Talks path is open- AL. Trick to confuse people- BNP

The LGRD Minister, Syed Ashraful Islam, on Saturday urged the opposition not to set any preconditions for holding a dialogue with the government.BNP leader MK Anwar on Sunday said the government was talking about a political dialogue only to ‘confuse the people’ and ‘divert their attention’.As the tug-of-war over who would execute next national elections continues between two bickering political camps — one led by ruling Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the other by main opposition BNP’s Chairperson Khaleda Zia, call from both the media and several professional groups for a dialogue to end the deadlock is getting louder.
Powerful foreign diplomats have also been calling for talks between the two major political parties to resolve all key disputes.
On Saturday, BNP’s Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sought a formal proposal from the ruling party for talks.
Within hours, Ashraf, also the ruling Awami League’s General Secretary, responded to Fakhrul’s call.
“The government is ready to hold talks if you (BNP chief Khaleda Zia) are ready,” Ashraf said.
The Awami League spokesman said the people of the country wanted talks. “It is possible to solve every problem through dialogue.”
When the LGRD minister’s attention was drawn to the BNP’s proposal, he said, talks could not take place with ‘so many preconditions’.
He said the ruling coalition had not rolled out any conditions on its part.
“Discussions should first take place without any fixed terms and conditions, then at party level and finally at the top level,” he said.
The minister had earlier said discussions were going on at different levels between leaders of the two parties. But the BNP has denied having any such talks.
In 2011, the administration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15-year-old caretaker government system in line with a Supreme Court verdict, but the BNP said it would not join next polls without the system in place.
BNP standing committee member MK Anwar has said the talk about a political dialogue was only to ‘confuse the people’ and ‘divert their attention’.
Amid the stand-off between the ruling Awami League and the BNP over who would oversee next elections, various quarters, including influential diplomats, are pressing for a resolve to the crisis through discussion.
On Saturday, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, however, made it clear that she would rather go for tougher street protests as she declined to offer any proposal for dialogue.
She made the comment at a rally in Manikganj hours after BNP spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sought a formal dialogue proposal from the government. The ruling Awami league’s General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam had said the government was ready to hold talks and asked the opposition not to throw any precondition for the dialogue.
On Sunday, BNP Standing Committee Member MK Anwar said his party was not against holding talks but they were not ready to fall prey to any tricks by the government.
At a human chain programme in Dhaka, Anwar said, “The topics of a possible dialogue should be made public and then the people will decide whether the talks would take place.”
Anwar said if it was for diverting people’s attention, the BNP would not be part of it.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s aide and Awami League’s Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said despite the BNP chief’s refusal, they would still welcome any move for discussion.

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