Lift emergency for a meaningful poll | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2008

Lift emergency for a meaningful poll

Hasina demands in London

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina has demanded lifting of the state of emergency ahead of the parliamentary election saying, emergency rule becomes meaningless if enforced for a prolonged period.
"The emergency should be lifted for the sake of a meaningful election expected by all," she told a seminar on 'Bangladesh: Future of Democracy and Human Rights' in the auditorium of British House of Lords on Thursday, reported American News Agency.
She said emergency was necessary in the post 1/11 situation, but it should be lifted before the election scheduled for December 18.
President Iajuddin Ahmed imposed the emergency after Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government had assumed office on January 11 last year following a spate political violence in the country.
The former prime minister said the government announced relaxation of the emergency, but 'the matter was not clear'.
Under the circumstances, political parties are not being able to carry out their political activities, which she said, will hamper the process of parties' registration with the Election Commission (EC).
Hasina, who is now on parole and is expected to return home by the end of this month, said the parliamentary poll should be held on schedule.
”Bangladeshi citizens at home and abroad should work to that end," she added and also sought assistance from the international community in that regard.
The AL chief alleged that Bangladesh has been held hostage by an 'invisible agent' since January 11, 2007. "The country can't run on suggestions of an agent," she quipped.
Condemning the government's anti-graft drive, she said the drive against corruption virtually became a drive against politicians, an effort that already proved to be futile.
After the seminar, Hasina also answered various questions from journalist for the first time since she had been released from detention on a government executive order on June 11.
She however avoided a question about the much talked about expected dialogue between her and her traditional political archrival BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Leader of the British parliamentary human rights group, Lord Eric Avebury, in collaboration with International Bangladesh Foundation organised the seminar attended by leaders of the London units of BNP and AL.
Attending the seminar, members of the British parliament expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Bangladesh. They emphasised on good governance and accountability in government administration for improving the situation.
Hasina's special assistant also AL's Foreign and Environment Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud, the party's London unit President Shamsuddin Khan, the unit's General Secretary Professor Abul Hashem and Senior Vice-president Councillor Mostafa Qureshi, AL's Canada unit President Sorwar Hossain, and BNP's British unit President Kamar Uddin also attended the seminar.
Kamar Uddin also demanded withdrawal of the emergency and urged the international community not to send election observers if the poll is held amid the emergency. He also said the 'minus two formula' should be left in the hands of the people.

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