A unity over constitutional values has been forged and it is time for the people to take a stand against corruption and other misdeeds based on that unity, Jatiya Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain said yesterday.
“Let us take a stand on this. We as the owner [of the country] will protest and resist wherever we see corrupt people. We will grab them by their necks and bring them under the purview of law,” he said at a discussion at the Jatiya Press Club. Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) organised the programme marking its 46th founding anniversary.
Dr Kamal, president of Gonoforum, a component of the newly formed political alliance Jatiya Oikyafront, called upon the people to unite over the demand for a free and fair national election.
The eminent jurist also urged the people to get united for reaping the benefits of election in future and ensuring that no one could snatch the benefits from them.
The people struggled against autocracy and restored their “ownership” over the country through polls.
“However, we could not reap the benefits of elections,” he said, adding that multi-party democracy must continue in the country.
On the much-anticipated talks between Oikyafront leaders and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Dr Kamal said the alliance believes in dialogue, which should be held in the national interest.
“We believe in talks. We always think people are the owner of the country and the owners will hold talks for the interest of the country, not for any particular party,” he said.
Kamal added: “Let a dialogue be held for the national interest. Let talks be held keeping national goals and constitutional values in the forefront. We always supported it and will give full support to it in future.”
A 23-member delegation of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance, led by Hasina, is scheduled to join talks with a 16-member Oikyafront delegation, led by Dr Kamal, at the Gono Bhaban this evening.
While taking part in yesterday's discussion, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the government had been torturing his party men for the last 10 years.
“We are being steamrolled and it has not stopped despite calling for a dialogue with us,” he said.
Referring to the recent court verdicts against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Fakhrul said, “Two verdicts were given in the last two days. These reflect the government's will … “
Amid such a situation, people are doubtful about a meaningful outcome of the dialogue, he said.
The BNP leader urged the government to utilise “an opportunity” created over the dialogue and accept their seven-point demand, including holding the parliamentary polls under a non-partisan government. Otherwise, the prevailing political impasse would not end, he said.
At the programme, BNP Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged that the country's people were facing the rule of what he called was “unwritten Baksal”.
People were killed during AL rule in the 1970s and something similar is happening now, he alleged.
He added their seven-point demand had to be met to fulfill people's expectations.
BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed said they would continue their movement until their demands were met.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said the countrymen wanted a fair election and the government had no alternative to holding the polls in a free and fair manner.
Chairing the discussion, JSD President ASM Rab said if the government wanted to hold an inclusive parliamentary election it had to make the dialogue a success.
“The ball is now at the government's court,” Rab said, urging for arranging an open dialogue. A dialogue could not take place with any precondition, he said.
Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said today's dialogue could be a success if the government showed sincerity. “It's possible to resolve any problem through discussions.”
Referring to a letter from the prime minister on “talks in line with the constitution”, he said the dialogue would not be successful if a “wall is built in the name of constitution”.
The dialogue has to be based on the seven-point demand, he added.