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Hasina to BNP: cut Jamaat ties

Dhaka, Dec. 19 (PTI): Bangladesh Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina Wazed today said her party is ready for fresh elections and would dissolve the new parliament elected after the January 5 polls if the BNP-led Opposition shunned violence and cut ties with the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami.

Hasina asked the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and her rival, Khaleda Zia, to stop “killing people in the name of political movements and come to an agreement”.

“We can hold fresh elections dissolving (the 10th) parliament if we reach a settlement through negotiations,” the Awami League president said.

Hasina added that “there was no scope for them (Opposition) to take part in the January 5 polls”, since they have failed to nominate candidates.

Her comments came hours after Awami League spokesman Mohammad Nasim said talks begun by the UN is yet to end, though the elections would be held on the scheduled date.

“Parliament will be convened after the election and talks will be held to evolve a consensus for holding the 11th parliament polls,” Nasim told a news conference at the party office. UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s envoy Oscar Fernandez-Taranco came to Dhaka in early December and made the Awami League and BNP leaders to hold dialogue to find a political solution.

“Talks are ongoing and it will continue even after the general elections,” said the Prime Minister.

The BNP-led 18 party Opposition alliance started enforcing prolonged blockades after the Election Commission on November 25 announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary polls.

Khaleda’s BNP, Jamaat and their smaller allies have been holding protests since late October to try to force Hasina to step down so that a neutral caretaker government can oversee the election. Hasina is refusing to accept the arrangement which was in place during previous polls.

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