At the outset, it is necessary to express a sense of relief at the passage of the elaborate programme of wayside rallies. That the massive mass contact did not cause any major traffic dislocation or an untoward incident means that it was on the whole well-managed. Kudos to the organizers. Even though it created inconvenience, even hardship to people, the programme, not being a hartal, went down well with the people. It has proved to be a good alternative to hartal and should be used as such.
The opposition leader has been most exhaustive with her comments on issues and persons as if releasing pent-up grievances against the government.
We are used to political rhetoric from our leaders but the opposition leader's comments on war crimes trial leave a clear impression of her siding with those accused in the trial. This is unfortunate on two counts: first, coming to terms with a deep scar in our national consciousness is being trifled with; and second, her obligations to the nation as an opposition leader in bringing justice to victims of crimes against humanity remain sadly unfulfilled.
Then her mixing up the war crimes trial with her vow to try Siraj Sikder's "killers" and make, in her own words, "war criminals" in Awami League face a trial characterises her negative attitude to trying the present set of accused of crimes against humanity. All this is a deliberate derogation of liberation war ethos which is not expected from a leader of her stature. Doubly unfortunate because there are freedom fighters within BNP and what is of great importance is her husband's call to arms at a crucial juncture in our liberation war.
On the caretaker issue, the dispute over party government versus non-party interim arrangement to hold election appears eminently solvable. The question boils down to 'a formula' on an interim government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has floated a formula, the leader of the opposition should spell out her own demand in a concrete form. Something is already there to begin with and then to build up on through discussion at informal or formal levels to hammer out a mutually acceptable solution.