Monday, January 09, 2012

Bangladesh opposition ultimatum for the government to quit

SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH MAIN opposition on Monday has set March 12 as deadline for the ruling alliance government to quit or they people would pull them down.

Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia at a public rally after the end of her 132 miles road march from the capital Dhaka to Chittagong in the south said that the ruling Awami League government’s time is up.

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalists Party’s objective of the road march was to drum up support for its demand to restore a caretaker government system for holding credible national election. The government, last year scrapped the neutral transition government from the constitution, allowing the elected government to oversee the election to the parliament.

At a cheering crowd, the former prime minister and BNP chief Zia urged prime minister Shiekh Hasina, “Your popularity has come down to zero level. Without resisting our future program, quit power and test your popularity by giving elections under a non-party caretaker government.”

Khaleda twice elected as prime minister insisted that the next general elections must be held under a non-party caretaker authority and said, “It is not possible to hold impartial elections under Awami League and we won’t allow any election without the caretaker government.”


The opposition leader announced a million people march to the capital on March 12 to realize their demand for restoration of care-taker government. The tenure of the present government will end in December of 2013.


Some three thousand vehicles joined the road march, which clogged the main commercial highway from the industrial area in the central to the port city Chittagong. Millions of bus passengers plying between small towns were stranded in the highway, the embedded journalists described.

Praising past three heads of caretaker governments were honest and held a free, fair and credible elections. However, she dubbed the last military backed caretaker government as illegal and unconstitutional.


Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com