Time not ripe to lift emergency: Bangladesh’s interim government

July 22nd, 2008 - 1:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 22 (IANS) Resisting pressure from political parties to lift emergency, head of Bangladesh’s interim government has said the time was not yet ripe, “as some reasons still exist, justifying its enforcement”. “We want to proceed towards complete withdrawal of the state of emergency by relaxing it in phases. Our experience will tell what needs to be done,” Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, who performs prime ministerial functions in the caretaker government, told media Monday.

Ahmed, however, said the emergency has been eased on the eve of the city corporation and municipality elections to allow elections. The government will evaluate the working of relaxed curbs during the polls.

His latest statement apparently rules out demands from political parties for immediate lifting of the emergency so they could politically prepare for the coming elections, The Daily Star newspaper said Tuesday.

Asked if the caretaker government wants to neutralise party activities by keeping the emergency in force, the chief adviser denied the charge, saying: “We do not want to neutralise political activities and we don’t have such intention as the caretaker government is not rival to any party.”

Asked about detained former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s release, Ahmed said she could avail medical treatment at home or abroad.

“The process is on. Everything is on track - release is possible. Release can take place by combining the legal and humanitarian aspects,” he was quoted as saying by the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency.

The government has been engaging political parties in a dialogue to prepare for the parliament polls in December. Points of disagreement with some, including the Awami League, have merged. Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has kept away.

Ahmed said: “We want participation of all parties in the dialogue and we want to go to elections along with all.”

To that end, the government has in the recent weeks facilitated the bail or parole of a number of leaders. Former prime minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina is undergoing treatment in the US.

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