BNP, allies to boycott President's JS speech
The opposition parties - BNP, Jatiya Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote - have also decided not to attend future meetings of the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee.
These decisions clearly indicate that the differences between the government and opposition have widened further. The opposition parties have also toughened their stance and are proceeding towards a point of no return, said a top leader of BNP.
The two important decisions were taken at a meeting of the "Liaison Committee" held at 29 Minto Road with BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan in the chair.
Sources in the opposition said the decisions were finalised on Thursday when opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia held a series of meetings with the representatives of JP, Jamaat, IOJ and other smaller parties of the earlier formed 7-party alliance led by BNP.
Earlier, on Wednesday Begum Zia held an exclusive meeting with President Shahabuddin Ahmed. Bangabhaban sources said the meeting started at 7:15 pm and continued till 8 pm. But details of the meeting could not be known from BNP side.
Briefing newsmen after yesterday's meeting, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan said the BNP, JP, Jamaat and IOJ have unitedly decided not to join the Business Advisory Committee meetings as the government party has completely ignored the opposition's opinion and suggestions in running parliament during the last two and a half years.
He said the Awami League didn't implement the suggestions, which the ruling party accepted at the Business Advisory Committee. "As the opposition has no role in running parliament, so the attendance is meaningless," Bhuiyan added.
On President's speech, the BNP secretary general said they have learnt that it will consist of nothing but the "so-called success story of government party." There will be hardly anything reflecting President's own views, he added.
Yesterday's meeting asked the government to immediately accept the 4-point demands and announce a fresh pourashava polls schedule.
"Government will have to bear the total responsibility for the future consequences if it fails to meet our demands," Mannan Bhuiyan warned. It also decided to form "Liaison Committee" at all levels of party units, including division, district and thana levels.
It was attended by BNP leaders M Shamsul Islam and Anwar Zahid, JP leaders Kazi Zafar Ahmed and Kazi Firoz Rashid Chowdhury, Jamaat leaders Kamaruzzaman and A T M Azharul Islam and IOJ leaders Mufti Fazlul Haq Amini, A R M Abdul Matin and Muslehuddin Abu Bakar.
Prior to holding of the adjourned meeting of the BNP Standing Committee on Thursday evening, JP, Jamaat, IOJ, Jagpa, Democratic League, PNP, NDA leaders sat with the BNP chief separately and discussed about the next course of action.
A senior leader of BNP, who assisted Begum Zia during Thursday's meeting, told The Daily Star that the smaller allies of the 7-party alliance requested Begum Zia to include at least one representative from each party in the Liaison Committee meeting. Currently the meeting is participated by only the representatives of BNP, JP, Jamaat and IOJ.
Supporting their demand to be included in the Liaison Committee, they argued that prior to JP and IOJ's joining in the current movement they had formed 7-party alliance and strengthened the hands of BNP. It is learnt that the smaller party leaders told Begum Zia that Ershad may again raise the issue of "women leadership" at any time and specially at the peak of movement.
Besides, they expressed their apprehension that a section of the present leadership of opposition movement may go under the control of Ershad.
Begum Zia assured them of looking into the matter soon.
Opposition sources said JP leader Kazi Zafar Ahmed was strongly opposed to joining of smaller parties' representatives in the Liaison Committee meeting.
Zafar's attitude seriously angered the leaders of the smaller parties on Thursday evening at 29 Minto Road when Kazi Zafar and Jagpa chief Shafiul Alam Prodhan exchanged hot words and adverse remarks.
The adjourned meeting of BNP Standing Committee held with Begum Zia in the chair, also decided to boycott the session of Presidential speech and future meetings of the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee. BNP has three members in the committee while JP and Jamaat have one each.
Sources said leaders of the opposition parties during meeting on Thursday discussed and reached an understanding that the President has lost his neutrality by signing the CHT Peace Accord, which 'handed over one-tenth territory to the terrorists'.
Leaders expressed the view that President Shahabuddin could have intervened when the ruling party rejected the 4-point demands of the opposition. This rejection has pushed the country towards a conflict situation.
They discussed about the steps to be taken to 'resist' the pourashava polls if the government continued its rejection of the 4-point demands and refused to reschedule the polls.
At the meeting, JP and Jamaat leaders said that strategies can be taken to resist the polls as Awami League, JP and Jamaat combinedly resisted the February 15, 1996 parliamentary polls that was rejected by them. If necessary, they said hartals should have to be strictly enforced during the elections days.
The opposition parties have the plan to enforce a non-stop hartal during the pourashava elections, scheduled for February 23-25.