Leaders of the country's leading trade bodies expressed deep concern over the issue of warrant of arrest against prominent business personalities like Syed Manzur Elahi, Laila Rahman Kabir and three other eminent citizens Prof. Rehman Sobhan, M. Sayeduzzaman and Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya.
"The members of the business community are deeply shocked and concerned over the issue of warrant of arrest against the prominent business personalities. We fear that this kind of situation will only damage the country's image and investment climate. So, the business leaders appeal to the highest authority of the government to ensure that there is no recurrence of such episode in future", said the leaders in a joint statement Thursday.
They said the warrants have been issued on the petition of the Executive Chairman, Board of Investment, Mahmudur Rahman, as a follow-up to the controversies generated following his allegations that the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) provided distorted information about the country's economy.
In his petition, they said, Mahmudur Rahman alleged that the CPD at its press conference August 8, had labelled him as a 'Razakar', thereby tarnishing his reputation. But the CPD refuted that they did not make such an allegation.
They said the situation arose out of the Executive Chairman's contention that the CPD's work in compiling data relating to investment was not in line with BoI's projections.
It must be stated that anyone, including trade bodies of Bangladesh, have the right to compile data and information and make analysis on any aspect of the country's activities, including its economy, they added.
Differences of views and opinions can and will exist in a free, pluralistic and democratic society, said the business leaders adding that such differences can always be discussed and debated in a dignified manner.
"It may also be mentioned here that in all such analysis the uppermost concern is our country. But resorting to criminal proceedings that has resulted in issuance of arrest warrants against such eminent citizens of the country, including leaders of trade organisations is deplorable," they opined.
The statement was signed by International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Latifur Rahman, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry President M.A. Momen, Bangladesh Chamber of Industries President A.K. Azad, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, Bangladesh Jute Mills Association Chairman Kamran T. Rahman, Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies President Samson H. Chowdhury, Bangladesh Insurance Association Chairman M Shamsul Alam, Bangladeshio Cha Sangshad (Bangladesh Tea Association) Chairman Wahidul Huq and Bangladesh Employers' Federation Vice-President O.R. Khan.