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Awami League lawmakers return to parliament

Bangladesh's main opposition walked into the parliament breaking a marathon boycott of the House for more than a year.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 12:03 IST

Bangladesh's main opposition Awami League MPs walked into the parliament on Sunday breaking a marathon boycott of the House for more than a year.

Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina earlier declared she would place her reform proposals on non-party caretaker government and election commission in parliament for free and fair general elections.

However, Ms Hasina was not seen when her 56 deputies led by Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil entered the House at 1650 hrs.

She was in her parliament office after chairing the parliamentary party meeting in Sangsad Bhaban that formally decided to join the session.

Prime Minister and Leader of the House Khaleda Zia was also absent as she went to Pakistan today on a 3-day official visit at the invitation of her Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz.

Treasury bench members greeted the opposition members by thumping desks. Foreign envoys including Indian High Commissioner Veena Shikri were seen sitting in the VIP gallery to witness the opposition's return.

Opposition MPs had been on boycott on various issues to protest abusive words by a state minister against Sheikh Hasina.

This is Awami League MPs' third return to the present parliament, voted through elections on October 1 2001.

The first session of the 8th parliament was held on October 28, 2001 but Awami League did not turn up in protest against alleged rigging in the elections.

After expiry of two sessions, Awami League MPs first joined the parliament in its third session on June 24, 2002.

They boycotted parliament on June 25, 2003 in protest against abusive remarks by State Minister for Works Alamgir Kabir against Sheikh Hasina and demanded an apology from him.

However, without realising their demand Awami League MPs returned to the House on June 15, 2004 ending a long boycott of 71 consecutive working days.

This time around Hasina and her parliament colleagues started boycotting parliament from the 15th session that began on January 31, 2005.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 12:03 IST