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Begum Zia asks India to respect ‘aspiration’ of Bangladeshis Email this page
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DHAKA: Bangladesh’s main opposition leader and former premier Khaleda Zia has asked India to “respect the aspirations” of the majority people of her country, which is facing political uncertainty over the next general elections.
“I call upon our influential neighboring country India and its people to express their solidarity with the feelings and expectation of the majority people of Bangladesh as the rest of the world community has done,” Zia, the head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), said in a statement.

Zia’s remarks were an apparent reference to the standoff between the BNP and the Awami League over the January 5 general elections and the world community’s efforts to end the political crisis and ensure free and fair polls.

However, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who recently visited Dhaka for talks with Bangladeshi leaders, has said India will not “broker any deal or mediate” among the rival parties.

Zia thanked western countries, China and Japan for trying their best to break the political deadlock in Bangladesh.

“I thank the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, China and Japan and the European Union and other friendly countries as they have continued to call for a consensus to resolve the crisis.”

She also thanked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his efforts to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Bangladesh.

Zia said new hopes have been created among people as the feuding divides agreed to sit for talks. She, however, accused the government of creating the political impasse to hit hard the country’s industries, commerce and economy.

“I expect they (government) will move forward to the path of peace and understanding taking into consideration people’s expectations and giving up stubbornness,” Zia said in the statement late yesterday.

The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance has launched a series of protests, demanding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and the postponement of the polls.

Last month, the Awami League formed a multi-party interim government to conduct the polls. The opposition alliance has sought the formation of a non-party caretaker set-up, saying polls under Hasina’s watch will not be free and fair.

Former military ruler H M Ershad, whose Jatiya Party is a key ally of the Awami League, has announced his party will boycott the polls due to the lack of a proper atmosphere.

Ban’s emissary Oscar Fernandez-Taranco left Dhaka on Wednesday after getting the Awami League and the BNP to agree on negotiations aimed at ending the deadlock.

A four-member delegation each from both parties took part in a two-hour meeting yesterday in the presence of Taranco, who was on a special mission to Bangladesh to end the uncertainty.–PTI

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