Dhaka: A leading Bangladeshi daily Monday described as a "bad joke" a minister`s comment that the ruling Awami League (AL) and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) were holding secret parleys.
"The communications minister`s comment that the two political parties are conducting political parleys secretly appears to us to be a bad joke. It is difficult to take him seriously, given the nature of politics that we have been witnessing in the last several weeks," said an editorial in the Daily Star.
The daily said that the "reality on the ground belies the statement of the minister".
"When the office of the main opposition is vandalised in the late hours of the night by the police to arrest its joint secretary general, when the police seek remand for the arrested BNP leaders, when the BNP spokesperson resorts to video messaging to make party statement public, for fear of being arrested, is there an environment for dialogue," it asked.
The editorial observed that when the communication minister says that the arrested BNP leaders would be released if the behind the scenes talk is successful, "should there be any doubt left regarding the motive behind the arrests".
When the BNP`s top leadership is "under incarceration, and a good many of them are in hiding, we wonder who the interlocutors are on the side of the BNP with whom the AL is conducting the so called talks behind the scene", the editorial noted.
"When the public demand for dialogue between the two parties is becoming increasingly louder," why should the two parties "be meeting in secret to decide the fate of the country", it asked.
"First, conditions must be created for a dialogue, and any talk between the two should be done up front with the full knowledge of the public," it added.