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Opposition rejects BNP-proposed negotiators, threatens agitation

Written by: Staff

Dhaka, Apr 29 (UNI) The proposed dialogue between the Bngladesh Government and the opposition on electoral reforms suffered a jolt as the 14-party combined opposition led by Awami League rejected the panel of negotiators appointed by the government as ''mockery'', and vowed to realise their demands through street agitation.

The opposition said the Government put organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami and Islamic Oikya Jote (IOJ) on the panel whom they had refused beforehand to sit with for their role against the country's liberation war and alleged links with religious extremism.

They observed that the Government ''is not sincere'' to introduce reforms to ensure free and fair elections.

Ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general and LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan yesterday named five negotiators, drawn from all four components of the ruling-alliance, including Jamaat and IOJ.

''By proposing such names (from Jamaat and IOJ) Mannan Bhuiyan has mocked and cheated the opposition. This letter proved that the Government is not sincere about implementation of the opposition's reform proposals,'' opposition Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil MP told reporters.

Mr Jalil, also the coordinator of the 14-party combination, said they would implement their reform proposals with people power on the street. ''No election would be possible without implementing the reform proposals.'' Criticising Mr Bhuiyan, who is known as one of the liberals in BNP, Mr Jalil regretted that the BNP secretary general didn't show minimum courtesy to the opposition.

''We will send the reply to Mannan Bhuiyan's Friday's letter as soon as possible, but it is not possible to sit with the patrons of the militancy and war criminals,'' he said.

He added that those who are war criminals, and have links with militancy, are on the five-member panel of negotiators from the government side and ''sitting with them means sitting with JMB kingpins Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai''.

Mr Jalil said they would resist any machinations of the coalition government to retain power through what they apprehend as election engineering.

The Awami League leader urged opposition leaders and workers to step up current anti-Government movement to compel it to reform the system of caretaker government and the election commission.


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