EC reconstitution thru search committee: PM

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said that the president would form a search committee to reconstitute the Election Commission. 

‘The president will form a search committee and the Election Commission will be reconstituted through the search committee,’ said the premier.

Her assertion came in response to a question whether the government would enact a law or form a search committee to reconstitute the Election Commission as its tenure would expire in February 2022. 

Sheikh Hasina was addressing a press conference on the outcome of her recent visit to the United States to join the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The press conference, held in the afternoon at her official residence Gana Bhaban, was broadcast live on televisions.

Replying to another question, the prime minister, also president of the ruling Awami League, alleged that opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party wanted to make the next parliamentary elections controversial as they had become sure that they did not have any chance to win.

‘They know that they don’t have any possibility of winning the election. So, efforts are on to make it controversial and to create confusion among people about it,’ she said.

Hasina said that she did not find any ground as to why people should vote the BNP to power, posing the question as to what the party has done for the welfare of the people.

Earlier, on 25 September, 54 eminent citizens demanded the enactment of a law to appoint the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners as the tenure of the incumbent commission will end in February 2022.

In a statement, they said that the initiative to reconstitute the Election Commission must begin immediately with the enactment of a law as per the constitution.

The next general election is expected to be held toward the end of December 2023.

Hinting at the of top leadership of the BNP, Sheikh Hasina said that one had been convicted of misappropriating fund meant for orphans and another was a fugitive with conviction  for various offences, including the August 21 grenade attack and  the 10-truck arms-haul cases.

Sheikh Hasina said that even these two top leaders would not be able to take part in the elections, United News of Bangladesh reported, quoting her as saying, ‘They have no belief that they can win the polls.’

Referring to the 2014 parliamentary elections, she said that the BNP had made frantic efforts to make it questionable and committed many misdeeds, including arson attacks, to thwart the polls.

‘As the elections were held and there has been stability since, it [govt] has succeeded in ensuring development, which you’re witnessing today,’ she remarked.

Hasina said that the BNP had no complaint about the 2008 general election and questioned as to why they could not win the polls, according to the UNB report.

Some journalists attended the press conference at the Gana Bhaban while others joined it from the Prime Minister’s Office through a virtual platform.

About the Rohignay issue, Sheikh Hasina in a written statement said that international pressure on Myanmar would continue for a permanent solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis as the issue had been widely discussed in the 76th UNGA session, reported Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

‘The issue of the Rohingya crisis and its permanent solution was discussed elaborately in the UNGA session which I believe will (help) continue global pressure on Myanmar for taking back their Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh,’ she said.

She hoped that the participation of the Bangladesh delegation in the session would strengthen Dhaka’s position in the world forum and expand the scope for getting international cooperation to the issues involving Bangladesh’s interest.

The PM said that she went to New York on September 19 to attend the 76th UNGA session in person which was her maiden foreign tour after two years since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

The main focus of this UNGA session, she said, was a sustainable transition from the Covid pandemic.

A universal accessibility to and availability of Covid vaccines and a sustainable recovery from the pandemic have naturally dominated the discussion, she added.

Besides, issues like climate change, women empowerment, equality and inclusion, racism, sustainable development goals, disarmament of nuclear weapons etc have also come up in the discussion, the premier further said.

In the very first day of her visit on September 20, Sheikh Hasina said, she was conferred with the ‘SDG Progress Award’ by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network for Bangladesh’s highest success in attaining SDG during 2015–2020, according to the BSS report.

On September 24, 2021, she addressed the UNGA general debate where she spoke in Bengali this time, too, like every time, the BSS report said quoting her.

‘In my speech, I’ve emphasised ensuring universal and affordable availability of Covid vaccines in order to build a coronavirus-free world and simultaneously urged the world leaders to consider Covid vaccine as a global good in eliminating vaccine inequality,’ she said.

The Prime Minister said that she had also urged the rich countries to finance and transfer technology freely for a sustainable adaptation of the countries at risk to climate change for reducing their damage caused by the Covid pandemic as well as decreasing the carbon emissions of rich and industrialised countries and providing compensation.

About a demand for the formation of a commission to hold a posthumous trial of Ziaur Rahman, the premier said that measures should be taken to form a commission to hold trials of the killings of military officers and soldiers during the martial law regime of Ziaur Rahman, BSS reported.

‘As a demand has been raised about the matter (formation of a commission), I think a step should be taken to this end,’ she said.

Expressing her resentment over not raising the demand for constitution of such a commission much earlier, she said that mass awareness about the tragic incidents should be created.

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