BNP meetings blocked: Delwar

Tasneem Khalil

Tasneem Khalil

[Dhaka Correspondent] BNP secretary general, Khandaker Delwar Hossain, Monday accused the government of not allowing the party to hold indoor political programmes. “We sought permission for holding programmes at hotels or other places in accordance with the guidelines announced by the government. But the authorities are not giving us permission,” he told newsmen at his Dhaka residence. “BNP central office in Naya Paltan is still locked despite easing of restrictions on indoor political activities.”

He said the authorities did not allow him to meet the detained party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, despite repeated appeals. “I was not allowed to meet the chairperson to make a decision on the dialog on electoral reforms with the Election Commission. We cannot decide this without talking to her.” He hoped that the jail authorities would allow him to immediately meet the chairperson.

Delwar renewed his call for lifting the state of emergency and complete withdrawal of restrictions on politics. “A congenial political atmosphere will return if the state of emergency is lifted, open politics allowed and two leaders [Khaleda Zia of BNP and Sheikh Hasina of Awami League] are freed. It will also make the path to democracy easier.”

He expressed his satisfaction with High Court’s ruling on the GATCO graft case against Khaleda. “Granting of bail by the High Court in the GATCO case did justice to Khaleda Zia,” he said hoping that she would be released from jail soon.

On the statement of British high commissioner Anwar Chowdhury that “the future elections in Bangladesh will not depend on any person,” Delwar, also former chief whip in parliament, said, “I leave it to diplomatic norms as to how much he [Anwar] is allowed to comment on our politics.”