Hasina criticised over deals with India, US

February 8th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 8 (IANS) Ahead of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Bangladesh, the opposition has flayed the government for its plans to sign key agreements with India and the US.
The threat by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) was reported Sunday, a day before Mukherjee arrives her on official visit.

The Sheikh Hasina government Saturday held talks with Richard Boucher, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, to discuss the Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) it plans to sign.

During Mukherjee’s trip Monday, a trade treaty would be renewed for three years. Dhaka has said it would work out details to provide transit facilities to New Delhi to help it reach its northeastern region.

The BNP threatened to unleash a movement against the proposed agreements which it said violated national interests, the New Age said Sunday.

A Jamaat leader said: “It’s not mere transit. India wants corridor (to its eastern states) in the name of transit agreement. Providing the corridor will seriously threaten the national security.”

Boucher met BNP chief and two-term former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia. The TIFA did not come up during their talk.

The Daily Star took the BNP to task for its anti-India propaganda ahead of Mukherjee’s visit.

“Why is the BNP playing a game to mislead the public?” the paper said in an editorial. “Whenever it comes to dealing with India, why must we betray a lack of conviction in doing something that is intrinsically proper, customary in inter-state relations and historically sound?”

The opposition has also been exercised about the Hasina government’s proposal to set up a Regional Task Force on Terrorism to which Boucher lent support Saturday.

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