Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hectic move to have Hasina, Khaleda across table

A hectic move, initiated by different quarters, is on to bring Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia to the talks table to resolve the current political impasse. The country has experienced massive political violence in the last couple of days. Over 14 people were killed during the 60-hour non-stop hartal enforced by the opposition. Diplomats, business leaders, professional groups and civil society organisations have stepped up their activities to find solutions to the ongoing political crisis. A series of informal meetings were held between diplomats of influential countries and senior leaders of the two major political parties in the last couple of days.
The US, Japan, China and the UN have already issued different statements, urging both the government and the opposition to resolve the crisis through dialogue. There was speculation that the US ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, had discussed the current political situation with senior officials of India during his recent Delhi visit.
Mozena met Khaleda prior to his Delhi visit. After returning to Dhaka, the US ambassador met HM Ershad, the chairman of Jatiya Party, which is a key ally of the Awami League-led ruling grand alliance.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) also took initiatives to end the present stalemate.
On Tuesday, top business leaders expressed serious concerns over the current political situation and urged the two top leaders to take necessary steps to end the crisis through discussions. They decided to meet the two leaders and urge them to resolve the crisis.
“The business community welcomes the telephonic conversation between the two leaders, and wants to convey anxiety over carrying out trade and commerce in the country in the face of the volatile political situation,” FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said at a joint press conference in the chamber’s office on Tuesday.
“The business community believes that this initiative will definitely clear the road for peace for the entire nation,” he added.
Akram told journalists that they would try to meet Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia on Wednesday. The FBCCI had submitted letters to both the leaders earlier on Thursday, requesting them to address their plight due to the prevailing political stalemate. But, they are yet to get any response from the two leaders.
When asked whether they want to present any new formula before the two leaders, the FBCCI chief said, “We’re not going to present any particular formula.”
The FBCCI president claimed that the business leaders always showed unity, irrespective of differences in their political outlook, to ensure the interests of the business community. He also categorically denied that the business community would prefer any negative force or declaration of an emergency in the country. “We don’t want to see any negative force. The business community had suffered a lot during the regime of such forces,” Akram said, referring to the military-backed government during the last general election.
Rokia Afzal Rahman and Sabur Khan, respectively the presidents of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), former FBCCI presidents Salman F Rahman, Yusuf Abdullah Harun, Annisul Huq, Mir Nasir Hossein and AK Azad, FBCCI vice-president Helal Uddin, BGMEA President Atiqul Islam and BKMEA President Selim Osman, were also present at the conference.
The decision to meet the two top leaders was taken at a meeting of top business leaders at a city hotel on Monday night. Later, the decision was endorsed at a meeting of the FBCCI board of directors on Tuesday morning.
When asked about their next course of action, if their present initiative falls through, Kazi Akram said, “We’ll call a grand conference of business people, comprising all sectors, and make a decision.”

-With The Independent input

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