OUT of seven BNP leaders picked up earlier, three have been detained while four let off. With this, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's call to the opposition leader for talks in the sequel to the controversial 10th JS election carries but little conviction.
Against this backdrop, we think the argument is reinforced for the government to release imprisoned BNP leaders, withdraw cases filed against them, or enlarge them on bail, open the central and other offices of BNP and let the opposition leader function freely out of her confinement. These are imperatives the ruling party must address, particularly after the election, to create opportunities for engagement with the opposition. The ruling party has everything to gain from these measures rather than lose. For, these steps will bear testimony to the PM's sincerity to end the political crisis and defuse tension.
At the same time, the opposition leader should withdraw her blockade and hartal programmes now that an election, howsoever tainted, has been held and the scene set for a fresh beginning in approach to the stand-off.
Needless to say, the opposition's violent programmes have kept public life paralysed, causing enormous damage to the economy, spilling blood of scores of innocent people caught in the crossfire of vengeful politics. And it is not only for the sake of constructive engagement with the government, but also for their own sake that such mindless acts of violence and destruction have to be stopped forthwith.