Hasina blames Khaleda for ‘no response’

October 31, 2013

Invitation for talks still stands: Ashraf
Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday blamed Khaleda Zia for resorting to politics of violence by spurning her olive branch. Referring to her recent telephonic conversation with the Opposition leader, the Prime Minister said she endured Khaleda’s “insulting remarks” and did not make any counter-remarks considering the greater interest of the people. Addressing a meeting of her party leaders at her official residence at Ganobhaban, Sheikh Hasina said that although she herself called up the Opposition leader to invite her to dialogue for resolving the political impasse, the BNP leader did not respond to her call.
However, the Awami League general secretary and LGRD and cooperatives minister, Syed Ashraful Islam, said the door is still open for the Opposition chief to sit for a dialogue on the formation of an election-time government to oversee the 10th parliamentary poll.
“Out invitation for talks still stands, and will remain. We are waiting for their response. If the Opposition wants re-invitation, we will invite them again as the time for holding talks is not over,” he told the meeting.
He also said that the Prime Minister invited Khaleda to dinner at Ganobhaban, but she (Khaleda) turned it down. “The Prime Minister’s offer to the Opposition is still on and we are waiting for their response,” he added. The Premier said since part of the conversation was made public from the Opposition side first, the release of the full conversation was rather “good”. However, she did not say who leaked the full conversation to the press.
“I could have replied to her, but did not react for the sake of welfare of countrymen. We want to let people leave in peace. I express my gratitude to the Almighty Allah for giving me patience to hear the harsh words,” she added.
“I wanted to find out a path of compromise to resolve the political stalemate, but Khaleda set conditions one after another during our telephonic conversation,” she said.
The prime minister presided over the meeting of lawmakers and district level leaders of greater Dhaka. It was convened to discuss preparations for the scheduled rally.
The premier said she wanted to find an acceptable solution by holding talks with all political parties, the main Opposition BNP in particular, to end the political deadlock.
Hasina said at least 20 lives were lost due to the 60-hour hartal enforced by the Opposition. “What has she (Khaleda) gained from this,” she asked. The lives could have been saved had Khaleda withdrawn the shutdown responding to her request. About holding the November 3 rally at Suhrawardy Uddyan, the prime minister called upon her party leaders and MPs who came from districts adjoining the Capital, to make “massive preparations” to make the rally a success.
She accused Khaleda of trying to save war criminals who had committed crimes during the country’s Liberation War in 1971. But the Opposition leader will not be able to save them as the present government has vowed to try the defeated forces of the Liberation War.
The Prime Minister said the Awami League wanted to take the country forward, but the Opposition BNP was bent on dragging it towards darkness. It wants to hand over the country to the defeated forces.

-Input from The Independent

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