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28 Jan 2017   12:50:40 AM   Saturday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

English dept going to make history: Prof Manzoorul

Moslem Uddin Ahmed
 English dept going to make history: Prof Manzoorul

``English department is going to make history,`` said Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam, one of the members of the search committee formed by presidential order to pick commissioners for a new election commission acceptable to all, especially the squabbling political parties.

He made such a remark when some of his ex-students hailed his crucial national assignment while they were talking with him at the Dhaka University English Department Alumni Society (EDAS) annual reunion at the TSC on January 27 evening.

It happens to be the biggest task of the time at the moment at national level, as it came from the highest office in the state as a step to unravel the political deadlock, stemming from the January 05, 2014 polls boycotted by the then main opposition party, BNP, and its allies and a number of other parties, through a fair general election next time under a strong, neutral EC.

There is scepticism being aired by the BNP about this search panel`s ability to choose neutral, independent persons as election commissioners as its leaders said the committee members are mostly leant towards the ruling Awami League or obedient to the government because of holding posts in government offices. They wanted a committee with retired officials having no records of political predilection.

As such, the English teacher of Dhaka University was asked whether they the two members from the English Department would really be able to play the role of anchor in keeping the committee on the right track in picking the right persons to constitute the next EC, and thus create history.

``Yes, hope so,`` Prof Manzoorul Islam said on a high note of confidence, incidentally a day before the much-talked-about search committee was going to hold its maiden meeting Saturday (Jan 28).

The other one from the English department is Masud Ahmed, an alumnus who is the incumbent Comptroller  and Auditor General of Bangladesh. He was beside the professor during the informal discussion at the EDAS bash.

The BNP. However, had no reservation about Prof Manzoor. He is a popular teacher among his students. He holds progressive views and writes newspaper columns on sociopolitical issues.

And his emphatic note of optimism about English department people`s desire to `make history` may underlone a message that their choice may not be a copycat of what the previous search panel had produced, and what BNP fears.

 President Abdul Hamid formed the six-member search committee, headed by Supreme Court judge Justice Syed Mahmud Hassan, on Jan 26 after holding dialogue with 31 registered political parties, including the ruling Awami League and the formerly ruling party BNP. The three other members are High Court judge Obaidul Hassan, public service commission chairman Muhammed Sadique and Chittagong University Pro-VC Shirin Akhter.

During their consultation with the president, BNP did not give any names of their choice for the EC. The party was pleased to place its trust on the president and left the choice to the presidential prerogative. AL also said they did not submit any names and asserted that they would accept the committee to be formed by the president sans any question.

Now, after the announcement of the committee, BNP reacts to say the president`s selections ultimately `reflected Awami League`s liking`. This committee turned out to be `controversial`, said BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in the party`s formal reaction.

Awami League general secretary and transport minister Obaidul Qader denied his party having dected terms to the president. `We named no names for the search committee,` he said, adding that their political archrival was crying wolf to make the panel controversial with a motive.

Some analysts guess that BNP might raise the question on neutrality of the five of the committee members with a subtle ploy to keep them under a sort of compulsion so that they pick up right, nonpartisan persons as members of the EC up and coming next month, February.




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