Nobel hero Yunus asks president to be neutral

The Nobel Peace laureate has urged the chief of caretaker Govt, Iajuddin Ahmed, to be tough and proactive in running the country.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 13:56 IST

Bangladesh's Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus has urged the president and chief of the caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed, to be tough and proactive in running the country.

As the caretaker government prepares for the parliamentary polls, he has asked that the president be neutral in dealing with contending political parties.

"You will have to be very tough; otherwise the nation will plunge into darkness. But you must be tough on all, not only on some particular ones," he said speaking at a grand reception accorded to him by Ahmed for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006.

He also urged the president to listen to everyone but take decisions on the basis of his own reasoning.

"It's a hard time for the nation and the people want to see an active and courageous leadership," he was quoted as saying by The Daily Star newspaper.

"Set a precedent dealing with at least one area of massive corruption facing the nation during the tenure of the caretaker government," he added.

He then described power situation, price of essentials, Chittagong port, and law and order as the areas most prone to crisis.

Campaigning for good governance and against corruption even before he got the Nobel on August 13, the first Bangladeshi to win it, Yunus called on the Advisers of the caretaker government to set "at least one example of ridding a sector of corruption."

Held at the Darbar Hall of Bangabhaban amid tumultuous applause, the maiden state reception was attended by caretaker government advisers, former ministers, secretaries, diplomats, political leaders, artists, literati, and civil and military officials.

A national icon now, Yunus advised the president to "leave the trivial jobs with others and focus on how to conduct the upcoming national election in a peaceful and fair manner."

Ahmed in his address stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere conducive to holding a free and fair election.

"The peaceful atmosphere brought about by the winning of Nobel peace prize must continue," he said adding, "We will have to be careful so that the peace is not hampered."

While not directly responding to Yunus's exhortations, Ahmed hoped that all discord, division and conflicts would be resolved through peaceful means.

He underscored the need for continuing the democratic progress and giving it an institutional shape.

"Only then we can build a happy and prosperous country for the future generations," the president added.

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 13:56 IST