Bangladesh government keeping Zia, Hasina out of polls: BNP

October 6th, 2008 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 6 (IANS) The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has accused the country’s caretaker government of still pursuing the “minus two formula” by keeping their leader Khaleda Zia and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina out of the political arena with polls just two months away. The party added that the government should withdraw the graft charges against the BNP chairperson to create an atmosphere conducive to holding elections.

“The BNP will not participate in any election without Khaleda Zia, and even those BNP members who took a reformist stance will not go to the hustings without her,” BNP joint secretary-general Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said.

Roy’s statement comes after the Anti-Corruption Commission last Wednesday approved the chargesheet against Zia and 15 others, many of them ministers in her government (2001-06), in a case that alleges irregularities and corruption in awarding the Barapukuria coalmine to a Chinese company.

Another court Sunday directed the military-backed government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed not to arrest Hasina against whom the ACC has been pressing charges.

Abroad for medical treatment, Hasina is on parole that ends Monday.

Political analysts say the government is using the charges, which the two former prime ministers reject as “political”, and the court cases as part of the carrot and stick policy to get them to fall in line with the plans to hold elections under the national emergency.

Parliamentary elections, which were called off in January last year, are now set to be held Dec 18, but the political parties want the emergency lifted before the polls.

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