Vol. 5 Num 876 Tue. November 14, 2006  
Front Page

Mokhlesur now an adviser with state minister's rank

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday appointed his controversial Press Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman Chowdhury as an adviser with the rank and status of a state minister.

Mokhlesur was politically appointed to the president's press secretary post during the immediate past BNP regime.

A handout from the Cabinet Division last night disclosed the appointment without saying which portfolio he received.

The appointment, however, raised confusion and legal questions, as the caretaker government already has 11 advisers with the president as its chief.

"The president has no jurisdiction to appoint more than 10 advisers," said Barrister Tanjib ul Alam, "A clear violation of the constitution," he added.

Awami League (AL) Publicity Secretary Asaduzzaman Noor said they would lodge a protest against the appointment.

"He is appointed with ill intentions," said Noor, adding that Mokhlesur was appointed politically by the BNP regime.

Political parties have been demanding the cancellation of all political appointments, Noor said. BNP gave the appointment to Mokhlesur in the office of the president to have access to information about the council's decisions and other state related matters, he added.

Meanwhile, several advisers to the caretaker government expressed their annoyance at Mokhlesur's attending the meeting of the advisers' council, a violation of the rule, as he is the press secretary to the president, sources said.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) recently accused Mokhlesur for despatching information by attending the council meetings.

Amid the criticisms and controversies, the president, however, in his speech to the secretaries last Thursday defended his officials saying, "Any criticism against his personal officials will be considered as interference with state affairs."

Sources said Mokhlesur joined as the president's press secretary on December 4, 2004, while former prime minister's political secretary, who hails from the same district Mokhlesur comes from, had a role in him being appointed.

He was former diplomatic correspondent of Dainik Dinkal, known as the mouthpiece of BNP. BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's son, publishes the daily.

He served in several dailies earlier like daily Ajker Kagoj, Naba Abhijan other small newspapers.

He was also the president of Dhaka-based journalists of foreign media, Overseas Correspondents' Association of Bangladesh (OCAB).