The interim cabinet at its maiden meeting on Sunday decided to extend all- out assistance to the Election Commission in holding the next general election in a free and fair atmosphere, after preparing a correct voters’ roll, introduction of voters’ identity card and transparent ballot boxes. The meeting, chaired by the chief adviser, Fakhruddin Ahmed, also reviewed law and order and the state of economy and asked the authorities concerned to take appropriate steps to this effect. Held at the chief adviser’s office, the meeting, attended by all the five advisers, in principle decided to introduce voters’ identity cards and transparent ballot boxes and discussed the ways and means for them.
The council also directed the authorities concerned to take all possible measures so that fundamental rights were protected when regulations were promulgated following the declaration of the state of emergency. The election commissioner in-charge, Mahfuzur Rahman, and the secretary to the EC, Abdur Rashid Sarker, also attended the meeting. The meeting, however, did not spell out clearly a fresh timing for the general elections, and the tenure of the new interim administration, according to sources. It is expected that the EC will make a decision on the election within a couple of days. After the meeting, adviser MA Matin told reporters that the January 22 elections would be postponed through a circular to be issued later on. The meeting decided to induct five more advisers in the council within a couple of days. The meeting reviewed the law and order and decided to take necessary measures to restore people’s confidence.
The council issued directives to the authorities of the law enforcing agencies so that innocent people were not harassed during their operations. Earlier, chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed distributed the responsibilities to his five advisers. The ministries/divisions not allocated yet would remain under the chief adviser until further order, according to a gazette notification issued by the cabinet secretary on Sunday. Advisers Mainul Hosein, AB Mirza Azizul Islam, MA Matin, Tapan Chowdhury and Geetiara Safiya Chowdhury attended the meeting. Cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder along with other secretaries to the ministries concerned were also present among others.