The Election Commission has transferred one of its joint secretaries allegedly for disagreeing with a commissioner over giving extra time to a political party to meet the registration criteria.
The EC at a meeting on July 17 decided to allow additional 15 days to newly floated Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) to “boost party activities at grassroots level”.
But Nurul Islam Khan, joint secretary for legal affairs, opposed the decision at the meeting, saying it was a violation of laws. He got locked into a debate with an election commissioner over the issue.
The situation came under control following the intervention of Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad and EC Secretary Muhammed Sadique, according to EC sources.
After one or two days, the EC sent back Nurul Islam to the law ministry, from where he had come to the commission, said EC officials.
Later, the government transferred him to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal.
The official, now abroad for treatment, could not be contacted.
Earlier in March, as the law ministry wanted to take back Nurul Islam, the EC secretary requested for keeping him in the EC Secretariat.
According to many EC officials, Nurul Islam was a skilled and competent official and always righteous. He was brought to the EC Secretariat before the 2008 national elections.
However, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz yesterday defended the transfer, saying, "He [Nurul Islam] sought two months' leave for his treatment.
“But it is not possible to grant the leave because there is a lot of work in the commission ahead of the national election. This is why we have sent him back to the ministry."
He dismissed the report of forced transfer and said, "If anyone can prove this, I will quit my post."
Meantime, the EC is yet to decide on the fate of BNF application of registration as the party initially failed to meet some Representation of the People Order (RPO) conditions that include committees in at least 21 districts and at least 200 members in at least 100 upazilas.
Launched by expelled BNP vice-chairman Nazmul Huda early this year, BNF had its first deadline of June 30 to fulfil the registration requirements.
Former BNP cabinet minister Prof Jahanara Begum and former Chittagong mayor Aref Moinuddin also joined the party.
On March 10, BNF relieved Huda of the party's convener post for his “anti-party activities” and made Jahanara the acting convener.
The main opposition BNP has requested the EC not to allow the BNF registration as the new party used the photograph of BNP founder and late president Ziaur Rahman, a logo looking like BNP's and “sheaf of wheat” as its electoral symbol almost similar to BNP's “sheaf of paddy” symbol.