BNP on Sunday alleged that the government has formed a ‘private’ Awami body in the name of a search committee.
“We previously said only those who wear the ‘Mujib Coat’ being inspired by the spirit of Awami Baksal would be there in the search committee…the newly formed search committee is the absolute reflection of that assumption,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also said, "I think it’s justified to call it an ‘Awami private committee, not a search committee. This committee and those who will be found out by them for the Election Commission are all the passengers of the same boat. They’re birds of a feather.”
The BNP leader also said all the names that would be proposed by the search committee would be members of the Awami family.
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Rizvi said the intended goal of the search committee will be finding out the tested and genuine Awami family members to hold another ‘stage-managed’ election as per a government blueprint.
On Saturday, a six-member search committee, led by Appellate Division Justice Obaidul Hassan, was formed to suggest the names of the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.
The other members of the committee are High Court Division Justice SM Kuddus Zaman, the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh Md Muslim Chowdhury, Chairman of the Public Service Commission Md Sohrab Hossain, former election commissioner Muhammad Sohul Hussain and noted writer Anwara Syed Haque.
The tenure of the incumbent Commission, led by CEC KM Nurul Huda, will expire on February 14.
Rizvi narrated how the search committee members have links with Awami League.
“Obaidul Hassan, the current head of the search committee, was a member of the previous two search committees and he belongs to a tested Awami League family. He was also an Awami League MP candidate. He was a big leader of the Baksal Chhatra League,” he said.
The BNP leader said Sohul Hussain, an expert in election engineering, has become a member of the search committee. “He bought the nomination form of Awami League in 2018 to be a candidate of the party in Sylhet-1 seat.”
He said another search committee member and High Court Division Justice SM Kuddus Zaman is the son of Rajbari’s late Awami League leader Hamiz Uddin Sheik. “His brother is an important leader of the local Awami League. Another member Prof Anwara Syed Haque is known as a blind Awami Leaguer. She is the wife of late poet Syed Shamsul Haque, a dedicated supporter of the Awami League. She served the Pakistan Air Force Medical Center throughout the war of independence. They’re experts in Hasina-style election engineering.”
Rizvi said neither the country’s people nor BNP has any interest in the search committee or in the Election Commission. “People believe that a fair election is not possible without a non-partisan and neutral government.”
He said a polls-time neutral government must be formed to hold the next general election in a credible manner. “Once the polls-time impartial government is formed, it will constitute a neutral Election Commission…people have turned down the Awami private committee in the name of the search committee with hatred.”
The BNP leader said the Election Commission to be nominated by the search committee will be loyal to the government. “So, a mockery with people is going on in the name of formation of the Election Commission through the search committee.”
He urged the government to quit and take steps for holding the next polls under an election-time neutral government to protect the country from a civil war.