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Quit if you can't govern, Zia tells Hasina

Bangladesh's opposition leader Khaleda Zia has announced a mass agitation against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, asking her to quit if she cannot govern properly.

world Updated: Feb 28, 2010 13:27 IST

Bangladesh's opposition leader Khaleda Zia has announced a mass agitation against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, asking her to quit if she cannot govern properly.

"The country is not functioning, all institutions are inoperative. The caretaker government has taken the country 20 years back and it will further go back if Awami League stays in power," she said.

"They must step down in the interests of the country," The Daily Star quoted her as saying Saturday.

A number of issues, including security and trade pacts that Hasina signed with India during her New Delhi visit, are being taken up by Khaleda. She has accused Hasina of signing a "secret security deal" with New Delhi.

A new row erupted Feb 23 after crackers were burst near the headquarters of Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and two hand-made bombs, popularly called 'cocktails', exploded. It prompted the main opposition to allege that it was a bomb attack and that there were attempts on Khaleda's life.

The opposition demanded security cover by the Special Security Force (SSF) for Khaleda -- so far reserved for the president, Hasina and their family members.

Hasina directed that Khaleda's security should be beefed-up, but did not grant her SSF cover.

"Khaleda Zia gets three times more security than Sheikh Hasina used to get when she was the opposition leader," said Syed Ashraful Islam, general secretary of Hasina's Awami league (AL).

AL has charged that the alleged attempts on Khaleda's life, including the cracker incident, were the handiwork of the BNP workers.

The Detective Branch of the police Saturday picked up "on suspicion" Golam Shabir Shoyon, a friend of Abdul Hamid Paban, son of BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain.

Paban was injured in the attack, according to the BNP.

The police also impounded a car supposed to have been used for the alleged bomb attack, bdnews24 newspaper website said Sunday.

Two packages, believed to be unexploded 'cocktails', were recovered Feb 15 from in front of Khaleda's office.