COAST to withdraw from election monitoring

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

COASTCOAST Trust, an organisation of development activism, has refuted criticism from the prime minister’s political affairs adviser, HT Imam, about monitoring in the 30 December parliamentary elections.

In a statement on Wednesday, COAST said it is a non-partisan organisation and it believes in constructive engagement with the government.

It drew attention to Imam’s criticism of COAST and a few other organisations for giving them permission for monitoring the polls.

Describing HT Imam as a respected and prudent political figure, COAST pointed out that he might have received certain ‘misinformation’ that led him to mention the name of COAST Trust.

It appreciated the election commission for showing confidence in it about polls monitoring but the organisation “is considering withdrawal from all election monitoring activities this time to avoid controversies and misunderstanding”.

As a humanitarian and nonprofit organisation, COAST said it always believes in the spirit of the liberation war -- democracy, socialism, secularism and nationalism.

“COAST always works to serve the interest of the country being positively engaged with the government at national and international level,” reads the statement which cited examples of its engagement with the government in the international negotiations.

COAST recalled that the BNP-Jamaat alliance too accused COAST Trust of ‘favouring the Awami League’ during the 2008 national elections.

It pointed out that Awami League had then raised objection with the then election commission to COAST Trust’s nomination in the election monitoring. It added that the AL withdrew the accusation after COAST had a meeting with HT Imam and explained its position.

COAST Trust said it has been working in the country’s coastal region since 1998 to support the poor with the guidance of NGO Affairs Bureau under the prime minister’s office.

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