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Bangladesh poll chief under pressure to quit

Pressure mounted on MA Aziz to quit from his post with President Ijauddin Ahmed sending a high-level team to hold talks with him.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 12:45 IST

Pressure mounted on Bangladesh's controversial election commissioner Justice MA Aziz to quit from his post with President Ijauddin Ahmed sending a high-level team to hold talks with him even as the 14-party opposition alliance demanding electoral reforms enforced an indefinite communication blockade in the country.

Major donor countries like the United States, Britain and the European Union have also expressed their concern at possible major violence over Aziz, whose ouster has been demanded by most political groups.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has asked the President to find a solution to end the stand-off or face demonstration in front of his palace.

While US envoy Patricia Butenis said that the people have "lost trust on the Election Commission", Anwar Chowdhury, the Bangladeshi-born British envoy, said it was essential to reach a political consensus.

"The failure to reach any consensus will be alarming. Time is running fast ahead of the next parliamentary election," he said, after meeting Aziz on Sunday.

A high-level team was expected to meet Aziz on Monday to discuss ways with him on how to diffuse the current political tension, Information Advisor Mahbubul Alam said after a marathon meeting that ended at midnight on Sunday.

Finance Advisor Akber Ali Khan and Energy and Power Advisor retired Lieutenant General Hasan Mashud Chowdhury said during the meeting that they were frustrated, as the caretaker government has so far failed to create proper atmosphere to hold free and fair elections.