Friday, August 8, 2008

Emergency Rule will not be lifted

The army backed interim government of Bangladesh insists that emergency rule will be in force during the national election in December. The political parties, human rights activists and international observers demand the immediate withdrawal of the emergency power for creating a congenial condition favorable for election and a smooth transition to democracy in Bangladesh. The recent statement by the LGRD Adviser rules out any possibility of lifting emergency rules by the military government during the election time. Daily Star reports,
LGRD and Cooperatives Adviser Anwarul Iqbal yesterday said the parliamentary elections, stalled for about 18 months, would be held under the state of emergency.

"The polls will surely be held under the state of emergency," he told journalists at the secretariat replying to a query whether the caretaker government intends to hold the national election under emergency.

He, however, hinted that if necessary, the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) might be relaxed.

Iqbal's remarks came a day after the European Union (EU) parliament member Nirj Deva, who held talks with Awami League (AL) leaders on Wednesday, said the state of emergency in Bangladesh remains a matter of concern for them as the EU don't send observers during elections in any country where the emergency is in force.

When asked to comment on the matter, the adviser said, "Since discussions between the EU and the Election Commission (EC) are going on, there won't be any problem," he told reporters.

The adviser said everyone in the country and abroad welcomed holding of the local government polls under emergency.

He said the government was willing to hold the elections under emergency from the beginning.

"It's not a big matter who is saying what about this," he said adding that none of the candidates in the just concluded local body polls complained about holding elections under the emergency.

"We also told the political parties during dialogue to come up with suggestions on further relaxation of emergency,” the adviser said.

But major political parties, including AL and BNP have been pressing for complete withdrawal of emergency before parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in the third week of December.

After Monday's local body polls, the chief election commissioner and the advisers to the caretaker government has been hinting about holding the national elections under emergency.

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