Bangladesh PM Hasina ready for fresh polls if BNP cuts Jamaat ties

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina said she was ready to hold fresh elections if the BNP-led opposition cuts ties with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami.

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina today said she was ready to dissolve the next Parliament to be constituted after the January 5 polls and hold fresh elections if the BNP-led opposition shuns violence and cuts ties with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami.

BNP led by Khaleda Zia is boycotting the January 5 polls claiming that they would not be credible if held under the care-taker government led by her arch-rival Hasina.

The Prime Minister asked main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and her Zia to stop "killing people in the name of political movements and come to an agreement."

"We can hold fresh elections dissolving (the 10th) Parliament if we reach a settlement through negotiations," Hasina said, while addressing a joint meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee, Election Conducting Committee and party`s Advisory Council at her official residence.

Hasina also added that "there was no scope for them (opposition) to take part in the January 5 polls", since they have failed to nominate candidates.

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said the BNP will come up with a formal reaction to the prime minister`s proposal later, The Daily Star reported.

Her comments came hours after Awami League spokesman Mohammad Nasim said the UN initiated dialogue was yet to end, though the elections would be held on scheduled date.

"Parliament will be convened after the election and talks will be held to evolve a consensus for holding the 11th parliament polls," Nasim told a press conference at the party office.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon`s envoy Oscar Fernandez-Taranco came to Dhaka in early December and made Awami League and BNP leaders to hold dialogue to find a political solution.

"Talks are ongoing and it will continue even after the general elections," said the Prime Minister.

The BNP-led 18 party opposition alliance started enforcing prolonged blockades after the Election Commission on November 25 announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary polls on January 5.

Former premier Zia-led BNP, Jamaat and their smaller allies have been staging protests since late October to try to force Hasina to step down so that a neutral caretaker government can oversee the election.

Hasina is refusing to accept the arrangement, which was in place during previous national polls.

The BNP has refused to field candidates for the January election, saying the vote under Hasina will be rigged - an accusation the premier flatly rejects.

Protests over the divisive polls and the trials of those accused of war crimes during the 1971 liberation war have left at least 264 people dead since January, making this year one of the the bloodiest in Bangladesh`s history.

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