Bangladesh's seaports reopened on Thursday and traffic streamed back on highways after a 14-party political alliance temporarily lifted a transport blockade aimed at forcing the removal of controversial election officials.
The alliance led the former prime minister Sheikh Hasina has given the country's interim administration time until Sunday to fire the chief election commissioner and his deputies, accused of a bias towards its rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Elections are due in January and hundreds have been injured over the four past days in clashes between Awami League supporters trying to enforce the shutdown and the BNP, which has opposed the removal of the election officials.
"We have got a temporary relief with exports and deliveries from the ports and warehouses starting today," said a Dhaka businessman after the blockade was lifted following calls by the business community that it was hurting ordinary citizens.
The main port in Chittagong resumed operations early on Thursday and trucks and buses filled the highway linking the port city with the capital Dhaka, witnesses said.
Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed who heads the caretaker administration has so far made no public comment on the future of the chief election commissioner MA Aziz and his deputies. Aziz himself insists he will stay on.
Ahmed's advisers who earlier this week met senior leaders of the Awami League and the BNP headed by Begum Khaleda Zia, another former prime minister, to find a way out of the political crisis, were due to submit a report to him later on Thursday.