Talks interest positive: Speaker

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has termed ‘positive’ the interest shown by the government and opposition for dialogue to end political conflict.

“It seems both the government and opposition are interested in talks,” she told reporters at her office on Thursday.

Chaudhury, the first woman to hold the office, also commended the opposition for withdrawing its May 2 nationwide shutdown following requests by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The strike was called to protest the heavy loss of lives in the recent Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, the worst factory accident in Bangladesh. And the government’s ‘failure’ with the rescue efforts.

The Prime Minister invited the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for talks earlier on Thursday.

A day before, the Speaker said she would try to broker a dialogue between the Awami League and BNP.

But the BNP has said it will go to the negotiation table only if the government proposed it in writing and restored the caretaker system to oversee parliamentary elections.

“I have noticed the opposition’s positive state of mind right after I was sworn in as Speaker,” she said citing as evidence the opposition’s move to lift their May 2 strike.

“The opposition announced that it might take part in a dialogue. The Prime Minister too invited the opposition chief to a discussion.”

The Speaker said she was willing to take all necessary measures to organise a dialogue if both the parties agree.

She renewed her call on the main opposition, long absent from Parliament to join the upcoming budget session. “We hope they will come and take part in discussions.”

Chaudhury said she will ‘study hard’ to find out the cause behind BNP’s long absence from Parliament.

“I want to proceed with the goal to make Parliament effective.”

She answered reporters on Thursday saying she was not feeling any significant pressure in anticipation of the upcoming budget session and her role in directing the opposition.

The Speaker observed the detention of top BNP leaders was ‘political’ and advised them to follow the legal procedure but added “I will have to be informed if legal charges are brought against a Member of Parliament.”

Chaudhury promised to continue the measures initiated by her predecessor Abdul Hamid to keep the Parliament Secretariat free from corruption.

She was taking part at a discussion with the employees and staff of the Parliament Secretariat before briefing journalists.

Source: Bd news24

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