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     Volume 5 Issue 122 | December 1, 2006 |

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News Notes

Battling the President . . . Legallye
The controversy over President Prof. Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed's assumption of the role of Chief Adviser (CA) to the Caretaker Government (CG) has taken a legal turn. Three writ petitions were filed earlier this week against the president's assumption of the post, his manner of exercising executive power and the Election Commission's (EC) move to declare the election schedule before finalising the voter list.
Among the 11 petitioners are Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Workers' Party President Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haq Inu, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General MA Mannan and Jatiya Party (JP) presidium member GM Quader.
The petitioners alleged that the president's assumption of office is in violation of Article 58C of the Constitution, which lays out the composition of the non-party CG, the appointment of the CA and council of advisers. Following the president's assumption of the post, many legal experts had said that the provisions of sub-articles 3 to 5 had not been exhausted before the president moved to sub-article 6 and himself assumed office. In other words, there were still retired Chief Justices, retired judges of the Appellate Division and/or eminent citizens of the country available and eligible for the post.
Another petition alleged that the CA has repeatedly acted on his own, without consulting the council of advisers, undermining the collective responsibility of the CG to the president and thereby violating article 58B(3).
A third petition asked the court “to issue a rule on the EC to explain why it shall not be directed to take necessary steps to prepare and publish the draft electoral rolls and thereafter publish the final electoral rolls before declaring the election schedule for the forthcoming general elections”. The petitions were due to be heard by the High Court later in the week.

The petitioners with their counsel after filing of the writ petitions

The day after the petitions were filed, the EC declared the election schedule. According to this schedule, the general elections are due to be held on January 21, 2007. The 14-party coalition, however, has vowed to renew their movement and blockade if the schedule is not withdrawn by Saturday.

Senior civil servants hurriedly flock the secret party hosted by the former energy advisor, when the journalists started taking pictures

A Secret Rendezvous with Mahmud
Another political scandal kept the media busy last week when certain officials tried to hold a hush-hush party somewhere in Uttara. So what's wrong about some innocent partying? Well, the party was hosted by the former energy advisor Mahmudur Rahman, which several senior civil servants attended.
The print and the electronic media followed them around and struck when the iron was hot, catching the party red-handed. Many of the partying officials were seen running around hiding their faces frantically from the camera. Some advisers to the caretaker government (CG) were shocked and concerned over this secret rendezvous being held during such a crucial moment. Different political analysts saw the incident as a part of a possible attempt to election engineering.
According to the Establishment Secretary AFM Solaiman, only offenders hide their faces the way these partying bureaucrats did, scampering away as soon as the reporters came into sight. He further said that steps will definitely be taken if those officials were found talking about legal measures.
At least two government officials have been recognised from the photographs published in newspapers. Photographs of seven officials that have already been published are of General Manager (Transport) of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Zakir Hossain Kamal, DCC Secretary Mojibur Rahman, Cabinet Division Joint Secretary Abdus Sabur, Director Of National Nutrition Project Abdul Bari, Director General Of Disaster Management Bureau AKM Jahangir, former secretary Shahidul Alam, and Savar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Salahuddin Nagri.

A Mess Called Iraq
The month of November has been the bloodiest month in Iraq since the war supposedly ended in 2003. More than 1300 people have lost their lives, in numerous suicide bombings and attacks around the country. But there are serious doubts over the actual number killed. Most reports say that many of the killings are not recorded. Victims in those cases are quickly buried according to Muslim custom and never reach morgues or hospitals to be counted. Aside from the usual suspects there was a far darker side to the killings, almost everyday police have removed scores of mutilated bodies in and around Baghdad. These gruesome killings with evidence of torture take place everyday, and are dumped in public places, to create alarm amongst the people. In a delayed response to the widespread violence curfew was called in Baghdad. Iraqi president Jalal Talabani even had to postpone his much awaited trip to Iran to meet president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for talks on Iraq's security situation., because Baghdad's airport was closed during the curfew. This is a tricky time in Iraq, with America mulling over the idea of a staggered pullout of troops from Iraq. But essentially the point is after creating the mess; they seemingly don't have an answer to the problem. Iraq is fast becoming the next Vietnam; some would say it already is.

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