Bangladesh opposition returns to parliament

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 22:09

Dhaka: Bangladesh parliament on Tuesday witnessed
a packed sitting as main opposition BNP returned ending their
75 working days of abstention, while opposition Chief Khaleda
Zia said her party intended to take part in proceedings to
ensure its stake in the house.

"This country belongs to all of us. We will be staying in
the country. We will have to speak for the well-being of the
nation," Zia told at the end of her 67-minute address as the
ruling party lawmakers were listening to most of her speech.

Zia said her party was willing to continue its presence
in the house to take part in the proceedings to make
parliament effective.

Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate earlier welcomed the
opposition and sought cooperation of both the ruling and
opposition benches.

"I am delighted... I awaited your return with immense
eagerness," he said, adding that he expected to run the house
with neutrality and fairness to make the proceedings more
lively and effective with the support of the lawmakers of both
the sides.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was not present at the
house. Her arch-rival Zia touched upon most of the national
issues dominating the public discussions while her criticism
seemed to have concentrated against the past military-backed
interim government.

"They caused such a massive loss to the country, it could
not allow the nation to proceed ahead. But all blames for the
losses are attributed to BNP," she said.

She also criticised the government for "failure" in
handling the issues such as price hike, law and order, share
market debacle, electricity crisis and "excesses being done"
by the ruling party.

The opposition leader, however, in a positive tone
suggested the government to take more pragmatic measures in
addressing the issues caused by outside Bangladesh factors
like global economic meltdown and the political crisis in
Middle Eastern countries posing threats to the Bangladesh
economy.

Zia`s parliamentary address came at the eighth session of
the ninth parliament as her party BNP and its right-wing ally
Jamaat-e-Islami abstained from the house from the fourth
session.

Most of the first three sessions of the house also rarely
witnessed the opposition presence in the plenary while they
boycotted it protesting the seating arrangements demanding
more seats for their leaders.

BNP and its allies continued to abstain from the house
in subsequent sessions accusing the ruling Awami League of
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of taking extra advantages of
their "brute majority".

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 22:09

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