Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Prof Iftekharuzzaman on Saturday said the telephonic conversation between two top leaders has opened up a ‘bright and big chance’ for an amicable solution, and there will be nothing left except uncertainty if this chance is squandered.
“It’s a big and bright chance indeed. It’s apparently the last chance. If the invitation (PM’s) is finally rejected by the opposition, I see no good for the nation and democracy ahead,” Prof Zaman told UNB over phone.
He said the decision of the BNP chairperson not to accept Monday’s invitation requires reconsideration if she finally rejects the Prime Minister’s offer. “A decision should be taken considering the national interest.” Responding to a question, the TIB Chief said, “I think still there’s time. She can change the decision and withdraw the hartal.”
If not, Prof Zaman said, the prospect of a solution to the political crisis will remain unresolved pushing the country into confrontation on the streets. “If it happens, it’s difficult to say what will be the consequences. But the progress towards democracy will be impeded no doubt.”
Terming the telephonic conversation between two top leaders historic, Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder said it will be ‘unfortunate’ if BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia does not accept the invitation. “It won’t be a right decision. If she doesn’t accept the invitation, it’ll be unfortunate. I hope, all will show their goodwill,” Majumder told UNB over phone.
He said political problems should be resolved through democratic process — discussions with all, exchange of opinion and compromise. Majumder also said it will be very difficult to protect democracy if the door for discussion is closed. Responding to a question, he said it is a historic event that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia talked to each other over phone for nearly 40 minutes. “I hope they will take further steps through discussions.”
BNP senior leader Abdullah Al Noman said he does not see anything negative as the BNP chief is ready for talks after hartal. “There should be specific agenda for dialogue.” Earlier, in the evening, Hasina phoned Opposition Leader and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia over cellphone requesting her to withdraw their three-day hartal and meet her at Ganobhaban over dinner on Monday for talks over the election-time cabinet.
The much-awaited phone call was made around 6:20 pm after a daylong drama over the telephonic conversation. The Prime Minister urged the opposition leader to withdraw the hartal, and invited her to dinner at Ganobhaban on Monday. However, BNP apparently rejected the invitation and preferred to sit in dialogue after hartal and in consultation with party leaders.
The Opposition will withdraw their plans for agitation if the government accepts in principle its demand for non-party government to oversee the next general election, said Maruf Kamal. – UNB