Dialogue starts Thursday with small parties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 20, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 20, 2008

Dialogue starts Thursday with small parties

AL, BNP still undecided

The much-awaited dialogue between the caretaker government and the political parties begins Thursday with some small parties sitting first to discuss reforms and ways to hold a free and fair election.
So far, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Liberal Democratic Party and some other small parties have sent names of their party leaders to represent the respective parties in the dialogue.
Meanwhile, the two major parties of the country Awami League (AL) and BNP are still “undecided” over taking part in the dialogue, which will be held at the Chief Adviser's Office.
Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will lead a panel of advisers at the dialogue.
Sources in the parties said they would discuss a range of issues in the dialogue although the invitation letter mentioned that the CA's address should be taken as a guideline about the agenda of the dialogue.
The release of former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia and complete lifting of the state of emergency are also expected to dominate the dialogue.
Talking to reporters yesterday, AL Acting General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said though the government has sent them invitation, nothing is mentioned about the time and place of the dialogue.
AL received the invitation letter Sunday.
“Only names and telephone numbers of five to seven party leaders have been asked by the government,” he said after a meeting of the AL presidium held at the acting party chief Zillur Rahman's Gulshan house in the capital.
Talking to The Daily Star, AL presidium members Suranjit Sengupta and Motia Chowdhury said they would take decision about participating in the dialogue with the government on recommendations of the party's extended meeting to be held on May 26.
Participation of pro-Khaleda faction of BNP in the talks has become uncertain as the BNP chairperson appointed Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain rejected the government invitation yesterday.
Meanwhile, Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, acting secretary general of the reformist faction, said that they are yet to decide about joining the talks. He received the government invitation Sunday night.
Following the chief adviser's address to the nation, the government invited six parties on May 13. The next day, 13 more parties were invited to the dialogue.

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