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Bangladesh names new army chief

Bangladesh names new army chief

Staff Correspondent

Dhaka - Bangladesh's Awami League-led alliance government on Thursday appointed Lieutenant General Abdul Mubin Chowdhury as the country's new army chief, officials said. General Mubin will replace General Moeen U Ahmed, who was apparently in the driving seat of the previous army-backed interim administration and had got his term of service extended by a year until June 15, 2009.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, who is also in charge of the Defence Ministry, has approved the appointment, said a senior official at the Prime Minister's Office.

Mubin was made principal staff officer of the Armed Forces Division a year ago in a major reshuffle of top army posts.

Bangladesh's main opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia Wednesday afternoon joined her party's eight- hour mass hunger strike in capital Dhaka to protest against the " oppressive policies of the government" and the abolition of a non- party caretaker government system, bangla newspaper

Along with Khaleda, also two-time former prime minister of Bangladesh, thousands of her followers, hundreds of leaders and activists of other like-minded political parties, organizations and professional bodies have also joined the hunger strike which began at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

BNP Bangla news paper Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir said it is to protest against the "police attack" on the opposition leaders and activists during the 48-hour hartal on July 6 and 7 and press home their demand to continue the caretaker government system.

He said opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque and dozens of political leaders and activists were seriously injured by police during the recent 48-hour non-stop hartal.

However, a huge contingent of law enforcers have been deployed in and around the hunger strike venue near Dhaka's lush green Ramna park.

A pavilion has also been set up and a good number of banners, printed with portraits of BNP's founder Ziaur Rahman and current chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, have been hung on and around the venue.

BNP and its allies, including key Bangladesh, have been protesting the annulment of the caretaker government system through an amendment to constitution and called general hartals on June 5, 12, 13 and July 6 and 7 to continue the system for holding next parliamentary elections.

Bangladesh Parliament on June 30 abolished the non-party caretaker government through the 15th constitution amendment, which means Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's incumbent Bangladesh Awami League-led government will stay in power during the next national elections slated for early 2014.

Hasina's ruling party that has two-thirds majority in parliament has taken move to annul the caretaker government system after the country's Supreme Court on May 10 repealed the 13th amendment in the country's constitution through which it (the caretaker system) was institutionalized in 1996, Bangla news paper

Since 1996, the caretaker government has held elections in 2001 and 2008, which were considered by and large free and fair by local and international observers.

As the outgoing government hands over their power, the caretaker government comes into place and its main objective is to create an environment in which an election can be held in a free and fair manner without any political influence of the outgoing government.