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Bangladesh former PM returns home

Former Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has returned home to lead her party in the general elections due next month.

She spent nearly four months in the US receiving medical treatment.

Thousands of Awami League party supporters welcomed Ms Hasina after she landed at the international airport in the capital, Dhaka.

There are a number of extortion and corruption cases pending against her in Bangladeshi courts and Sheikh Hasina faces possible arrest on her return.

She was detained last year after the army-backed interim government assumed power, but was released from prison in June to go abroad for medical treatment.

The Awami League leader had pledged to lead the party’s campaign in the elections scheduled for 18 December.

Ms Hasina told the BBC Bengali service said she was willing to forge an alliance with other pro-democratic forces – including former president Hossein Mohammad Ershad’s Jatiya Party – for the sake of democracy and welfare of the people.

“But elections must be held on schedule. The country is suffocating,” Ms Hasina said.

The former prime minister’s comments came as police in Dhaka said they could not find evidence against her in an alleged extortion case.


November 6, 2008 Posted by | Bangladesh, Politics | , , , | 2 Comments

Hasina returns early today

The rank and file of Awami League are now in a festive mood as the party President Sheikh Hasina returns home after her four months 24 days overseas treatment today (Thursday).

AL has taken all-out preparation to arrange a first-ever mammoth gathering from Zia International Airport to Dhanmondi Sudha Sadan residence as part of according a grand reception to her on the day.

According to party sources, the AL President Sheikh, started her journey from London by a flight of Emirate Airlines on Wednesday and is expected to land at ZIA at about 8am today.

Meanwhile, aspirants of AL ticket have begun picking up nomination forms for the ensuing Parliamentary polls. Syed Ashraful Islam on Wednesday inaugurated the distributing party’s nomination forms at the Banbandhu Avenue’s AL Headquarter in the morning. Tazimul Islam Shamim, relation of Dr Wajed Mia, picked the very first nomination form by paying TK some 7500 on behalf of Sheikh Hasina for constituency -217 (Gopalganj -3) .

Nomination forms would be on hand till Friday. Final selection of the grassroots level for candidates will be completed by November 9 as per AL’s decision. On the other hand, as per election schedule, the last date for submission of nomination papers is November 13.

While visiting the AL office, this correspondent witnessed a huge gathering in and around of AL Central Office. Around 970 nomination seekers picked up forms yesterday Followers and supporters of respective candidates remained busy showing their presence.

Coping with the fast changing political circumstances, the party brought some changes of requirements filing the nomination forms. Each candidate must fill up forms where some information is mandatory. These requirements include: address in details, academic qualification, previous political records – students’ politics, role of the candidate in 1971, after 1975, during anti-BNP-Jamaat movement in 2001 and after the 1/11 political changeover.

Talking to the newsmen, Syed Ashraful said, “We hope AL would be able to select honest and fit candidates for the upcoming polls. At the preliminary stage, forms for 300 seats will be distributed and later such allocation will be finalized among the allies of the mega alliance.”

“Sheikh Hasina will launch electoral campaign on Thursday. Final decision for forging electoral alliance, seat-sharing among allies, final nomination and election campaign would be after Hasina’s return,” added the AL spokesman.

Meanwhile, AL on Wednesday demanded of the Election Commission (EC) to defer the upazilla polls schedule by reasonable time at least one month.

A seven member high-powered AL delegation led by acting General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam held a meeting with the Election Commission.

After more than one and half hour long parley with the commission, talking to newsmen, Syed Ashraful Islam said, “We have requested the commission to set the timeframe for submitting nomination papers for UZ polls after the parliamentary poll.”

He said they also urged the commission to relax some criteria barring candidature of bill and loan defaulters.

“We have also requested the EC to introduce a code of conduct for both print and electronic media to ensure fair and impartial coverage of election news of all political parties. Besides, we have asked the commission to provide the list of local election observers to us so that we can asses their neutrality,” Ashraf added.

While his attention was drawn about lifting emergency before JS poll, the AL leader said, “It is the matter for the government to decide on and we have already talked to it in this regard. If necessary, we will sit with government again.”

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , | Leave a comment

Bangladesh leaders hail Obama

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday congratulated Barack Obama, president-elect of the United States of America.

In a message, the president said: “I would like to convey to you my warmest felicitation on your election as the president of the United States of America.”

He expressed the hope that during Obama’s tenure, bilateral relations would be further strengthened to mutual benefit of the two countries.

The chief adviser in his message said: “I am delighted to learn that you have been elected next president of the United States of America. Let me take this opportunity to extend to your excellency my heartiest congratulations on your victory.”

He hoped that in the coming years, the mutual relations of the two countries would be further widened and deepened.

Awami League President and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina in a message yesterday congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama.

“This is the victory of democracy,” she said.

The former prime minister expressed the hope that under the dynamic leadership of Obama, world peace and security would be ensured.

She also hoped that bilateral ties between Dhaka and Washington would be further strengthened under Obama’s presidency.

Bangladesh is also heading towards general elections, Hasina said, and hoped that a democratically elected government would be installed through a free, fair and credible election.

Former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama.

“I, on behalf of my party and myself, would like to convey to you our warmest felicitations on your election as the 44th president of the United States of America,” she said in a message.

She also expressed her belief that Obama’s clarion call for changes would instil a new concept in the Americans as well as world population.

Referring to deep friendly relations between Bangladesh and the USA, the former prime minister said her party expects the relations between the two countries will be further deepened in the days to come.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Bangladesh, Politics | , , | Leave a comment