Bangladesh opposition sets 48-hour ultimatum for interim govt
Dhaka: Bangladesh's main opposition party-led alliance on Saturday issued a 48-hour ultimatum asking the government to accept their demands for reinstating a scrapped interim government system for election oversight.
"I am giving you (Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) a 48-hour time to you... Give the announcement accepting the demand, otherwise get ready for tougher (anti-government) programmes," Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia told a grand rally of the 18-party opposition alliance in Dhaka.
Zia said her party could accept a government's dialogue proposal only if the constitution was amended for reinstating the non-party interim government system.
Hasina had yesterday asked her arch political rival to take part in talks on election affairs saying.
Zia, however, ridiculed the proposal calling it a "dialogue drama" but also invited Hasina for talks over a cup of tea at her residence.
The opposition is waging a protracted street campaign demanding restoration of the caretaker government system as the ruling Awami League with three fourths majority amended the country's constitution in June 2011 scrapping the provision in line with a previous Supreme Court verdict.
BNP last year had set an identical deadline asking the government to restore in 90 days the scrapped system and staged a series of protests including strikes.
However, the government insisted the no unelected government should be relied with the state power as the previous such non-party administrations appeared counter-productive.
Awami League insisted that the last such caretaker government lingered for two years instead of 90 days mandate, referring to the army backed state of emergency from 2006 to 2008 when both Hasina and Zia were put behind the bar to face graft charges.
The ruling party has floated an idea of holding the next general elections by constituting a smaller cabinet comprising lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties ahead of the polls, but it appeared unacceptable to the opposition.