Nagorik Samaj takes non-political face, appeals for dialogue

Nagorik Samaj, a platform of civil society members, yesterday called upon the Awami League and the BNP to stop the violent activities as well as to take immediate step in holding dialogue to overcome the present political deadlock in the country.
“Stopping the violence and holding the dialogue should be started simulteneously in order to overcome the present political stalemate in the country,” ATM Shamsul Huda, former chief election commissioner, made observation addressing at a press briefing held at the National Press Club.
The political stalemate since the start of this year has caused death of at least 70 people and injuries to more than 500. The civil society members said they want to held up their views and opinion and facilitate so that the political parties can reach a consensus to overcome the present crisis.
The Nagorik Somaj formed a 13-member committee headed by Huda, which will move for dialogue amidst the prevailing political impasse.Other members of the committee are: M Hafiz Uddin Khan, A S M Shahjahan, Jamilur Reja Chowdhury, Akbar Ali Khan, C M Shafi Sami, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Rokia Afzal Rahman, Syed Abul Maksud, Shahdeen Malik, Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, Dr Ahsan-H Mansur and Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar.

Although Dr Kamal Hossain and Nagorik Oikya chief Mahmudur Rahman Manna were associated with Nagarik Samaj earlier, Huda-led new panel has dropped their names from the committee saying that they want to keep the committee neat and clean from the political leaders. The former CEC further said all members on the panel were professionals.
Huda said that the number of members of the committee may be increased, if needed.
“There is no alternative to holding dialogue to overcome any political deadlock. Hence, we are urging the government specially president to take an immediate initiative for dialogue to overcome the ongoing political unrest in the country,” Huda said.
“Though the president has no power … constitutionally, he has a moral role to play in helping overcome the current crisis as the guardian of the state,” Huda said.
“First of all, terror acts will have to be stopped to create a congenial atmosphere in order to start the process of dialogue,” he said.
In response to a query, he said, “We don’t appear before any political party willingly for holding dialogue. But, if anyone calls us, we must go and extend our all out co-operation to make the move a success for the sake of democracy as well as the greater interest of the people of the country,” he noted.
“Both the major political parties should stop violence immediately for starting dialogue to bring back political stability in the country,” he said.
“Please accept the Nagorik committee’s initiative to overcome the present deadlock or tell us what alternative option you have to overcome crisis,” Huda appealed to the political leaders.
Responding to recent lambast of ruling party leaders dubbing the civil society “cancers of the society and fathers of the 1/11,” Huda said: “We welcome the ministers and the ruling party leaders for their criticism as they take us into account.”
Earlier, Nagarik Samaj conveyed the appeal to president Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in separate letters signed by Dr Shamsul Huda on February 9.
In the letter the Nagorik Samaj appealed for finding a permanent mechanism to end the unhealthy cycle of political violence cantering on elections. – Staff Reporter