Bangladesh PM, Opposition leader attack each other
In the final session of parliament, Zia accused Wajed of kicking dust over electoral reforms in a bid to foil the upcoming polls.Updated: Oct 04, 2006 17:40 IST
Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and opposition leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed on Wednesday attacked each other on the issue of electoral reforms in the final session of the eighth parliament.
The premier accused the Opposition of kicking dust over electoral reforms in a bid to foil the upcoming polls, while Wajed told the parliament that the demand for talks on the electoral reforms was aimed at ensuring free, fair and transparent voting.
However both the leaders were not present to hear each other.
"If they do not participate in the elections then they will be distanced from the people and there are other political parties who will contest in the polls ...
Time does not wait for anybody," the Prime Minister said replying to opposition threats to boycott the vote without reforms.
She hoped the Opposition would join the proposed talks on electoral reforms with an "open heart and mind."
"No democratic party can take a stand against elections ... I hope they will join the talks without any preconditions and that too quickly as time is running out quickly."
Zia was critical to the comment by general secretary of opposition Awami League Abdul Jalil that talks on reform could start over tea at the residence of the American Ambassador Patricia Butenis.
"I want to ask as citizens of an independent country why should we go to someone else's house for talks," she added.
Earlier, on the day Awami League chief and parliamentary opposition leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed said the demand for talks on the electoral reforms was aimed at ensuring free, fair polls.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladeshis were waiting for to "breathe freely again" and the end of a "dark period."
"It is said there is light after darkness and I can assure you that is not far away," she said adding Thailand's ousted premier Thaksin Sinawatra also tried to hold onto power through "illegal" means and his end was not good.
"I have this worry for our country's democratic process will be hampered because of the ruling party's stand on electoral reforms," the opposition leader added.
The most likely venue for the proposed talks between Awami League's Jail and Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the local government minister and secretary general of the ruling Bangladesh nationalist Party, on the electoral reforms will be the parliament house as both sides have indicated it as an acceptable one.
First Published: Oct 04, 2006 17:40 IST