Non-stop Dhaka blockade planned | The Daily Star
12:55 AM, October 29, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:33 AM, October 29, 2013

Non-stop Dhaka blockade planned

BNP, allies see little prospects for talks; Fakhrul's 'phone calls not attended' by Ashraf

The BNP-led 18-party alliance now plans to enforce an indefinite blockade from next week to cut off the capital from the rest of the country to compel the government to meet its demand for a non-party election-time administration.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, some senior leaders of the opposition combine said they were planning to go tough as they felt the government would neither pay heed to their demand nor hold effective talks on it.
Moreover, the way some ruling Awami League senior leaders and ministers have been blasting Leader of the Opposition Khaleda  Zia after  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's phone call for talks is diminishing fast the prospect of an effective dialogue to resolve the ongoing political crisis, they said.
Last night, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia sat with senior party leaders at her Gulshan office and assigned acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to contact Awami League over possible talks, party sources said.
Contacted, some BNP insiders claimed that Fakhrul already telephoned AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam on Sunday and yesterday on his mobile number but the latter did not receive the calls.
Ashraf was not available for comments. But an AL leader, who had knowledge of the matter, said he [Ashraf] did not respond to Fakhrul's call as the BNP chairperson turned down the prime minister's invitation for a dialogue yesterday.
Asked, an aide to Fakhrul said the BNP spokesperson would not be able to make any comment on this since he was busy.
At yesterday's cabinet meeting, Hasina, also AL president, expressed her determination to go ahead with her proposal for an all-party polls-time government regardless of the BNP's joining it or not, meeting sources said.
A BNP policymaker said, "It has become almost clear to us that the government will not change its position on an all-party government. So, we have no alternative but to go tough from next week."
The Daily Star talked to five BNP national standing committee members and all of them spoke for enforcing the blockade next week, and hinted at starting it from Sunday. They said blockade is more effective than hartal.
A BNP policymaker said the opposition alliance had earlier decided in principle to enforce a blockade to cut off the capital from the rest of the country. And party Chairperson Khaleda Zia was supposed to announce it at the October 25 rally at Suhrawardy Udyan. But she refrained from doing so and gave the government time to hold talks on a non-party polls-time government.
"Our chairperson has already spoken of tougher agitation programmes from next week. We will decide our next course of action after observing if the government is sincere in resolving the present deadlock through talks," said Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, a member of the BNP national standing committee.
Two of his colleagues in the party's highest decision-making body MK Anwar and Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman echoed his view.

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