Bangladesh opposition calls three-day hartal, violence leaves 3 dead

DHAKA, Oct. 25 (nsnewswire) — Ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia party has  called a three-day nationwide dawn-to-dusk  non-stop strike form Sunday morning to press home its demand for restoration of a non-party caretaker government system to oversee the national elections slated for early 2014.
Khaleda Zia, main opposition party chief, announced the strike at a grand rally in capital Dhaka Friday evening,  slapping a two-day ultimatum for the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government for initiating dialogue on the neutral election-time government.
Khaleda Zia announced a nationwide 60-hour shutdown from 6 a.m. (local time) on Oct. 27 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 29.
She said both  movement and negotiations will continue simultaneously.
Braving drizzle that continues since the morning, tens of thousands of Bangladesh opposition supporters flooded lush-green Suhrawardy Udyan (garden).

The leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies including key Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami since morning marched towards the rally venue  with banners, placards and “sheaf of paddy” election symbol of BNP, breaking through several obstacles on their way.


BNP-led 18-party opposition held the rally to drum up public support and show of its strength.


In an apparent move to de-escalate tension between ruling and opposition parties, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 18  proposed an all-party government be set up to hold general elections in the South Asian country.


But ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s BNP has rejected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s all-party interim government proposal and tabled a new formula for administration.


Since June 2011 when Bangladesh Parliament abolished the non- party caretaker government system after an apex court verdict declared the 15-year-old constitutional provision illegal, the BNP- led alliance has been waging mass protests demanding for the reinstatement of the provision.


The scrapped provision mandated an elected government to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election on the completion of its term.


Khaleda has asked Hasina’s AL to bring back the caretaker system, or else, it won’t participate in the next polls because it fears an election without the caretaker government will not be free and fair.


The parliament is due to expire on Jan. 24 next year and elections should be held within 90 days before expiry of the parliament.

Khaleda’s party has long been saying that Oct. 25 is the last day of Hasina’s AL government and urging their supporters to take to the streets on the very day.
Huge clashes between the ruling and the opposition party men  men have been reported in parts of capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.
 Local Somoy tv reported that at least three people were dead and scores others including cops injured Friday in stray incidents of violence across Bangladesh.
Khaleda Friday said, “Your (Hasina) government will be illegal from Oct. 27.  You must start negotiations on establishing a polls-time government. Your will be responsible for all the consequences  what happen next if you don’t start dialogue to reac consensus.”