Fake election observer debacle, Mawlana Abed Ali exposed


Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali, chairman of ‘Election Monitoring Forum’, an election monitoring body in Bangladesh is at the center of controversy as the same man had brought several dubious individuals as election observers during the 2018 general election, while most of them were later proven to be fake. Abed Ali also is running another election monitoring organization named ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ as its secretary general. He has been illegally using the official emblem of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Although the SAARC secretariat had raised objection about using its official emblem by Abed Ali’s ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ and had requested Bangladesh authorities to take necessary steps in this regard, this dubious entity is continuing to use the SAARC emblem.

Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali passed Kamil from Jamia Ahmadiyya Sunnia Kamil Madrasa in Chittagong city. Apart from this, he studied at Chittagong City College. Abed Ali said that he taught for 9 years at Darul Ihsan University, which was closed due to various irregularities. According to him, from 2007 to 2015, he was associated with teaching at that university. No one from the defunct university could provide any information on whether he was recognized as a professor in that university. For the past few years, Abed Ali has been using “Professor” title in his name, despite the fact, there is no document available about this claim.

Recently, Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali resurfaced in news headlines in Bangladesh when he met several senior officials of the Bangladesh government, including the Chief Election Commissioner being accompanied by a number of foreigners who were proclaimed to be election observers. None of the foreign nationals have any past experience as election observer, while few of them, including Nick Powell, who is described as ‘Political Editor’ of a dubious website named EU Reporter have already generated serious doubts about how and why people like such individuals have been brought by Abed Ali to monitor the upcoming general elections in Bangladesh.

Some people also are asking – who paid the travel cost and accommodation for the so-called election observers and how the Election Commission in Bangladesh has given undue importance to these people. It is well-anticipated that such activities of attempting of portraying fake people as international election observers would put the entire election process into serious doubts.

According to media reports, Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali’s ‘Election Monitoring Forum’ was registered with the Election Commission without any experience just 3 months before the 2018 national elections. During that election, Abed was criticized for bringing some foreign nationals by falsely introducing them as international observers.

Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali was born in Alinagar village of Vijaynagar upazila under Brahmanbaria district. In addition to running election monitoring agency, he is the director of two business companies namely Nishat Shipping Service Private Limited and MS Bismillah Oil Supplier.

According to Election Commission, 206 non-governmental organizations have applied for registration to monitor the 12th National Assembly elections. Until now, where 94 organizations, including Abed Ali’s two organizations ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ and ‘Election Monitoring Forum’ have been primarily selected.

Abed Ali’s role in 2018

As the next general election in Bangladesh approaches, the ruling Awami League government seems to be making the same mistake it did in 2018, allowing fake election observers to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the entire process once again.

In the report titled – ‘দু’টি নির্বাচন পর্যবেক্ষক সংস্থা সমাচার’ [All about the two observer agencies] published on January 8, 2019, The Daily Star said, two election monitoring organization which were covered in the Bangladeshi and international media to prove credibility of the election were ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ and ‘Election Monitoring Forum’. These two organizations held a press conference on December 31 in Dhaka’s National Press saying, “Eleventh parliamentary elections have been better, fair and neutral than the past”.

The two observer organizations in question were the ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ and ‘Election Monitoring Forum.’ Notably, the ‘SAARC Human Rights Foundation’ is not affiliated with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and is led by a radical Muslim named Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali.

Interestingly, Abed Ali is also the Executive Director of the ‘Election Monitoring Forum,’ an organization that lacks a website.

Mawlana Abed Ali is the Secretary General of the SAARC Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).

Further investigation reveals that several MPs from the ruling Awami League and Jatiya Party hold positions as Chairman and advisors of the SAARC Human Rights Foundation, and the organization receives financial assistance from these individuals. Such affiliations with political parties should make these organizations ineligible as election observers, as per the Election Monitoring Policy of the Bangladesh Election Commission. However, the Election Commission overlooked these affiliations while registering these dubious organizations as election watchdogs.

During the 2018 general election, two Canadian nationals named Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster presented themselves as “international observers” monitoring elections in many countries, including Bangladesh.

However, there is no evidence of their existence as election observers anywhere else in the world or even in Canada.

During the 2018 general election, two Canadian nationals named Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster proclaimed themselves as “international observers” monitoring elections in “many countries” in the world. But, in the entire web, there is no existence of any election observer named Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster. The only information available is about their appearance as observers during the 2018 general election in Bangladesh.

Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster are siblings and their claim of observing election in other countries is false. Even in Canada, none of the organizations have ever heard these names as being election observers.

Even there is no existence of any Tania Dawn Foster or Chally Foster in the social media or any other election-related contents. Considering these facts, it may be concluded – Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster were invited in Bangladesh either by Mawlana Mohammad Abed Ali or those leaders of the ruling party to perform the role of foreign observers during the 2018 general elections.


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