Bangladeshi caretaker government fires four Advisors

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Dhaka, Jan 8 (UNI) The military-backed caretaker government of Bangladesh today fired four of its Advisors in a dramatic development in the interim administration of the country.

Key Advisors like Law and Information Advisor Barrister Mainul Hosein, Energy and Food Advisor Tapan Chowdhury, Health and Family Welfare Advisor Major General (retd) Dr ASM Matiur Rahman and Industry Advisor Geeteara Safiya Chowdhury stood down signalling a new crisis for the one-year-old interim government.

The resignations came on the eve of the completion of one year in office of the caretaker government headed by Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed.

According to sources, the Advisors were asked to turn up at the Chief Advisor's office. where they were communicated the government's desire to quit.

They submitted their resignation letters confirming the newspaper speculations of the last few days about the changes.

Health Advisor Maj Gen (Retd) Matiur Rahman had initially denied that he resigned, requesting the reporters not to ask him any 'embarrassing' question.

''Don't ask me this question--I have no interest in these affairs.

You had better ask me scientific questions. I have not resigned, I am busy with the bird-flue issue,'' he told the journalists at about 3:15pm (local time) when the media had already circulated the news about his resignation.

However, finally emerging from his Health Ministry office at about 5:15pm (local time), the former military physician, being pressed by the reporters, said, '' What you have seen on the television screen is true.'' ''Power does not last forever,'' he said, adding that he had performed his responsibility and would do it if entrusted in future.

With the exit of four Advisors, a total of five resignations from the 11-member Council of Advisors took place.

Earlier, Education Advisor Dr Ayub Quadri resigned in the wake of the Paris-bound artefact scandal on December 26.

Chief Advisor's press secretary Syed Fahim Munaim told UNB news agency that the Advisors resigned on 'personal' grounds and the resignation letters were sent to the President's office in the afternoon.

New Advisors are likely to be sworn in by the President tomorrow, he added.

Meanwhile the key leaders of major political parties demanded disclosure of reasons behind the resignations of the four Advisors before the people.

Leaders of the Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, pro-left Workers Party and the JSD demanded an immediate holding of the elections to transfer power to the elected government to overcome the crises.

Detained ex-Prime Minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina called for Parliamentary polls by June-July this year to transfer power to the people's elected representatives.

Talking to her lawyers in a courtroom today, she said public misery has aggrevated under the present non-elected government.

The latest resignations came at a time when Fakhruddin Ahmed's government is celebrating its first anniversary of installation amid a political crisis over the general election in January last year.

The incumbent caretaker government assumed office on January 12 under the state of emergency imposed a day before quelling the political unrest over the abortive parliamentary elections.

It succeeded a short-lived caretaker government headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed, which was formed as two rival political camps had failed to make a consensus choice for the office of Chief Advisor as per Constitutional provision.

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