Bangladesh interim regime planning to launch party: Zia

June 26th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 26 (IANS) Bangladesh’s caretaker government is planning to launch its own party of hand-picked people to contest elections, jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia alleged Thursday. “The caretaker government plans to form a party consisting of its hand-picked people, get them elected and wants to sit in power,” she was quoted as saying by The Star Online.

Efforts by Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed’s government to encourage politicians to launch parties - despite emergency curbs - have not taken off.

Nobel laureate economist Muhammad Yunus announced plans to launch a new party early last year, but backed out after the Ahmed regime took office in January 2007, calling off the general elections amidst political turmoil.

Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and her rival Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League are among the mainstream parties opposed to the civic polls slated for Aug 4.

“We want to participate in elections, but the government must create the enabling environment and prove its neutrality,” Zia said.

Demanding that the emergency be lifted, Zia said parliament elections were held several times under caretaker governments in the past without there being an emergency, reported United News of Bangaldesh (UNB) news agency.

The military-backed government has not heeded to this demand, but has promised partial lifting of curbs for the civic polls.

Both Zia and Hasina have argued that civic polls should be held after parliament elections. They claim the caretaker government has no mandate to hold civic polls.

While Hasina left for the US for medical treatment earlier this month, Zia stayed on. But she wants her ailing sons, Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko, to be freed and sent abroad for medical treatment.

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