Awami League no more with Islamists
The Bangladesh party has called off an election alliance with an Islamic group following pressure from allies.Updated: Feb 13, 2007, 13:17 IST
Bangladesh's Awami League party has called off an election alliance with a radical Islamist group, a party official said, following pressure from its supporters and other allies.
The Awami League, led by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, made the deal with the Khelafat Majlis in December, saying it was part of a strategy to win national elections in the deeply divided nation.
But the alliance with the Majlis — who support the strict Islamist ideals of Afghanistan's Taliban — was criticised by the Awami League's partners who said it compromised the party's secular credentials.
"The deal was part of election strategy, but as the election due for January 22 did not take place, the deal has automatically fallen through," Obaidul Quader, acting general secretary of Awami League, said.
The election was postponed in the wake of countrywide violence between rival political parties, in which 45 people were killed and hundreds injured.
Bangladesh declared emergency on January 11 and an army-backed interim administration has arrested nearly 100 politicians, including a dozen former ministers, in a crackdown on corruption ahead of elections.
The administration headed by former central bank chief Fakhruddin Ahmed has also vowed to hunt down leaders of outlawed Islamist groups blamed for a wave of bombings in 2005 as part of their campaign to turn the country into a Islamic sharia state.
The new election date has not yet been announced.