BNP chief asks India to respect feelings of Bangladeshis

Bangladesh`s main opposition leader and former premier Khaleda Zia on Thursday asked India to respect the aspirations of the majority in her country.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 12, 2013, 23:00 PM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s main opposition leader and former premier Khaleda Zia on Thursday asked India to respect the aspirations of the majority in her country.

"I call upon our influential neighbouring country India and its people to express their solidarity with the feelings and expectation of the majority people of Bangladesh as the rest of the world community has done," the head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said in a statement.

Zia`s remarks were an apparent reference to the standoff between the BNP and the Awami League over the Janaury 5 general election and the world community`s efforts to end the political crisis and ensure free and fair polls.

However, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who recently visited Dhaka for talks with Bangladeshi leaders, has said India will not "broker any deal or mediate" among the rival parties.

The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance has launched a series of protests, demanding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s resignation and the postponement of the polls.

Last month, the Awami League formed a multi-party interim government to conduct the polls. The opposition alliance has sought the formation of a non-party caretaker set-up, saying polls under Hasina`s watch will not be free and fair.

Former military ruler H M Ershad, whose Jatiya Party is a key ally of the Awami League, has announced his party will boycott the polls due to the lack of a proper atmosphere.

Zia thanked western countries, China, Japan and the UN for trying their best to break the political deadlock in Bangladesh.

She also asked the Awami League not to be "stubborn" and to help in reaching a compromise.

UN emissary Oscar Fernandez-Taranco left Dhaka yesterday after getting the Awami League and BNP to agree on negotiations aimed at ending the deadlock.

A four-member delegation each from both parties took part in a two-hour meeting yesterday in the presence of Taranco, who was on a special mission to Bangladesh to end the uncertainty.