BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday alleged that the United Nations’ initiative for dialogue to overcome the ongoing political stalemate in Bangladesh has not been fruitful for lack of response from the government side.
“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his telephonic conversation with the opposition leader offered to hold a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with two representatives from each side of Awami League and BNP to resolve the ongoing political crisis,” he said.
The BNP spokesman came up with the allegation while talking to reporters at the party’s Nayapaltan central office three days after Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN, AK Abdul Momen’s claim that there had been no initiative by the UN for a dialogue between BNP and the ruling party.
“Our Netri (Khaleda) accepted his (Ban-Ki’s) proposal. But UN Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez Taranco conveyed our party vice chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury on September 10 that Awami League didn’t give any positive response to the proposal,” Fakhrul added.
The UN Secretary General’s efforts for talks have been unsuccessful only because of the ruling party’s negative attitude and non-response, he added.
On Friday, addressing a press briefing at the Bangladesh Mission to the UN in New York, Momen refuted BNP’s claim that the party has been invited to the UN headquarters to discuss Bangladesh’s ongoing political crisis.
He said the United Nations had not taken any initiative to invite any BNP representatives for a dialogue between the Bangladesh government and the BNP at the UN headquarters.
Shrugging off Momen’s remarks, Fakhrul said his comments about the UN initiative for talks were not accurate.
“He (Momen) has created confusion by providing misleading information. He hasn’t presented the issue before the nation correctly,“ the BNP leader claimed.
On September 11, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury told UNB that a UN official has conveyed them that the government is not willing to hold talks on non-party caretaker government in response to its initiative.
Mobin, however, declined to disclose the name and the position of the UN official on that day.
Earlier on August 23, amid the deepening political crisis in the country over the nature of polls-time administration, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon phoned Sheikh Hasina and her arch rival Khaleda Zia and urged them to sit in talks for reaching a consensus for holding free and fair polls.
BNP has been on a movement since the government scrapped the non-party caretaker government system through the 15th amendment to the constitution demanding its restoration.
As per the current constitution, the next general election must be held from October 28 to January 24 under the incumbent regime and the ruling party is firm on its stance to hold the election as per the charter, which the opposition is vehemently opposing with a threat to boycott such polls and enforce a non-stop hartal and rail-road blockade.
Fakhrul, however, hoped that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her address to the UNGA on September 27 will give clear outline for breaking the political stalemate in the country.
Fakhrul also hoped that the Prime Minister’s meeting with Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh will get priority in the country’s interest.
Hasina is expected to have meetings with her Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 28.
Fakhrul urged the government to come forward to find out a reasonable solution to the ongoing political crisis. “We still hope good sense will prevail upon the government and it will place a bill on polls-time non-party government.”
Or else, he warned, the government will be held responsible for any political instability after the end the of current parliament session on October 24.
The BNP leader was also critical of the incumbent Election Commission, saying that the commission is not working neutrally.
He also alleged that the EC is conspiring as during like the 1/11 changeover to create a rift in BNP by giving registration to a baseless organisation, BNF, as a political party.
“This Commission is worthless and a fair election is not possible under it,” he added.