Zia doesn’t want Dhaka to get onto Asian Highway

May 26th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, May 26 (IANS) Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia has opposed the government’s move to join the Asian Highway, reiterating her stand that this would mean Dhaka conceding a “corridor” to neighbour India.
This signals the opposition leader’s further confrontation with the Sheikh Hasina government that is seeking to end isolation and sign a pact to join the project sponsored by the UN’s Economic and Social Council for Asia Pacific (ESCAP).

Zia appealed Monday to “patriotic forces” to thwart efforts by “foreign powers” to “grab” Bangladesh.

Any access to India to reach its north-eastern region is a sensitive issue in Bangladesh and Zia’s government had mooted alternative routes to the ones charted by the UN body.

Bangladesh missed the deadline to join the project as the UN body insisted that Dhaka first ratify the treaty before proposing any changes in the highway that connects Bulgaria in Europe to Thailand in Southeast Asia.

Since Hasina won a landslide victory and Zia lost badly in last December’s election, confrontation has been building up on many issues.

Hasina’s response has been tough.

She warned the opposition that her government would not tolerate ‘destructive’ activities in the name of politics.

“Of course, the opposition can carry on their political activities as it is their democratic right, but they must hold their programmes with permission from the authorities concerned and without causing sufferings to the common people,” an official quoted Hasina as saying, New Age newspaper reported Tuesday.

Political analysts say Zia is building up the mood among her cadres protesting moves by the government to evict her from her home.

Law minister Shafique Ahmed Monday threatened that the government would take legal action against Zia if she failed to vacate her house at Dhaka Cantonment.

Zia has been living in a colonial-style bungalow in the cantonment for over three decades.

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