The search committee was urged by 12 eminent personalities to form an fair, non-partisan and capable Election Commission for the 11th national election.
The six-member search committee, led by Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, met with the 12 civil society personalities at the Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge yesterday evening.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Advocate Begum Sultana Kamal said: “We suggested that the search committee should form the new Election Commission with honest and capable persons who can conduct the next general election in a transparent and impartial manner.”
She added that they had also given the committee some technical suggestions.
“There is a lack of trust among the political parties. The establishment of the search committee has slightly eased that tension,” she stated.
Dhaka University’s former Vice Chancellor AK Azad Chowdhury said: “The selected EC officials should be patriotic, capable and have affection for the public.”
“People need to have faith in the EC, so the committee should not choose biased and inefficient people,” said Shamsul Huda Chowdhury, Former CEC ATM.
Former DU teacher Abul Kashem said: “For the public to trust the committee, a system should be introduced whereby the public can express their opinions also.”
“Since there is a widespread debate over formation of EC, the process could be detailed under an Act,” he added.
Sushashoner Jonno Nagarik’s Central Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder and Dr Tofayel Ahmed, local government specialist, concurred with Abul’s statement, adding that some selection standards should be set.
Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury added that the EC members should be people with integrity who are acceptable to all parties and are, most efficient in their roles.
The other members of the meeting were former Election Commissioner Sohul Hossain, former High Court judge Justice Abdur Rashid, Brig Gen (Retd) Shakhawat Hossain, former Inspector General of Police Nurul Huda and former DU Vice Chancellor SMA Fayez.
Unlike the previous committee in 2012, this time the EC search committee held a meeting with civil society members prior to selection.
Five more eminent personalities invited
Meanwhile, the search committee has invited five more eminent personalities to meet with it at the Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge at 11am on February 1.
After a recent meeting with the president, the committee has obtained a time extension from 11:00am to 3:00pm on Tuesday for the submission of five names for Chief Election Commissioner and four for Election Commissioner.
The new invitees are former Chief Election Commissioner Abu Hena, Barrister Rokon Uddin Mahmud, Dainik Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar, The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam and Security Analyst Abdur Rashid.
Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam, coordinator of the search committee, said the search committee will convene at 4pm Tuesday, after receiving the names of the persons chosen by the political parties to the Cabinet’s additional secretary (administration and law).
The other members of the search committee are High Court Judge Justice Obaidul Hassan, Bangladesh Public Service Commission Chairman Muhammed Sadique, Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh Masud Ahmed, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Trustee Board Member Syed Manzoorul Islam and University of Chittagong Pro-Vice Chancellor Shireen Akhter.
On January 25, the president formed the search committee after speaking with 31 registered political parties, instructing it to submit two names for each EC post within 10 working days and to chose a female election commissioner, a first in Bangladesh’s history.
Some parties, including BNP, criticised the committee, claiming that most of the members were under ruling party’s sway.