Saturday, November 17, 2018

AL knows why CEC Huda praised military ruler Ziaur Rahman, but won't disclose it: Quader

  • Moinul Hoque Chowdhury and Kazi Mobarak Hossain
    Published: 2017-10-18 17:13:10 BdST


The Awami League says it received an explanation for why Chief Election Commission Nurul Huda said Ziaur Rahman returned multi-party democracy to Bangladesh, but does not want to reveal it. 

"We have received an explanation, but don't want to disclose it. If an explanation is needed, the Election Commission will provide it," Obaidul Quader, general secretary of the ruling party, told reporters after discussing the next election with the commissionon Wednesday.

“But the meeting we had and the statements made by the secretary and the commissioners show that we had a positive and constructive dialogue," said Quader.

The Election Commission has been hosting a series of dialogues with political parties for the 2019 parliamentary election. During its meeting with the BNP, CEC Huda said its founder and former military ruler Ziaur Rahman "re-established multi-party democracy" in Bangladesh.             

The comment raised brows and drew protests from several including Krishak Sramik Janata League chief Kader Siddique, who walked out of his meeting with the Election Commission.

During his meeting with 21 leaders of the Awami League, CEC Huda, a former civil servant, praised the ruling party for "Bangladesh's every achievement".

Quader, speaking to reporters later, said, "Major General Ziaur Rahman, who had ushered in an era of coups, killings and conspiracies, had declared himself president in violation of the law and Constitution, in the days following Aug 15 of 1975 [Bangabandhu's assassination]."

"He destroyed the powers of the Constitution and institutions to begin a dictatorship."

The Awami League team told the EC meeting that the 1977 election organised by Zia was a "farce" that "destroyed democracy" and "robbed the people of voting rights", a trend that continued until the fall of "the next dictator" HM Ershad in 1990.

"Don't start debates on matters settled in history," an Awami League leader told EC officials during the meeting.

"A senior party leader advised the commission to be more careful because the CEC's comment leaves scope for misinterpretation and debate," said an Awami League leader, seeking anonymity.

Acting EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the meeting with Awami League was "very successful".

When asked if the ruling party asked for an explanation on CEC Huda's praising of Ziaur Rahman, he said, "The issue wasn't raised in the meeting after that. No more questions on this were raised in the meeting that went on for two hours."