18-party calls off hartal
Responding to the prime minister's call, the BNP-led 18-party alliance has postponed its countrywide hartal tomorrow to facilitate uninterrupted rescue and relief operations for the Savar disaster victims.
It said the decision was also to create scope for all to stand united to face this national tragedy.
The opposition combine announced the postponement of the shutdown through a press release yesterday, signed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan.
“We hope the prime minister will respond to our calls in the greater interest of the nation, just as we are responding to hers in the nation's interest,” the alliance said.
Khaleda hoped the prime minister will take the initiative for a dialogue with the representatives of political parties on the formation of an impartial caretaker polls-time government.
Earlier on Saturday, the alliance called the hartal to protest the “killing of garment workers and the government's failure and inadequate action in rescuing the Savar victims”.
UNB adds: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday thanked the opposition for withdrawing the hartal.
She expressed her sincere thanks to the opposition as it responded to her call, PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.
Talking to journalists after visiting the building collapse victims at the Combined Military Hospital at Savar on Monday, Hasina said, “I would like to request the opposition to withdraw its May 2 hartal on humanitarian grounds.”
Top leaders of the business community also congratulated the 18-party for withdrawing its hartal.
The decision is a sign of farsightedness, said the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry in a statement.
Such an attitude will play a positive role in coping with any challenge through mutual understanding, the apex trade body said.
The 18-party press release said Rana Plaza was set up by grabbing a piece of land owned by a person from a minority community. And the administration and the local lawmaker were responsible for the "murders" of workers of garment factories housed in the building.
It also said the government should have arrested all those involved in the murders, including the local lawmaker, and brought them to justice.
The opposition alliance hoped the prime minister would take the initiative to ensure the highest punishment to Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza.
It criticised the government's refusal to accept offers of foreign aid for the Savar rescue operation.
The BNP chief expressed her gratitude to the general people for their participation in the rescue efforts.