Awami League promises south Asian task force on terrorism

December 12th, 2008 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 12 (IANS) Bangladesh’s Awami League (AL) promised initiative on a south Asian task force on terrorism and friendly ties with immediate neighbours India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar in its election manifesto unveiled Friday. While there are references to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), other members, including Pakistan against which the party led the freedom movement 37 years ago, do not find a mention in the poll manifesto.

Besides the initiative against terrorism, “deepening of ties” with Australia, South East Asian and Pacific nations, consolidating relations with the developed world and China as well as solidarity with the Muslim Ummah under the Organisation of Islamic Countries have been envisaged if the party that ruled during 1972-75 and 1996-2001 was returned to power, The Star Online said.

Party chief Sheikh Hasina unveiled her party’s election manifesto “Din Bodoler Nirbachoni Ishtehar 2008″ (Charter for Change) Friday as campaign for the Dec 29 poll gained momentum.

The AL pledged to put the issues such as price-cuts of daily essential commodities, trial of war criminals, energy security, boosting power generation and rooting out militancy on top priority if voted to power.

Hasina also put emphasis on education, eradication of poverty and health sectors in its “Vision 2021″, The Star Online said.

She called the manifesto the Awami League’s “Vision for 2021″ and said: “When Bangladesh reaches 50 years as an independent nation, this will be an instrument to end poverty.”

“Keeping the world economic recession in mind, the AL would form a task force to consecutively work on it,” the former prime minister said.

“In order to convert to a Digital Bangladesh, our party will take all the necessary steps to make it happen,” she said.

Hasina asked young voters, who would cast their votes for the first time, to select her party for country’s bright future.

Fighting corruption, trial of those who opposed the liberation war of 1971 and ensuring rights and security of the religious minorities were among the other major planks of the party.

The alliance led by the AL boycotted the ninth general election that were eventually called off in January last year after weeks of turmoil.

Hasina had welcomed the emergence of a military-backed caretaker government that took office, but turned critical when she was accused of graft and jailed for nearly a year.

The manifesto listed both the failures and achievements of the caretaker government of Chief Adivsor Fakhruddin and promised to continue with the reforms that have been ushered in the last 23 months.

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