Govt must start dialogue- Fakhrul: Ball in BNP's court- Nasim

Govt must start dialogue- Fakhrul: Ball in BNP’s court- Nasim

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It is the government that should reinitiate a dialogue, the BNP’s acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said.

His comment came as a response to senior Awami League leader Mohammad Nasim’s statement that the ball for dialogue is now in the Opposition’s court.

“Why should we call?” said Fakhrul in a press conference on Monday.

“The government has to start the discussion. Otherwise, we will be led to believe they do not have the sincerity or the wish for a dialogue.”

The 18-Party alliance is enforcing a 60-hour shutdown the BNP Chairperson announced from a rally Oct 25. Opposition chief Khaleda Zia had said they will enforce the strike if the government did not extend an offer for dialogue in two days.

The BNP has been campaigning for non-party poll-time government ever since the 15 amendment to the Constitution scrapped the caretaker provision.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called the BNP chief the next day, and after failing to reach her once, had a 37-minute conversation on Saturday.

Hasina invited the Leader of the Opposition for a dinner dialogue at Ganabhaban on Monday evening but Khaleda refused saying she will be ready only after the lockdown ended, much to the disappointment of the government leaders.

It is now for the BNP to take the initiative after they ignored Prime Minister’s call for a dinner dialogue, senior Awami League leader Mohammed Nasim has said.

The Awami League-led 14-Party alliance took this decision on Monday, following the BNP’s request for an invitation for talks once their 60-hour nationwide strike was over.

“The 14-Party has decided that the Opposition party will now have to take initiative for a dialogue after Oct 29,” Awami League leader Mohammad Nasim said at a press conference.

“They will have to call the Prime Minister to decide on the dialogue,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury had said on Sunday that the 14-Party alliance would decide whether or not to invite the BNP again after the opposition’s three-day strike.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had called Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia on Saturday evening, inviting her to talks over dinner and appealing for the withdrawal of the strike.

The BNP Chairperson had told the PM that it was not possible for her to put off the strike, but said she would be able to have a dialogue after the strike.

BNP leaders now seem eager to be invited again once the strike was over.

The BNP-led 18-Party opposition alliance is currently enforcing a nationwide 60-hour shutdown since Sunday. At least nine people have been killed in two days of relentless violence across the country.

The 14-Party alliance has called for countrywide protest rallies on Nov 1 against the killings and destruction.-bdnews24.com

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