BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman has joined the interview process for nomination seekers through Skype, amid BNP’s allegation that there was no internet connection in and around the party chairperson’s Gulshan office since last night.
“Tarique Rahman gave us necessary directives over the polls and he asked us to remain united to ensure victory of the polls. We will participate in the elections even if we have to fight and wage a movement,” Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Annie, publicity affairs secretary of BNP, told The Daily Star.
The BNP leader confirmed that Tarique joined the BNP parliamentary board around 11:00am today.
BNP kicked off its third day of interviews with nomination-seekers from the Feni-1 constituency at 10:05am, said Sayrul Kabir Khan, a staff of the BNP chairperson’s media wing.
Earlier in the day, Sayrul told The Daily Star that Skype was not accessible today as there was no internet connection.
WHAT IS TARIQUE’S ROLE IN NOMINATION PROCESS?
Through video conference, Tarique, who has been staying in London since 2008, on Sunday interviewed 540 nomination seekers from 72 constituencies of 16 districts in the two divisions at the BNP chief's Gulshan office.
Tarique, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in two corruption cases and life imprisonment in the August 21 grenade attack, also interviewed the nomination aspirants today, on the second day of the nomination process of BNP.
The Awami League questioned his inclusion in the BNP nomination board and drew the Election Commission's attention to the issue.
WHAT DID EC SAY ON TARIQUE CONDUCTING INTERVIEWS?
The EC secretary said yesterday that BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman did not violate electoral code of conduct by interviewing nomination seekers from the party through videoconference.
“As he [Tarique] interviewed the candidates online, the commission thinks that it cannot do anything right now,” Helaluddin Ahmed said yesterday.
WHEN WAS SKYPE BLOCKED?
The telecom regulator blocked the communication application Skype.com on Sunday night and later blocked its mobile application yesterday.
A top official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission confirmed the news without commenting any further on the issue.
The BTRC issued the order to all the internet international gateways, internet service providers and mobile operators.
A top official of the Internet Service Provider Association of Bangladesh said they complied with the order within a few hours of getting it and the software was no longer available in the country.
WHY IS TARIQUE ‘TABOO’?
Tarique has been living in London for the last nine years.
Convicted in several cases (in absentia) including that of the sensational August 21 grenade attack, he does not have any valid Bangladeshi travel document.
He had handed over his passport to the UK Home Office almost four years ago.
The UK Home Office sent his passport to the Bangladesh High Commission. He has to apply for a new passport to return home, according to a UNB report.
Bangladesh government wants to bring Tarique back and face punishment he received in three separate cases, including the Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.
Besides, the Supreme Court in an order had also barred media outlets and others to publicise any statement of Tarique Rahman.
WHAT IS SKYPE?
Skype is a telecommunications application software product that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, and smart watches via the internet and regular telephones. Skype additionally provides instant messaging services.
Earlier in 2015, the government had blocked almost all the communication application as a wholesale basis including Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and other applications immediately after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict maintaining its previous ruling that upheld death penalty of two war criminals.
In August this year ICT and Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said they will consider blocking any social media site like Facebook again and if needed internet could be also shut down to save the state and citizens of the country.