul Alam they sat again at another adviser's office at the secretariat.

Meanwhile, the CA yesterday did not call any advisory council's meeting to carry forward the negotiations over the package proposals including the all-important one for recasting the Election Commission (EC).

The efforts to end the current political crisis reached a stalemate due to the president's objection to the sending of Election Commissioner SM Zakaria on leave as proposed by the advisers.

The discussions among the advisers to implement the package proposals virtually fizzled out on Saturday when the president decided on his own account to deploy the armed forces, ignoring strong objections from the advisory council.

The advisers had initiated elaborate measures to settle the lingering political dispute last week. After a series of meetings among themselves and with the two major political alliances, the council headed by Iajuddin Ahmed on Monday came up with a package of proposals.

The proposals include reconstitution of the EC by sending Election Commissioners Zakaria and Modabbir Hossain Chowdhury on leave and appointing new election commissioners, transfer of secretaries, rescheduling of the election and correction of the errors on the updated voter list.

The proposals had rekindled hope for an amicable resolution of the dispute. But suddenly, things began to change for the worse, as the president on Wednesday emerged adamantly opposed to the steps to make Zakaria take time off work.

Apparently in sync with the BNP-led four-party alliance, he stuck to his stance forcing the advisers to look for alternatives.

Then on Saturday night, he informed the advisers of his order for the army deployment.

Since the caretaker government's assumption of office, the president had decided twice to deploy forces but retreated in the face of opposition from the advisers.

After Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) MA Aziz took a leave of absence, the president had appointed two election commissioners--Modabbir and Saiful Alam--again without consulting the advisers.

He also made the EC announce an election schedule hurriedly on November 27, keeping the advisory council in the dark.

Besides, the CA on November 22 addressed the nation without discussion with the advisers who described the speech as the president's very own. Upset by the president's unilateral action, some advisers refrained from attending office the following day.