Dhaka offers emergency withdrawal to lure parties to polls

November 15th, 2008 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 15 (IANS) HOlding out an attractive bait to parties evading poll participation, Bangladesh’s caretaker government Saturday said it was considering lifting curbs on their campaign with full withdrawal of the state of emergency. This could be done well before the Dec 18 poll, “provided the election environment flourishes in appropriate manner”, Commerce Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said at a hurriedly called media conference.

Full withdrawal of the 23-month-old state of emergency is the unanimous demand of the political parties, but the government has so far said it was continuing it for security reasons.

Rahman, a key negotiator on behalf of the military-backed government, said further relaxation of the emergency rules on completion of the nomination process was also under consideration.

“The government is determined to successfully overcome the final phase towards holding of Dec 18 parliamentary elections,” he was quoted as saying by United News of Bangladesh (UNB).

The adviser (minister) apparently explained the government’s stance in view of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)’s repeated complaint that despite the assurance of meeting six of their seven-point demands, the government has yet to implement any of them.

The BNP has made acceptance of all its seven demands a pre-condition to participating in the polls.

However, the government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed has committed to the Supreme Court and to the world community, particularly the donor nations, that it would hold an all-in credible poll within this year.

Meeting media at the chief advisor’s office and flanked by other key interlocutors — Anwarul Iqbal, Hassan Ariff and Maj. Gen. (retd) Ghulam Quader — Rahman said the government had reached a consensus on withdrawing national emergency.

“We have reached consensus with different political parties, including the BNP and Awami League, during dialogues that the state of emergency cannot continue indefinitely,” Star Online said.

The emergency was imposed in January last year and the parliamentary poll was cancelled after months of turmoil.

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