Civil society, politicians welcome Syed Abul’s resignation

The Daily Star July 24, 2012

Welcoming the resignation of Syed Abul Hossain as a minister, a number of political leaders and eminent personalities have said though it is a belated decision, his departure would pave the way for reviving the Padma bridge funding talks with the World Bank.

Contacted for their views on Abul Hossain’s resignation, they said it will put moral pressure on the WB to reconsider its cancellation of committed funding for the bridge project.

Most of them expressed the view that resignation of the minister proved the WB’s allegation of corruption in the bridge project is correct.

Abul Hossain who was communications minister before he was made ICT minister, was at the centre of the WB’s corruption allegation.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said Abul Hossain’s resignation proved that the corruption allegation was correct, but his decision created a possibility that the WB would reconsider its decision cancelling committed funding for the Padma bridge project.

Bikalpa Dhara President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury said the minister’s resignation proved that the WB had rightly made the graft allegation. “I hope the World Bank will reconsider the cancellation decision so that the bridge can be built without further delay,” said the former president.

JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu said it was a belated but a good decision. “It would have been better for both him (minister) and the nation if he had resigned earlier.”

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Manjurul Ahsan Khan said it is a good decision and it will facilitate fair investigation. “Now it will be easier to probe the corruption allegation,” he added.

Jatiya Party presidium member Anisul Islam Mahmud welcomed Abul’s resignation, and hoped the WB will now come forward to help build the Padma bridge. ” I hope Abul Hossain will be proved innocent through fair investigation into the corruption allegation,” he said.

Former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan said the resignation has come too late. It would have been better if it had happened much earlier.

“Even if it (resignation) is late, the government has ultimately taken the decision. I think this will allow us to put some pressure on the World Bank on moral grounds,” he said.

“So, I see this resignation as a positive development. Not all things are closed permanently. If it is possible to restore conciliation, the (Padma bridge) project still could be revived,”Akbar Ali added.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said it might be too little and too late. “This should have happened several months ago when the WB brought corruption allegation.”

Urging the WB to seriously consider reopening the negotiation with the government and revive the deal, he also said the WB decision to cancel the $1.2 billion Padma bridge financing was wrong and too hasty.

The government has to further prove that it is committed to chandling corruption cases with a heavy hand, he added.

Economist Hossain Zillur Rahman, another former caretaker government adviser, said the minister’s resignation proves that the government has started to take into cognizance the WB allegation of corruption in Padma bridge financing.

Though the resignation has come too late, it proves that the government is taking action. This could lead to a happy end as it will create an opportunity for restarting negotiation, he said.

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