EC: Jamaat-affiliated persons can go to polls as independents

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PNS Desk: A top official of the Election Commission has opined that persons affiliated with the political party Jamaat-e-Islami, which has lost its registration, can participate in the upcoming election as independent candidates.

Candidates from other unregistered parties can also run as independents, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters on Friday at the EC Secretariat.

“Even they can run with the symbol of any registered party, provided that they get nomination from that party,” he said.

“A registered party can give anyone their nomination,” he said.

“So if the registered party wants, they can give their nomination to the members of an unregistered party as well,” Helaluddin added.

Five years after the High Court ruled that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s status as a political party be revoked, the Election Commission has executed the orders in a gazette on October 29 this year.

The gazette got delayed because of the delay in getting the full verdict, according to Election Commission sources. The commission could not publish the gazette until now also because an appeal against the High Court orders was being heard, they said.

The EC started registering the political parties for the first time during the 2006-07 military-controlled caretaker government before the 2008 elections.

Jamaat, which had representation in parliament, got registered along with 37 other parties at the time.

A total of 25 people, including Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Syed Rezaul Haque Chandpuri, Jaker Party’s Secretary General Munshi Abdul Latif and Sammilita Islami Jote’s President Ziaul Hasan, moved the court challenging Jamaat’s registration in January, 2009.

The petition asked for orders to cancel Jamaat’s registration by the EC for the party’s failure to meet RPO conditions.

Before the 10th parliamentary elections, the High Court on Aug 1, 2013 declared Jamaat’s registration by the EC void and illegal, barring it from contesting in the 2014 elections.

The 20-party BNP-Jamaat alliance boycotted the elections as well demanding a nonpartisan government during polls.

Though barred from contesting in general elections, several Jamaat-backed candidates took part in local government elections, but not on party tickets.

Last year, the EC dropped Jamaat’s logo ‘weighing scale’ from the electoral symbols following Supreme Court orders.

PNS/Tamanna Khan