Dhaka, Dec 2 (UNB) – The Appellate division of the Supreme Court on Sunday stayed a High Court order that had allowed a convicted person to contest in the upcoming national election.
The seven-member bench of the SC led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after hearing two petitions filed by the state and Anti-corruption Commission.
Now, convicted people will not be able to contest in the elections, said ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.
Earlier on Saturday, the Chamber Judge of the Supreme Court stayed the HC order and sent the petition to a regular bench.
On Thursday, the High Court stayed the conviction and sentence of BNP candidate from Jashore-2 constituency Sabira Sultana in a graft case, clearing the way for her to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Later, the state and ACC filed the petitions challenging the order on Saturday.
On July 12 last, the Special Judge Court-7 awarded six-year imprisonment to Sabira Sultana, former chairman of Jhikargachha upazila parishad, and fined her Tk 5,000 in the case filed for amassing wealth illegally.
Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNB) - Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday said BNP should submit a list to the Election Commission of the officials whom they want to be transferred ahead of the election.
"Now, the administration is under the Election Commission. Instead of making wholesale allegations, they should submit a list of the officials who they want to be transferred,” he said.
Quader was talking to reporters after a views-exchange meeting with the cultural personalities at a city hotel.
About Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hosssain’s call to people to guard the polling stations on the election day, he said, “If anyone resorts to violence in the name of guarding polling centres, not only our party men but also people will resist them."
Describing BNP as a leaderless party, the ruling party leader said, "We fear that their internal problems will be harmful to the election.”
About BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's allegation of wholesale arrest of opposition leaders and activists, Quader said, "Those unleashed violence in Nayapaltan must be punished. If BNP cooperates through providing the list of the culprits, no one will be arrested for political reasons."
Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday warned that the Jatiya Oikyafront will be forced to announce a greater action programme if the arrest of opposition leaders and activists is not stopped.
“We demand that the arrest (of opposition men) be stopped, the arrestees be released, and the false cases be withdrawn. Or else, the election won’t be acceptable to people,” he said.
The BNP leader further said, “We hope the arrest will be stopped after Dr Kamal Hossain’s this press conference. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to come up with a greater programme to ensure a proper election atmosphere.”
Jatiya Oikyafront arranged the press conference at the Jatiya Press Club about the arrest of opposition leaders and activists and the election atmosphere.
Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain also spoke at the press conference and demanded the government stop arresting opposition activists.
Fakhrul said they have joined the 11th parliamentary elections with goals to restore democracy, free their chairperson Khaleda Zia and other arrested leaders and establish people’s rights.
“Even after the announcement of the election schedule, our several hundred leaders and activists have been arrested illegally in fictitious cases. Our candidates and former MPs have also been arrested. A level-playing field won’t be created if it continues,” he observed.
Dr Kamal Hossain also voiced concern over the wholesale arrest of opposition leaders and activists saying it is contrary to proper election atmosphere.
He said over 700 opposition leaders and activists, including three candidates, were arrested after the announcement of the election schedule.
“The Chief Election Commissioner and the Prime Minister assured us that no one would be arrested. I demand that such arrest be stopped for ensuring a normal atmosphere and all the arrested, especially the candidates, be released.”
Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gano Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, executive president Subrata Chowdhury, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Oikya Prokriya’s Sulatan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and Dr Reza Kibria were, among others, present.
Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNB) - BNP on Saturday demanded that the Election Commission immediately stop the ‘wholesale’ arrest of its leaders and activists, release its arrested men and reshuffle the local administration.
“Police drives continue across the country…the wholesale arrest continues. Our leaders and activists can’t stay at their houses. But there’s no remedy,” BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed told reporters after a meeting between a BNP delegation and Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and his colleagues.
Moudud led the BNP team at the meeting that lasted for over two hours from 3pm at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
The BNP leader said their seven probable candidates have already been arrested and sent to jail. “It has become difficult to get bail of our leaders and activists from the lower court as it remains under the control of the government,” he added.
“We think there’s no minimum environment for holding a fair election in Bangladesh. This atmosphere is getting worse day by day. The Election Commission has failed to resist the government’s move to implement its blueprint,” said Moudud.
In a letter submitted to EC, BNP also demanded withdrawal of controversial officials of the Election Commission, Public Administration and Home ministries and the Police Headquarters as well as the field-level ones.
“The deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, deputy commissioners in metropolitan areas, who are staying for more than two years in their existing workplaces, must be withdrawn,” BNP told the EC.
Besides, all upazila nirbahi officers and officers-in-charge of police stations will have to be transferred, the party said.
About their demand for reshuffle in the administration, Moudud Ahmed said the existing civil administration and police administration are pre-set one by the government.
Deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers are respectively returning officers and assistant returning officers. “Although they belong to the mainstream bureaucracy, they play a very crucial role in the election. Similarly, SPs and OCs also play the important role in the election,” he added.
Moudud said all of them -- DCs, UNOs, SPs and OCs -- are working under the government. “A political government is in power now. All ministers and MPs can enjoy all privileges and use their power. So, it’ll in no way be possible to ensure a level-playing field in this circumstance,” he said.
He said the Commission could have stopped the wholesale arrest and reshuffled the administration to make the polls atmosphere effective.
“The election will finally be a farce. But we don’t want the polls to turn into a farce. It’s the last test for our nation. If we can’t overcome the test, we don’t think we’ll be able to restore democracy in Bangladesh,” he said.
Moudud said the Election Commission assured them of taking measures over their demands.
The BNP delegation members include its election steering committee chief Nazrul Islam Khan, standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, and BNP chairperson's adviser Abdul Awal Mintoo.
Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNB) - Mentioning that the casting of vote openly is illegal, Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam on Saturday instructed the election officials not to allow such practice during the upcoming national election.
“Someone may say I’ll cast my vote in public after you give him/her a ballot paper. Please don't allow anyone to do this,” he said while speaking at a training session arranged for the government officials, who will train the presiding officers, at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
The election commissioner told the attendees to convey his message to the presiding and assistant presiding officers while giving them training. “Don’t allow it as such act is illegal and may raise questions about the election process, too."
“Sometimes we see in media that some voters say their votes have already been cast although they didn’t exercise their franchise. If the officers perform their duty properly, it’ll not be possible for anyone to cast other’s vote," he said.
Mentioning that election duty means a duty for a day only, Rafiqul said, “We all will be questioned if the election is not held in a proper way. If you perform your duty properly, no one will be able raise any question.”
Giving assurance to the trainers that members of law enforcement agencies will always be engaged with the election process, he further said, "Please don’t get worried about your safety. From guard to army, everyone will be in the election process."
To maintain peace and the law and order, everyone should keep in contact constantly with law enforcement agencies, said the commissioner. "You’re real executors of the election. The Election Commission and the secretariat just make the election plan. Our honour is fully dependent on you as you’ll perform all the election duties,” he further said.