Dhaka opposition seeks unity to protest India pacts
Dhaka: Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has "rejected" the pacts the government signed with India earlier this week and is striving for a united protest movement to thwart their implementation.
BNP chief and Leader of Opposition Khaleda Zia is to engage with parties of the Left and her Islamist allies. She will formally announce the agitation plans on Saturday, the Daily Star reported on Friday.
It said the BNP had taken the initiative for an opposition unity among political parties and personalities "traditionally known as having doubts about India's goodwill towards Bangladesh".
The opposition was seeking to unite to protest the treaties and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed with India during her New Delhi visit.
Zia is expected to announce protest programmes like demonstrations, including rallies and human chains, while demanding cancellation of the signed treaties and MoUs, which her party thinks do not protect the country's interest.
A number of party leaders said they were planning to return to parliament that they have boycotted since June "to build a greater movement in and outside the Parliament".
BNP senior joint secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told the newspaper that they intend to create a national consensus to protect the country's greater interest.
Sheikh Hasina reached three agreements and two MoUs covering counter-terrorism, exchange of criminals and convicts, purchase of power and access to Nepal and Bhutan via Indian territory.
In an editorial published on Friday, the newspaper welcomed the opposition's decision to return to Parliament, ending the boycott, but cautioned against "opposition for opposition's sake".
"Somewhat bellicose as their tone might sound, it would undoubtedly be a wise political decision on the part of the main Opposition to engage the Treasury Bench in a debate in a bid to present their viewpoints across to the nation and benefit the government by any wise counsel they might have on offer.”
"... we hope that without any further ado, the BNP would hold informed debates and not just indulge in shrill diatribes and protest for protest's sake," the newspaper said.