It was good
that the Honorable President some how managed to get a
pause in the dangerous political confrontation in
Bangladesh by assuming the office of much talked about
Chief of the Caretaker government on 29th
October. Right after he took the post, Awami League
chief Sheikh Hasina told the newsmen that her alliance
would ‘observe’ the activities for few days to make sure
if he behaves in neutral manner. Meanwhile, she met the
President on Monday afternoon and submitted 11 point
‘urgent tasks’ demand, which should be implemented
latest by 3rd November. Otherwise, Awami
League led 14-Party alliance will declare ‘strong
political agitations’ throughout the country from their
grand rally on the same day in the afternoon.
of the non-party interim government assured the
eight-member delegation of the 14-party alliance led by
Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina that all possible
steps will be initiated for holding a free and fair
chief adviser fails to prove his neutrality by this
time, we will declare our next course of agitation
program from a rally at Paltan Maidan on November 3,"
Hasina told newsmen after their meeting with Iajuddin at
Bangabhaban Monday afternoon.
categorically told the chief adviser that he will have
to prove himself neutral through his activities," Hasina
said. She urged people to get ready for launching
agitation program if implementation of their demands
Iajuddin Ahmed assumed the office of chief adviser to
the caretaker government on Sunday night ignoring severe
opposition from the 14-party alliance. The AL-led
alliance, however, neither welcomed nor rejected
Iajuddin's new role.
Iajuddin told her at the meeting, the
said, "The president assured us that he will maintain
neutrality and look into our demands."
president assured the 14-party alliance of "all possible
steps on his part to stage a free and fair election" and
said several steps have already been ordered towards
that end, state-run news agency BSS reported.
14-party leaders urged the president to play a "historic
role" to ensure a free and fair election by recalling
his background as a respected university teacher and
we can stage a free and fair election joining our hands
as we worked together in the pro-democracy campaigns
when I was the president of Dhaka University Teachers'
Association," the Bangabhaban spokesman quoted the
president as telling the 14-party alliance leaders.
atmosphere of the meeting was "very cordial" and the
14-party leaders wished the president good health and
visited the Bangabhaban for the first time in the last
five years, placed the demands in writing before the
caretaker government chief.
14-party alliance demanded immediate reconstitution of
the EC through removal of the chief election
commissioner (CEC), three other election commissioners
and the EC secretary.
demands also include cancellation of the "political"
appointments of upazila election officials and the
controversial updated voter list, and introduction of
transparent ballot box in the upcoming polls.
14-party alliance demanded de-politicization of the
civil and police administrations, state-run media, steps
to end political harassment, fresh investigation into
rise of militancy, cancellation of firearms licenses
given in the last two years, and ban on departure of
corrupt former ministers, lawmakers and godfathers.
remain rigid on our demands along with the previous
proposals for reforms in the Election Commission and
electoral laws," Hasina told reporters.
chief adviser can prove his neutrality through his
activities by November 3, we may welcome him," she said.
have suspicion about him as he was elected the president
by a political party. Moreover, his assumption of the
office of chief adviser has compromised the basic
concept of the non-party caretaker government. So, the
president will have to remove all suspicion from the
people's mind through his activities," the
AL chief said
the road blockade program has temporarily been
postponed, but agitations in the streets will continue.
there are valid questions in the minds of non-Awami
League intellectuals that by satisfying Awami League,
the President should in no way become a ‘purpose
serving’ element of a particular political alliance.
Accepting Awami League’s demands does not necessarily
prove that the President is neutral. Rather he should
apply his own mind and justifications before considering
any of such demands placed by the political parties in
Meanwhile, some of the pro-Awami League newspapers are
giving instigations to the President in abiding by the
‘prescriptions’ of the 14-Party alliance. On the other
hand, some of the newspaper commentaries are trying to
label Professor Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed as an ‘close ally’ of
Begum Khaleda Zia. In one of the leading dailies, an
editorial commentary Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam
Wrote, “We recall the most controversial decision of the
last caretaker chief, Justice Latifur Rahman, which was
to transfer 13 government secretaries within hours of
his taking oath even before he formed his council of
advisers. The AL, then
immediate past ruling party, reacted vehemently against
it, to which Latifur Rahman paid no heed. That one
particular move had a salutary effect in galvanizing the
opposition's confidence in the caretaker government.
Iajuddin now has to take similar and dramatic measures
to gain confidence of the opposition. The need for him
to take such actions is far more important than it was
for the other two chief advisers as there was no
controversy about their assuming the office. We think
Prof. Iajuddin lost a grand opportunity in his first
address to the nation on Sunday in making an imprint of
his leadership on the public mind. He should have tried
to distance himself from the immediate past government
but instead he read out a speech that seemed to have
been drafted in the old mould. A different speech could
have created an early sense of confidence in the public
mind, as in ours.”
commentary has surprised many of the politically or at
least news conscious people in Bangladesh, because, the
day his commentary appeared in Daily Star’s front page,
there was another piece of news about cancellation of
appointment contracts of nine secretaries as well
transfer of eighteen. Moreover, the President is
considering more transfers in the next couple of days in
civil and police administration.
other hand, another vernacular daily in
that, ultimately the entire preparation for holding next
election will become mess and military intervention
would become imminent in
Bangladesh latest by
the third week of November. The newspaper further
reported that, army already put on highest alert to move
on first command.
elected President Iajuddin took the additional
responsibility of the Chief of Caretaker government
(Chief executive of the country), many critics commented
that BNP has purposefully set a ‘doll’ in that important
position to get their hidden agenda implemented. It may
also be mentioned here that, army and all other civil
and judicial posts are now absolutely under the command
of Professor Iajuddin Ahmed. But, after the Monday
evening’s massive termination and transfer orders, there
is strong rumor in the entire country that ultimately
BNP has created a Frankenstein,
which would ultimately demolish … who knows what? As
the Chief of the armed forces now under his command, he
has the absolute power to do anything, which might turn
the speculation of emergence of third force into
reality. Being absolutely fed up with ugly games of
are truly waiting for a ‘divine’ intervention, whether
those angels are in combat or plain dress. People really
want to get rid of these looters and trouble creators,
who have virtually made the entire nation captive in
there is a dramatic development in country’s politics.
Although the President and Chief of Caretaker government
invited the political parties to provide list of
advisors for the care taker government, the proposed
named submitted by Jatiya Party’s Ershad fraction has
been completely ignored by the Presidential palace.
Basically the advisors are most from the pro-Awami
League quarters. It is apprehended that the advisors
will more serve the purpose of Awami League led 14 party
alliances, which will soon emerge as ‘grand alliance’.
On Tuesday afternoon, leader of a fraction of
ultra-radical Islamic Oikya Jote, which supports
Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Qaeda, met Sheikh Hasina and
joined her alliance. Now, under the present realities,
the ultra-radical groups one fraction led by Mufti
Fazlul Huq Amini remains with BNP’s 4-Party alliances,
another joins Awami League led alliance while the third
one is yet to decide their future political affiliation.
Political analysts opine that, Islamist radicals are now
becoming ‘important factor’ for all the major political
parties. Earlier, Alamgir Kabir, a pro-JMB leader and
former state minister was included in newly floated
Liberal Democratic Party. Commenting on this, a senior
journalist said, the trend of joining of ultra-radical
forces with mainstream political parties leave bad
signal for country’s future image. It seems that,
is gradually entering their notorious