Vol. 5 Num 904 Tue. December 12, 2006  
Front Page

No scope for work
Reason 4 advisers

Advisers, who yesterday submitted resignation, said they decided to quit as the present circumstances do not allow them to perform their responsibility for creating a congenial atmosphere to hold a free and fair election.

They expressed utter dissatisfaction over the president and chief adviser's unilateral decision that they termed 'responsible' for failure to implement the 'package proposal' formulated to end the political impasse.

Akbar Ali Khan, Sultana Kamal, Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury and CM Shafi Sami gave their reactions to the press separately after sending resignation letters to the president.

"There was no scope to contribute in the caretaker government to create a congenial atmosphere for holding a free and fair election under the present circumstances and for this we have resigned," Akbar Ali Khan told The Daily Star over phone yesterday evening.

Besides the disagreement with the president over army deployment and obstacles in implementing the package proposal, there are other issues, he said, adding, "Since taking oath we have tried to resolve those."

Akbar Ali Khan said he was invited for tea at Bangabhaban at 3:00pm yesterday. "I did not attend the tea party and I don't know whether the other advisers went there," he said.

Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury said the ongoing crisis has been complicated after the army deployment that was done through the president's decision amid 'strong opposition of all members of the advisory council'.

"It seems to me that I could not assist in holding a free and fair election and for this I have resigned," he told The Daily Star over phone. Asked about the caretaker government's package proposal, he said the proposals were taken unanimously by the council of advisers and there is no scope of incorrect explanation about the package proposals.

"After I took oath as an adviser, I decided that when I feel I can't perform my duty properly, I would resign -- and I did so," Sultana Kamal said at a press briefing at the office of Ain-O-Salish Kendra where she is the executive director.

"I felt that I could not contribute to holding a free and fair election. We have not been able to create an election-friendly atmosphere in which people can exercise their right of franchise freely," she said.

"Although we prepared the package proposal, we could not implement it."

Pointing to the army deployment and president's address to the nation on Sunday night, she said, "The president clearly indicated that we the civil administration have failed to perform that forced him to call army. In such a situation, I don't think it is wise to continue holding my post."

The army should not have been called out without an utmost necessity, she said.

Asked about the president's address to the nation where he said the issue of army deployment was discussed with the advisers, Sultana Kamal said, "Yes, it is true that the issue was discussed. But, I can say it firmly that all the 10 members of the advisory council unanimously told the president that its not necessary to deploy army at the moment."

Asked what if the president does not accept their resignation, she said, "In that case, if the president wants to talk to us, we will clarify our position."

Opposing the idea that the ongoing crisis will deepen after the four advisers' resignation, she said, "Someone will come to fill in my position."

Asked whether she will change her mind and return to the position of adviser, Sulatan Kamal said, "It needs an objective assessment. It depends on whether there is any necessity of me in that position and I will have to be convinced that I will be able to perform my duties properly."

About BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan's call to the advisers to return to their positions, she said, "Yes, we can return to our positions, but that does not ensure that we will be able to perform our responsibilities properly. I can't return only to hold the post."

"Those who govern the country should have some special qualities like profound knowledge, prudence, tolerance and liberal mentality," she said, adding that the decisions are to be taken on the basis of democratic norms and rules.

"Right decision should be taken at right time and without any hesitation."

Asked whether the president was an obstacle to implementing the caretaker government's package proposal, she said, "It is our collective failure."

Expressing her discontent over dilly-dallying in taking necessary steps on various issues, she said, "Just after taking the charge we raised the issue of voter list as there was controversy over it. But when we took the decision to correct the voter list, 30 days had already passed."

"I have resigned since I could not make any contribution to creating a proper atmosphere for free and fair elections," adviser CM Shafi Sami told UNB.

Since the caretaker government was installed on October 29, the steps that were needed to create a congenial atmosphere for credible elections were not taken while the advisers' recommendations were not implemented.

Replying to a query, Sami said they had taken various initiatives to create a level playing field for holding a credible election, but those initiatives were frustrated.

He, however, denied any link between the deployment of army and his resignation.