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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 261
November 11, 2006

This week's issue:
Star Law Analysis
Financial Market Regulation
Human Rights Monitor
Law Opinion
Rights Corner
Law Watch
Law Week
State Scan

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Law Week

Khaleda accuses CG advisers of conspiracy
Former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia blasted the council of advisers to the caretaker government for meeting without the chief adviser and accused them of conspiracy. In a warning to the interim government, she said, "Just cooperate with the Election Commission in holding the upcoming polls. You are not here to implement anyone's political agenda." "The advisers had a meeting without the chief adviser and it was very much unconstitutional. We don't know what they have discussed," she told a huge rally in front of the BNP central office at city's Nayapaltan. Pointing to the advisers' November 6 meeting at a state guesthouse in absence of President and Chief Adviser Iajuddin Ahmed, Khaleda asked, "What sort of plots they [advisers] have hatched at the meeting without the chief adviser?" Describing the present Election Commission (EC) as fully independent and neutral, she cautioned the caretaker government not to meddle with the commission's affairs. The top leader of the four-party alliance then asked the chief election commissioner (CEC) and the other election commissioners to arrange for the elections in consultation with the president. --The Daily Star, November 8.

Armed forces to cooperate in election
President, also Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government, Iajuddin Ahmed said he firmly believes that the armed forces will provide all out cooperation, on demand, to his government and the Election Commission (EC) in holding the upcoming general election maintaining the same level of professional skill, devotion and neutrality demonstrated by them in past elections. "As members of law enforcing agencies, neutral role of the armed forces is very important in the national election," Iajuddin said while addressing senior military officers at Senakunja in Dhaka Cantonment. He said the devotion, professional skill and neutrality of the members of the armed forces in providing all out cooperation to the EC in holding successful, fair and neutral elections in the past, have earned confidence of the people as well as of different foreign agencies. "The armed forces must be ready for the sake of the state and the people… I hope you'll jointly demonstrate your professionalism for maintaining democratic process and discharge your responsibilities by rising above all controversies," he said, according to a UNB report. About the unrest on the eve of transfer of power late last month, the president, who is also the commander-in-chief, said the armed forces were kept on alert for a while during the period to control the evolving situation if the necessity would arise and to prevent any kind of unwarranted chaos in the country. --The Daily Star, November 9.

CEC's claim untrue
Adviser Mashhud spills the beans

The denial of chief election commissioner (CEC) about an adviser's visit to his residence apparently proved false as caretaker government Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury emphatically said he visited the CEC's residence. On behalf of the council of advisers, Hasan Mashhud and the military secretary to the president met with the CEC, seeking his opinion whether he will resign if requested by the caretaker government to pave the way for reconstituting the Election Commission (EC). The adviser did not make the visit public. He, however, informed a meeting of the advisers' council of the CEC's negative response. But, talking to reporters, CEC MA Aziz denied that the council of advisers or any adviser requested or called him to resign. "How do you know that they [advisory council] made any requests to me for my resignation? If they did, I should know first," Aziz told reporters. "There were no discussions with the advisers about my resignation. Didn't you hear what the president said? He said there was no discussion regarding my resignation. "What Akbar Ali Khan adviser to the caretaker government] said about me was his personal opinion. Everyone has their own opinion as you and I also have," the CEC said. Two days after the CEC's denial, Hasan Mashhud said, "Both of us cannot be telling the truth." Asked who is telling the truth, Mashhud told reporters, "I am telling you, I visited his residence. I visited his residence along with the military secretary to the president to ask him whether he would be willing to step down. To which he said a definite 'no'. I had gone there after a consensus decision of advisers and being asked by the president and chief adviser." --The Daily Star, November 9.

Govt goes back to 'presidential form' Observes CA Prof Iajuddin
President and Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government Prof Iajuddin Ahmed reminded everyone that the present form of government has become a "presidential form of government". "I would like to remind everyone that the present form of government has become a presidential form of government after reposing the responsibility of caretaker government on the president," Iajuddin said at a meeting with secretaries to different ministries at the secretariat. "Everything is being conducted as per the Rules of Business and Allocation of Business. I appointed officials at the president's office according to my choice and they are discharging their duties with sincerity," the president said, adding, "The highest constitutional institution has to be kept above all debates." Iajuddin asked all top bureaucrats to extend cooperation to the Election Commission (EC) as per government instructions for holding a peaceful, free, fair and neutral election. "You have to discharge your duties by maintaining absolute neutrality and objectivity and staying above all fears, apprehensions and influence," he told the secretaries in the first meeting at the secretariat after taking office as the chief adviser. The secretaries demanded that the president cancel all contractual appointments and fill the posts with regular officers for holding the next election in a free and fair manner. --The Daily Star, November 10.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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