Vol. 5 Num 934 Sun. January 14, 2007  
Front Page

5 advisers sworn in

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday appointed five advisers to the reconstituted non-party caretaker government (CG).

The advisers are Barrister Mainul Hosein, Major Gen (retd) MA Matin, Geeti Ara Safiya Chowdhury, Dr Mirza Azizul Islam and Tapan Chowdhury.

The president administered the oath of the advisers at a ceremony at the Bangabhaban last night, a day after Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, was appointed chief adviser (CA) to the caretaker government.

The first meeting of the seemingly half-reconstituted council of advisers will be held today at 11:30am at the Chief Adviserís office at Tejgaon.

Asked when five other advisers would be appointed to complete the reconstitution, Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumdar told reporters at Bangabhaban that it was not clear. However, he cited article 58C (1) of the constitution that says the non-party caretaker government shall consist of the chief adviser at its head and "not more than ten other advisers."

President Iajuddin Ahmed stepped down from the chief adviser's post on January 11 and all his advisers resigned, in a changed political situation following the promulgation of a state of emergency in the country amid political squabbles over polls.

President Iajuddin Ahmed took over the charge of CA to the caretaker government as the country's two major political alliances had failed to reach a consensus on a candidate for the post.

Newly appointed Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed joined office yesterday, a day after he took oath as the chief adviser, BSS reports.

He was welcomed at his office by the senior officials of the office as he arrived there around 12:55pm.

Principal Secretary to the CA Ali Imam Majumder, Secretary in-charge Kazi M Aminul Islam, Director General of Special Security Forces (SSF) Major Gen Syed Fatmy Ahmed Roomy and Military Secretary to the CA Brigadier Gen ANM Wazed Thakur received the chief adviser.

The chief adviser later placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum in Savar.

He stood there in solemn silence for some time to pay homage to the martyrs of the War of Liberation.

A smart contingent comprised of army, navy and air force presented guard of honour.

Chiefs of three services and general officer commanding (GOC) of the Savar Cantonment received the chief adviser on the premises of the National Mausoleum on his arrival.

Later, Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed signed in the visitor's book.

Newly appointed Adviser to the Caretaker Government Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam last night said proper running of the ministries and collectively holding a free and fair election are their two main challenges.

"We've two challenges -- proper running of the ministries concerned and collectively holding a free and fair election -- before us right now," he told UNB in his initial reaction after taking oath.

When asked to comment on how the new caretaker government would move to hold the elections, he said, "It's too early to say before the formation of the full council of advisers and its meeting."

Newly appointed Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein said their prime task is to arrange the polls as soon as possible so that all parties feel assured of participating in a fair and transparent election.

After being inducted into a reconstituted caretaker government, he said they would have to deal with some urgent issues like preparing a flawless voter list and voter ID cards, and some constitutional issues.

He observed that the most difficult task might be to make sure that each voter gets an ID card within the shortest possible time. However, He did not comment on transparent ballot boxes.

Asked if they would need six months or more to complete the tasks, Hosein said, "I will not put any timeframe."

Asked whether they need to send reference to the Supreme Court since the election could not be held within the stipulated 90-day time, the adviser said the Election Commission had already said that they cannot organise the elections within the stipulated time.

"We've to sort out this constitutional issue. Maybe, we will take help of the Supreme Court," he said.

FROM LEFT... Geeti Ara Safiya Chowdhury, Tapan Chowdhury, Major Gen (retd) MA Matin, Dr Mirza Azizul Islam and Barrister Mainul Hosein being sworn in as advisers to the caretaker government at the Bangabhaban last night. PHOTO: PID