The weeklong dialogue between prime minister and ruling Awami League president Sheikh Hasina and opposition parties and alliances ended on Wednesday with announcement that the discussion among the parties for a free, fair and inclusive elections would continue.
After the second round of the dialogue, main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front postponed its road march towards Rajshahi scheduled for today. The front would, however, hold its scheduled rally in Rajshahi on Friday.
The prime minister also postponed her today’s press conference on the dialogue.
‘The official dialogue has ended today, but talks with the opposition political parties may continue for holding next general election in a participatory, free, fair and credible manner,’ Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said at a briefing.
In a separate briefing, Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that the ‘talks are going on.’
Jatiya Oikya Front chief Kamal Hossain said that in the dialogue they proposed to continue talks in a smaller forum.
Hasina led the11-member AL-led delegation in the second round of the dialogue with 11-member delegation of the front led by Kamal at the prime minister’s official residence Ganabhaban.
Excepting the creation of a level playing field, the Awami League rejected the front’s proposals, saying that the proposals were beyond the constitutional provisions and the 11th parliamentary elections might be held in late February or early March.
Referring to Hasina, Obaidul Quader told reporters that the dissolution of the parliament and increasing tenure of the government for 90 more days might create scopes for the unconstitutional forces to come to power.
The prime minister urged the opposition leaders to take part in the elections as per constitutional provisions before January 28 assuring them of doing everything for a free, fair and credible election providing all supports to the Election Commission, he said.
Ministers and lawmakers would enjoy no government facilities in the electioneering, Quader quoted Hasina as saying.
The front demanded release of political prisoners, including jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, as the first condition for the level playing field.
‘We have nothing to do with the release of Khaleda Zia as it is a judicial mater,’ Quader said, ‘we have no objection if the court grants her bail.’
At the briefing of the front at Kamal’s Bailey Road house, Kamal said, ‘We are actually eager to more dialogue on our seven-point demand. We have tried and will try to reach a solution to the crisis in a peaceful way, but the ball is now on the government’s court.’
Fakhrul said that no decision was in the dialogue over their demands.
He said that demand for Khaleda’s release was placed in the dialogue, but no discussion held about her release on parole.
‘We have strongly said that she is entitled to get released in normal legal process,’ Fakhrul said.
He said that the front would go for protests if the Election Commission announced the polls schedule today before the parties reached a solution to the crisis.
‘We have a programme for march towards the EC if it announces polls schedule,’ he said.
Fakhrul added that the government said that there would be no relation between the dialogue and the announcement of polls schedule.
‘They said the polls schedule may be rescheduled,’ Fakhrul said.
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, ‘We are not accepting the election schedule if the EC announces it on November 8 and we would march towards the EC. We would demand a reschedule.’
Fakhrul said that they placed an outline of polls-time government, including appointment of a non-partisan chief adviser and 10 other advisers by the president through dialogue with political parties only to do routine work of the government and election within 90 days after dissolution of the parliament.
Asked about Obaidul Quader’s remarks that dissolution of the parliament was not constitutional, Manna said the front told the dialogue provisions for dissolution of parliament were very much in the constitution.
‘Two parliaments cannot exist at a time,’ he said.
Fakhrul said that they took the dialogue as part of their movement and believed that reaching a solution through dialogue was possible.
‘But the government does not want to reach a solution through dialogue, the government have to take responsibility for it,’ he said.
Replying to a question, Fakhrul said that they proposed an election-time government as it was a public demand.
Kamal Hossain said that Hasina promised in the dialogue that no more fictitious and false cases would be filed against the front leaders and activists and no more front leaders and activists would be arrested.
Emerging from the dialogue, Workers Party of Bangladesh president Rashed Khan Menon told New Age, that the BNP secretary general handed over a list of more than 1,100 leaders and activists who were facing political cases.
The front leaders also demanded delaying the announcement of the polls schedule but AL delegation rejected it saying that the Election Commission was the authority in this regard, said Menon, also the social welfare minister.
The 11-member AL delegation included Sheikh Hasina, Obaidul Kader, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Mohammed Nasim, Rashed Khan Menon, Hasanul Haq Inu, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Anisul Huq, Dipu Moni and SM Rezaul Karim.
Kamal Hossain, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, ASM Abdur Rob, Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Mostafa Mohsin Montu, Subrata Chowdhury, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, SM Akram, Abdul Malek Ratan and Sultan Mohammad Monsur Ahmed were in the front delegation.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net