Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Fresh hope for talks to break impasse

BNP agrees to secy-general-level meet with AL as business leaders broker dialogue
Opposition BNP has agreed to hold a secretary-general-level dialogue with ruling Awami League on the poll-time government issue in response to a call for talks without any condition from business leaders. The BNP also asked the business leaders to place the proposal to ruling Awami League. This apparently gives a fresh ray of hope to end the current political impasse over the election-time government.
The main opposition party expressed its latest stance when a 50-member business delegation called on opposition chief Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office on Saturday night.
FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin led the business delegation in an attempt to bring Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia across the table.
Briefing reporters, the FBCCI president said they proposed to the BNP that it start ‘unconditional’ talks at secretary general level with the ruling AL.
“We will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina within a day or two and communicate her the development,” he added.
BNP leader Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said his party welcome the initiative to start dialogue and expects this would create an opportunity to resolve the political impasse.
Kazi Akram said they also proposed to withdraw the 60-hour hartal beginning from 6:00am on Monday and the opposition assured them they would see to it after beginning the talks.
Replying to a question, he said, we need peace for doing business and politicians should ensure the congenial atmosphere for overall development of the country.
Amir Khasru said the hartal programme is another issue.
Meeting sources said Khaleda Zia in her address to the business leaders asked them about their role in ensuring a non-party government to hold a free and fair election in the country.
She explained elaborately the logic behind her demand for the non-party caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming general poll.
On the question of withdrawal of hartal, Khaleda was quoted as saying, “You came with ruling party’s proposal. Please tell them to accept our demand.”
Mir Nasir Hossain told The Independent that they proposed to hold secretary general level meeting to create a ground for talks between the prime minister and the opposition leader.
During the meeting the business leaders discussed the latest development in the political arena and the state of country’s economy.
They expressed their concern over the 60-hour hartal beginning from 6:00am on Monday.
The other members of the delegation include President of Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam, President of Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Rukaiya Afzal Rahman, President of Dhaka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Sabur Khan, President
of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Shahjalal Majumder, former FBCCI presidents—Abdul Awal Mintoo, Yusuf Abdullah Harun, Mir Nasir Hossain, Anisul Haque and AK Azad, former BGMEA presidents—Fazlul Haque and Kazi Moniruzzaman.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Dr RA Ghani, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar, Mirza Abbas, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Dr Osman Farruk and Barkat Ullah Bulu were present on the occasion.
The meeting began at 8:45pm and lasted for two and half an hours.
Earlier on the day, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said that door of holding a dialogue was still open and the government was waiting for the response of the opposition regarding the prime minister’s invitation to dialogue.
Ashraf said a dialogue can be held any time with the opposition to resolve the current political deadlock.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer to the opposition leader Khaleda Zia to attend dinner at Ganabhaban, is still on. Therefore, the door of holding a dialogue is still open for the opposition,” Ashraf told the reporters after attending an award giving ceremony on the occasion of National Cooperatives Day at Osmany Memorial Auditorium in the capital.
The minister also said that the prime minister offered the opposition leader Khaleda Zia to attend the dinner at Ganabhaban within the deadline set by the opposition leader but she (Khaleda) is yet to respond to the invitation. “However, we have been waiting for the opposition to sit for talks,” he added.
Syed Ashraf, also the LGRD and Cooperatives minister, said that he does not see hartals and blockades as obstacle to holding dialogue over the formation of a poll-time government to end the current political impasse.
“We have always urged the opposition to sit for talks shunning the path of confrontation but they have been enforcing hartals, blockades day after day. But I think opposition’s anti-government programmes like hartals, blockades will not be a barrier to a dialogue,” he said.
He also said, “We are not worried about opposition’s hartal programme. Our main object is to hold a free, fair and participatory election in due time as per the constitutional provisions.”

-With The Independent input

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