B'desh opposition parties to launch stir against Hasina
Dhaka: Bangladesh's principal opposition parties have decided to launch a joint stir against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government whose policies they say are "anti-national".
The decision was taken by leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key political ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) who met here on Saturday evening.
JeI said it would join the June 27 strike announced by the BNP.
Both the parties have been critical of the five deals Hasina signed with India during her New Delhi visit in January and have separately announced that they would not allow them to be implemented.
The agreements pertain to trade, exchange of criminals and information on militancy afflicting both South Asian neighbours.
JeI chief Matiur Rahman Nizami said: "There is no alternative to waging a movement. BNP has already announced programmes to that end and we have taken those positively."
The two parties shared power during 2001-06, but lost badly to a Hasina-led alliance in December 2008. This was their first formal meeting after 19 months.
The meeting indicated divergence of views on the issue of the government's move to hold "war crimes trials" against those who killed unarmed civilians during the country's 1971 freedom movement. The top brass of the JeI is on the list of the accused.
However, JeI secretary general Ali Ahsam Mohammed Mojahid was quoted as saying by the Daily Star on Sunday: "We don't have any disagreement on any issue."
However, BNP chief Khaleda Zia told the Jamaat leaders that BNP "is talking about the issue from its viewpoint and Jamaat should go ahead with its own strategies", the newspaper said.
The Hasina government has amended relevant laws and set up a tribunal in March to begin the trial of those who allegedly engaged in killing unarmed civilians in the run up to the movement that led to separation from Pakistan.
While JeI opposed the stir on ideological and political grounds, the BNP was founded by slain president Ziaur Rahman, himself a freedom fighter.
Khaleda Zia has not opposed the government move, but says that it should not lead to political witch-hunting.
According to media reports, Zia has engaged other opposition parties for a joint stir against the Hasina government and has garnered their support.