Vol. 5 Num 1112 Tue. July 17, 2007  
Front Page

Unfortunate, unnecessary
Observe political leaders

Political leaders yesterday said the arrest of Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina is unfortunate and unnecessary.

The AL in its official reaction said the present government has arrested Hasina to implement its "minus two" formula.

Reformists and the leaders loyal to Hasina blamed each other for the present consequences of the AL and the arrest of the party chief.

Meanwhile, Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain and Jatiya Party Acting Chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud refrained from making any comment on Hasina's arrest.

"We are saddened by the arrest of a leader like Hasina. It is very much unexpected. The target of her arrest is to separate her from the AL leaders and workers," AL Acting President Zillur Rahman told reporters at his Gulshan residence in the city. Hasina appointed Zillur as the party chief just before her arrest.

Demanding immediate release of the former prime minister, Zillur Rahman said the arrest is also aimed at harassing and humiliating her.

"I call upon the countrymen, AL leaders and the activists to be united and wage a movement for her release," he said.

Eminent jurist Dr Kamal said he could not make any comment without studying the case.

Asked if the arrest of Hasina is part of "minus two" formula, Dr Kamal said he did not want to speak on this matter. "We talked much on it...I don't want to talk any more."

AL leader Motia Chowdhury said Sheikh Hasina has been arrested because the so-called reformists will have no footing in their mission if Sheikh Hasina is active with her agenda in politics.

AL presidium member Abdur Razzak termed Hasina's arrest as 'sad'. But the way Motia Chowdhury is making comments and blaming the reformists is very unexpected and unnecessary, Razzak said.

"There are differences between the AL President Sheikh Hasina and the reformists but we all are for reforms in the party. But Motia's intentional comments involving the senior AL leaders is pushing the party towards divisions, which is mysterious," he said in a press release.

He called upon the leaders and the activists of all levels to be united to protect the party from the present situation.

AL leader Abu Sayeed said AL had taken resolution to support and cooperate the present caretaker government. But the dispute began because of flattery and ill suggestions made by the leaders like Motia Chowdhury to the party chief Sheikh Hasina, he viewed.

"Today's arrest is the consequence of such ill suggestions," Sayeed said adding there was no need to oppose the reformists, as the party chief herself wants reforms. The leaders circling Hasina has actually separated her from the others, he noted.

BNP Joint Secretary General Ashraf Hossain said, "We heard that she has been arrested but don't know more than that."

It is only the government who knew why Hasina was arrested, Ashraf said while replying to reporters queries following his meeting with the BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan.

When asked about the fear of BNP leaders and workers regarding the possible arrests of Khaleda Zia and Mannan Bhuiyan, Ashraf said, "The government knows it. I don't know anything."

BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan cancelled his briefing on the Election Commission's election roadmap scheduled for yesterday.

Expressing deep concern over Hasina's arrest, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haque Inu said the arrest was unnecessary.

"Sheikh Hasina is a top leader in our country. So steps should be taken through proper investigation if there are any allegations against her," he told The Daily Star adding, "Otherwise there are chances of creation of confusions in people's mind.

"She was under control of the authority. So arrest was not necessary at all," he said.

Terming the arrest as 'unfortunate' Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said it will create new confusion among the people's mind about the democracy though people got relieved seeing the roadmap announced by the Election Commission.

He smelt political intention of the caretaker government behind the arrest. Issuance of arrest warrant was enough in such cases, he said.

"Some people like Jamaat leader Mujahid are moving freely in and outside the country though cases of same nature were filed against them," Menon said.

Question will be raised about the ongoing anti-corruption drive if the government mixes up the corrupt with the politicians.

Communist Party of Bangladesh General Secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim said the legal procedures should be transparent if Hasina is arrested on charges of corruption. "All the information must be made public."

He said it would be undemocratic if Hasina were arrested to implement the political motives of the government.