Vol. 5 Num 892 Thu. November 30, 2006  
Front Page

Iajuddin wants to open talks with alliances
Sends Mokhles to Hasina, Khaleda

In a dramatic move late last night to resolve the current political deadlock, President and Chief Adviser Iajuddin Ahmed sought to initiate a dialogue with the two major political alliances led by Awami League (AL) and BNP.

Iajuddin sent his Adviser Mokhlesur Rahman to AL President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to discuss different burning issues, including possibility of rescheduling the election date.

Mokhles met Sheikh Hasina at her Sudha Sadan residence and conveyed the president's message that he is ready to sit with the chiefs of the two major political parties to reach a consensus over rescheduling the polls.

"I conveyed the president's message to Hasina in light of the Election Commission secretary's remark that change of election schedule is possible if there is a consensus among the political parties," Mokhles told reporters after the meeting.

"On behalf of the president, I asked Sheikh Hasina if she will be willing to sit for a dialogue with him over rescheduling of the election schedule," he said, adding that the AL chief gave a verbal message for the president.

Mokhles, however, declined to elaborate any of the matters discussed in his one-hour meeting with Hasina.

Asked if he discussed the 14-party alliance's threat of blockade programme, he said he discussed the whole gamut of issues regarding the current political crisis.

The AL-led 14-party alliance had earlier rejected the election schedule immediately after its announcement on Monday and issued an ultimatum to the president demanding rescheduling it or face another blockade from Sunday.

The 14-party alliance has also been agitating in the streets demanding reconstitution of the Election Commission by removing the "controversial" election commissioners, resignation of the chief adviser, correction and publication of the updated voter list, and depoliticisation of the administration.

The 14-party alliance, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led Jatiya Oikya Front and a few other Islamic political parties will stage sit-in demonstrations around the Bangabhaban today--for the second time in a week--to press home their demands.

Mokhles rushed from Sudha Sadan to Hawa Bhaban where he held a meeting with BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for about half an hour.

Refusing to divulge the two leaders' reply to the president's offer of a dialogue, Mokhles said, "After discussions with both the leaders [Khaleda and Hasina], the president will discuss the matter with the council of advisers and take the final decision."