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Swearing-in of Bangla caretaker head not set

Written by: Staff

Dhaka, Oct 28: A time for swearing in Bangladesh's caretaker administrator, former chief justice K M Hasan, has yet to be set because of his illness, a presidential spokesman said late tonight.

Hasan was due to take over from Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia on Saturday, at the end of her five-year rule.

''We could not fix a time for his swearing in yet because he is ill. But we are ready,'' said the spokesman.

Six people were killed and nearly 200 injured in countrywide violence today during protests by opposition parties over the choice of Hasan, who they say was once linked to Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The caretaker authority will supervise elections in January.

Abdul Jalil, general secretary of main opposition party Awami League, said earlier today that he believed Hasan would refuse to become the head of the interim government in the wake of the protests.

A 14-party opposition alliance led by Awami chief Sheikh Hasina has threatened to paralyse the country by blocking highways and calling indefinite strikes if Hasan takes over from Khaleda.

The opposition also urged President Iajuddin Ahmed not to swear in Hasan to ''save the country from a worse political crisis.'' ''We hope K M Hasan will be able to assess the gravity of the situation,'' and turn down the caretaker job, said another Awami leader Tofayel Ahmed.


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