Government plotting to form dummy parliament, says Khaleda Zia aide

May 25th, 2008 - 11:15 am ICT by admin  

Dhaka, May 25 (IANS) Bangladesh’s military-backed interim government is planning to form “a dummy parliament” through “farcical elections”, a top political aide of jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia has said. Senior politician Khandaker Delwar Hossain, secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), said Saturday there were “conspiracies” to get Zia and other major politicians, now in jail, involved in prolonged court battles to keep them out of the elections promised for December.

Hossain alleged that the Election Commission too was part of this since it had suggested changes in the constitution and forming of a bicameral legislature.

Bangladesh’s is a unitary form of government and a single-house parliament.

Elections to parliament were called off amidst turmoil in January last year.

Hossain’s criticism of the military-backed government came even as his leader, in jail since last September, denied any wrongdoing in awarding a mining contract in Barakpukuria.

In a first in the government’s drive against corruption, Zia, along with her political rival Sheikh Hasina, also in jail, is set to face trial next week in another case for awarding of an oil contract to a Canadian firm.

Hossain’s broadside against the government came even as the latter resumed its political dialogue after the weekend break, inviting the left-leaning Jatiya Samajtantrik Party for talks.

Major parties, Zia’s BNP and Hasina’s Awami league (AL) are as yet non-committal to attending these talks. Their officials have sought unconditional release of the two women leaders as a precondition.

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