Eminent civil society members, while talking to Pankaj Karmakar and Prabir Barua Chowdhury, said the telephone conversation between the prime minister and the opposition leader had brightened the possibility of talks.
The noted lawyer considers it as a winning situation for the Awami League as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself had rang up the opposition chief before the latter made any call.
The conversation will help the ruling party get advantage in future, he said. “The total conversation is positive for the political culture of Bangladesh.”
Rafique-ul continued, “The ruling Awami League is in a good position as it gave a proposal for all-party government before, and it will reap the benefits of today’s call, and will get mileage in the field of politics in future.”
He criticised the BNP and said it would be a great advantage for it if it had withdrawn its shutdown.
AKBAR ALI KHAN
Welcoming the initiative of the prime minister, the former adviser to a caretaker government said the phone conversation between the chiefs of the ruling and the opposition parties is a positive sign towards brightening the possibility of discussion.
But a meaningful dialogue would be held only when both the parties will sacrifice something from their respective sides.
But the environment for talks is deteriorating day by day; and the ruling party and the opposition are blaming each other for this.
The BNP, for example, is accusing the government of harassing and torturing its leaders and activists whereas the Awami League is accusing the opposition of unleashing violence.
Regarding hartal, he said after the PM’s invitation, the BNP could have withdrawn the 60-hour hartal. The AL also would have to sacrifice something on its part to persuade the BNP to withdraw the hartal.
Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, said the conversation was positive.
She, however, expressed her frustration as the opposition chief disagreed about withdrawing the shutdown.
“She [Khaleda] told the alliance rally that they would withdraw the hartal if the government invited them to a dialogue. But we don’t find any positive declaration for us over the hartal,” she mentioned.
Thanking Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her initiative, Sultana Kamal said the opposition leader should also come forward in the same manner to find a way out of the ongoing political crisis.
Politicians would have to shoulder the responsibility for any negative consequences of their politics in the country, she warned.
SYED ABUL MAKSUD
Eminent columnist Syed Abul Maksud said the conversation was an auspicious start for holding meaningful talks between the two parties to end the ongoing political deadlock.
“I hope they (PM and opposition leader) will take a forward-looking initiative and there will be a fruitful ending,” he said, adding that the whole nation, which remains in uncertainty, had expected a political consensus.
The 60-hour hartal is completely irrational and severely troublesome for people, he observed.
“In my opinion, the BNP can enforce hartal for Sunday only. They should sit for talks with the prime minister on Monday and withdraw hartal of the next two days, having a fruitful negotiation,” he said.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman welcomed both the prime minister and the opposition leader for holding a conversation.
“I think it is an outstanding opportunity and both the parties should take the opportunity to have fruitful talks to overcome the political crisis,” he said.
“If they miss the chance, I do not know whether such an opportunity will come again. If the political deadlock cannot be ended through discussion, it will not be good for democracy, the country and the people,” he added.
Regarding the much-talked-about hartal, he said the opposition should reconsider its decision of enforcing the hartal as an opportunity had been created for dialogue.
SYED MANZOORUL ISLAM
Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam, an eminent litterateur and academic at the department of English of Dhaka University, believes that the telephone conversation has opened the door of dialogue, which might resolve the ongoing political crisis.
“It may be the last bus for negotiation; if we miss it, the country will suffer a lot,” said Manzoorul Islam.
He criticised the main opposition BNP, as it did not withdraw the hartal.
He said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia did not withdraw the hartal showing the cause that the alliance leaders were staying at different places.
But we know that she is the supreme power of the alliance and has the power to withdraw the shutdown.
He urged the opposition chief to show respect to the prime minister on her initiative. He also advised it not to procrastinate over the dialogue, and requested it to accept the invitation as early as possible.
He suggested that both the parties do not set any pre-condition before the dialogue.