Khaleda, Hossain Zillur hold closed door talks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2008

Khaleda, Hossain Zillur hold closed door talks

Dialogue, party registration deadline likely to be deferred; adviser may brief media today

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Commerce Adviser to the Caretaker Government Hossain Zillur Rahman had a closed door meeting yesterday evening in the former's Dhaka Cantonment residence.
Sources close to Khaleda told The Daily Star that as an outcome of the meeting the date of the dialogue between BNP and the government might be deferred by a day from its earlier schedule of October 15, and also the same date deadline for political parties' registration with the Election Commission (EC) might be extended by a week.
The sources also said the BNP chief and the government adviser discussed how to make the dialogue fruitful, BNP's participation in the upcoming parliamentary election, and post election maintenance of peace.
Hossain Zillur arrived at Khaleda's Shaheed Moinul Road residence at 7:45pm and left at 8:50pm to meet the chief adviser, sources said. No more detail about the meetings could be known immediately.
Mojibur Rahman, personal assistant to the commerce adviser, however told reporters waiting in front of the adviser's Dhanmondi residence at 10:15pm that his boss might brief the media about the meetings today.
A four-member team of advisers to the military backed caretaker government led by Hossain Zillur had met Khaleda in her residence for two hours once before, the day after her release from detention on September 11.
The other members of that delegation were LGRD Adviser Anwarul Iqbal, Communications Adviser Ghulam Quader, and Law Adviser Hassan Ariff.
Meanwhile, BNP is planning to brandish its popular support during its scheduled countrywide rallies on October 12 in an effort to mount pressure on the government for meeting its five-point charter of demands including lifting of the state of emergency, scrapping the latest amendments to the Representation of People Order (RPO), and easing of the criteria for parties' registration.
The party sources said now the main aim of the upcoming party programmes will be to force the government to lift the state of emergency, and it will take a firm position on the issue during the talk, as party leaders think many of their colleagues who are accused, detained, or convicted in cases will like to contest in the upcoming election if the emergency is lifted before submission of nominations.
"We are not against party registration, but the deadline for registration should be deferred as it will not harm the election process," said BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain while talking to reporters yesterday.
When asked about his four-party alliance colleague also the Jamaat ameer's comment that his party will amend the party constitution if need be, Delwar said the final decision will come after an alliance meeting.
He said BNP-led four-party alliance will take a joint decision about parties' registration and that meeting will be held after BNP's talk with the government.
He said a dialogue preparation committee, which met several times to chalk out the party's strategy, already finalised some proposals including lifting of the emergency, to be raised during the talk.
Meanwhile, other components of the four-party alliance said they are ready to register with the EC, but are waiting for the alliance's joint decision.
"We want to register, but the criteria should be relaxed," said Bangladesh Jatiya Party Secretary General Shamim Al Mamun, adding that they will follow the decision of the alliance.
Meantime, BNP Standing Committee Member Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiky urged his party leaders and activists to unite the people under the leadership of BNP 'to restore democracy'.
Tanbir said a new autocrat has emerged in the country due to mistakes of politicians.
"Why Ershad's party was not banned after the downfall of the autocratic regime?....It was a mistake of the politicians and an example of their lack of foresight," he added saying, that mistake is responsible for the current situation.
He went on, "Had BNP taken the right decision and banned Ershad's party in 1991, the current situation would not be like what it is now.”

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