Polls-time govt: Khaleda offers alternative formula

She hopes PM to take initiatives to form this govt


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday offered an alternative formula to form a polls-time government led by a revered person comprising 10 ex-advisers from the 1996 and 2001 caretaker governments to be chosen by the ruling and opposition parties to hold an inclusive and credible election.


“I’m proposing that from those 20 Advisers the ruling party can propose five names and the opposition another five. They’ll be the Advisers to the forthcoming election-time government,” she told a crowded press conference at city’s Westin Hotel.


Khaleda proposed that a respected citizen of the country on the basis of a consensus between the government and the opposition parties can be chosen as the Chief Adviser to the interim government.


The BNP chief hoped the Prime Minister will accept her proposal in the interest of peace, stability and democracy. “I hope she’ll take effective steps to hold discussions between the two parties quickly on this matter.”


She also made a fervent appeal to the Prime Minister to take initiatives to form this government through a constitutional process. “I would like to add that before the current Parliament is dissolved and if it is felt necessary the interim government can be elected in the same way the President, the Speaker and women MPs are elected.”


The former premier hoped that this nation which is capable of dealing with disasters will soon be able to overcome the current political crisis.


“We don’t want confrontation. We want a compromise. Not autocracy but democracy.  We want to leave behind the culture of violence of a killing frenzy using oars, bamboos and machetes, burning passengers in buses by spraying gunpowder, stripping off office goers during hartal and publicly humiliating them,” Khaleda said.


She also said the people of Bangladesh are anxiously waiting to be free from the uncertainty and for a change. “Come up, let’s all respond positively to that expectation.”


Before the press conference, Khaleda’s press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel told reporters that the BNP chairperson’s speech is self-explanatory and it would not require taking questions.


BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members and top leaders of the BNP-led 18-party alliance were present.


Inviting all to join hands in bringing about the true change, Khaleda Zia said in the light of the expectations and aspirations of the nation, and the demand of the time they have to introduce a new trend in politics.


“I’m giving an open invitation to those who can contribute to society, to those that can bring good repute for the country, to those who are honest and capable, to those who can develop plans and implement them and to those who can provide leadership, to join and work with our government of unity irrespective of ethnicity, political or religious beliefs.”


She said time has come to change and improve the political culture and someone has to start it. “Today, I stand before you with the call for that change.  Of course, there’ll be political differences between us. We must change the way we debate these differences and insist on civil discourse rather than personal attacks.”


Khaleda, who is leading the 18-party alliance, said personal attacks serve no useful purpose and the citizens are the ultimate losers because the business of governance takes a back seat and only results in political stalemate and inaction.


“I want to initiate that change by saying something very emphatically. I announce in unequivocal terms that I forgive those who in the past have unfairly treated me and my family and have made personal attacks and continue to do so. We shall not take any vengeful steps against them even if we form the government in the future,” said Khaleda.


She assured that she will look ahead focusing on the business of providing a brighter and more secure future for Bangladesh. “I don’t have time and will not waste time focusing on the past and on retaliation.”


The BNP chief hoped that they can all work together to build a prosperous, peaceful and secure homeland for the future generation. “I welcome the ideas and the participation of all those who have in the past been against me.”


If elected in the polls, Khaleda said, their government will be a representative government of all Bangladeshi citizens. “Our government will be a government of talent and merit, a government of national unity.”


Admitting her previous mistakes, she said, “To err is human and I have no hesitation to admit that we have made mistakes in the past. At the same breath I would like to say that we have learned from those mistakes. We’re better prepared to take Bangladesh towards a brighter, more stable, and prosperous future.”


She agreed that if they fail to learn from history, history will repeat itself. “We’ll therefore not repeat the mistakes of the past.”


Khaleda said the Constitution the Prime Minister is referring to has been amended by her government at will and has led to the present crisis.


“She (PM) has blocked the road to credible elections and created the way to deprive people of their voting rights. She has not clarified who will head the all-party election-time government proposed by her,” the Opposition leader said adding that the Prime Minister has left no room for any discussion on the popular demand for an election-time non-party neutral government and has made a proposal convenient only to herself.


The BNP chief said the only advice Hasina has sought from the opposition parties is a date for the elections. “The nation is frustrated by her statement. I still feel that the matter can be resolved through discussions. The sooner this is held the better.”


She mentioned that Bangladesh is an important partner in the international fight against militancy and they will not only continue the current level of this cooperation, but will explore ways and means to expand it with other countries and institutions as an active member of the coalition for the war against terrorism.


“We have to remember that terrorism is a threat to peace, stability, sustained economic development and foreign direct investment. We’re committed to ensuring that Bangladesh territory will never be used for domestic, regional, international or any other form of terrorism.”


On Bangladesh’s global ties, she said today’s world is a global society and countries and regions can no longer exist as isolated islands. “We must be contributing-members to the global society. Instability in Bangladesh affects South Asia. Instability in South Asia affects the world.”


Khaleda said they will adopt such policies that ensure domestic as well as regional peace, stability and security. “Our government in the future will work to ensure that Bangladesh and all our neighbours positively contribute to a peaceful and secure global society. Our country is a great nation with a proud history and even brighter future.”


On citizens’ right, she said, “We don’t consider any citizen or group in Bangladesh as minority. Our undifferentiated identity is that we’re all Bangladeshis. Our future depends on a Bangladesh where all citizens regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation are guaranteed equal opportunity to realize their dreams and to live in a peaceful and secure environment, free of threats to their personal security.”


On October 18, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed forming an all-party election-time government to oversee the next general election but fell short of making it clear who will head the interim administration.


“We want to hold the next parliamentary elections taking all parties with us. It’s my proposal to the opposition party that we can form an ‘all-party government’ comprising all parties for the election period,” she said in her address to the nation.

Source: UNB Connect


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