Vol. 5 Num 871 Thu. November 09, 2006  
Front Page

Bangabhaban's political recruit feeds BSS wrong news

The claim of a "Bangabhaban source" that there has not been any political appointment at Bangabhaban--as reported by different newspapers yesterday quoting a BSS release--is not true as the president's press secretary was appointed by the immediate past BNP-led alliance government on purely political grounds.

The state-run news agency BSS on Tuesday released the report quoting an unnamed Bangabhaban source.

When contacted, an official of the BSS management on condition of anonymity told The Daily Star that the item was released late at night from its Bangla Service when no senior person was present.

He said the person concerned at news desk did not even contact the competent official before releasing the item. "Today, when I inquired about the item I was confirmed that the item was fed by Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury himself."

Press Secretary to the President Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury was appointed by the BNP-led alliance government in 2004 on contract basis reportedly with the blessing of former political secretary to the PM Harris Chowdhury.

Before joining the Bangabhaban, Mukhles was the diplomatic correspondent of BNP's mouthpiece daily Dinkal. He worked in Dinkal for over a decade and had strong adherence to the BNP-Jamaat forum in journalists' community.

Before Dinkal, Mukhles worked for a brief period at Ajker Kagoj and for a long time at now defunct Dainik Potrika, a mouthpiece of Jatiya Party (JP) during HM Ershad's military rule. Mukhles also worked for pro-JP Naba Abhijan.

He held an important position at the Overseas Correspondents' Association, Bangladesh (Ocab) by claiming that he was the Dhaka correspondent of Sri Lankan daily The Island although it never had one.

According to the Ministry of Establishment, Mukhles was appointed the president's press secretary for one year in December 2004. The BNP government awarded him another two-year contract ahead of expiry of the first contract keeping in mind his being able to continue in the post during the caretaker government, officials said.

Talking to The Daily Star last night, Mukhles claimed that he is not a political appointee and that the president himself chose him for the post.

Asked if he is a cadre service officer, he said he was recruited when he was the president of Ocab, which, however, is a non-government professional body.

Different quarters recently raised demands for removal of all political appointees, including Mukhles. It is not wise for the president to keep a political appointee in a vital position at his office as he now also heads the caretaker government, they said.

There is a common allegation against Mukhles that he conveys all secret information, decisions of meetings, and activities of the caretaker government to senior BNP leaders time to time.