BNP reunification move on the rocks again | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 17, 2008

BNP reunification move on the rocks again

Just when reunification of BNP seemed only a matter of time, a cloud of uncertainty formed over the process again.
The uncertainty was created by pro-Khaleda faction chief Khandaker Delwar Hossain's intransigence over making a joint public statement with the rival faction, and his insistence that pro-Saifur faction makes a public announcement nullifying its founding meeting, even before the next reunification meeting of the feuding factions, according to sources.
Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, acting secretary general of pro-Saifur faction, yesterday at a news briefing in his Banani residence said a scheduled meeting between the two factions did not take place on Thursday because Khaleda loyalists cancelled the meeting at the eleventh hour, saying the reunification process had been 'suspended' on their part 'for the time being'.
Detained Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Adviser Brig Gen (retd) ASM Hannan Shah, who is also a key leader of Delwar-led faction, however claimed yesterday that senior leaders of both factions had reached a consensus for reunification over the phone. "Some formalities still remain to be taken care of, but reunification is now only a matter of time," he told reporters in his New DOHS residence in the capital.
"Some doubts might still be there in a few leaders' minds, which will also be dispelled soon. Reunification is a must before the death anniversary of party's founder Ziaur Rahman on May 30," he added.
Meanwhile, Hafiz said seven leaders from pro-Khaleda faction and five from his group were scheduled to meet in a restaurant in the capital at 3:00pm on Thursday for hammering out the last minute details of reunification. Hannan Shah, Nazrul Islam Khan, and Goyeswar Roy of pro-Khaleda faction had been a part of scheduling the meeting, but finally the faction cancelled it just minutes before the schedule.
He also said, "We were ready to meet, but just a few minutes before the schedule they informed us that the reunification process had been suspended for the time being."
Hafiz also expressed his frustration over the remarks Delwar had made on Thursday night.
While addressing leaders of Manikganj Bar Association and of BNP in his Nam flat in the capital on Thursday night, Delwar said there is no need for meetings with their rival faction at this point for reunification, and added that Saifur loyalists may clarify their position to the nation if they want.
He also said, "I don't know exactly what they [pro-Saifur leaders] are saying about reunification, but our position is clear, which is, all except the expelled individuals may work for the reunited party remaining in their posts."
"It hurt us! I think a certain quarter doesn't want to see a reunited BNP, this is nothing but a conspiracy," Hafiz said commenting on Delwar's remarks, adding that his faction wanted to reunite the party unconditionally.
Replying to a question he said Saifur loyalists will continue their efforts to reunite the party, because otherwise the consequences might be disastrous for the organisation.
When asked whether their faction will participate separately in the upcoming dialogues with the government, Hafiz said they will take a decision regarding the matter if they get an invitation, but hoped that the party will be reunited before that.
Hafiz yesterday discussed reunification with former lawmakers of the party, and later talked to pro-Khaleda leader Hannan Shah over the phone regarding the matter.
Party insiders said pro-Saifur leaders Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, Maj (retd) Hafiz and Abdul Alim, and pro-Khaleda leaders Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah, Nazrul Islam Khan and Ghoyeswer Chandra Roy held a series of meetings over the last few days to find out a way for reuniting the party.
They also prepared a draft charter for reunification which stipulated that pro-Saifur leaders will cancel their founding meeting of October 29, 2007 which appointed Saifur and Hafiz as acting chairman and acting secretary general respectively.
Hafiz even agreed to Delwar's demand that the detained chairperson will decide the fate of expelled leaders including former secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, whose expulsions preceded the formation of pro-Saifur faction.
On Wednesday, leaders of both factions held a series of meetings to review the draft charter for reunification, and they were satisfied with the result as major differences between the factions had been resolved and reconciliation seemed 'only a matter of time'.
Following Wednesday's elation, Khaleda loyalist booked a restaurant for Thursday's cancelled meeting, and also met Delwar for his directives for the upcoming talk with rival leaders.
Delwar however rejected outright the idea of another meeting, saying Saifur loyalists must nullify their October 29 founding meeting before sitting again with his faction.

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