All set for AL-JOF talks


Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also the ruling Awami League president, is set to hold a dialogue with the Jatiya Oikya Front at her residence Ganabhaban on Thursday on the 11th Parliamentary elections due by January 28, 2019.
Hasina sent a letter to the new opposition alliance chief Dr Kamal Hossain, also the Gono Forum president, on Tuesday invited front leaders to the dialogue at 7:00pm on Thursday.
The front at a meeting on Tuesday decided that a 16-member delegation led by Kamal Hossain would take part in the dialogue, front leader ASM Rob, also the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction president, said at a briefing.
The delegation also includes Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction president ASM Abdur Rob, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury, BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar and Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nagorik Oikya leader SM Akram, Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, JSD vice-president Tania Rob and general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan, and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya leaders ABM Mostafa Amin and Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, also former Dhaka University Central Students’ Union vice-president, meeting sources said.
The prime minister on Tuesday also invited Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh to a dialogue at Ganabhaban on November 3, as the party’s president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury on the day sent a letter to her seeking talks, AL cultural affairs secretary Asim Kumar Ukil said.
Disclosing the schedule for the AL-JOF dialogue, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said that his party wanted to discuss Jatiya Oikya Front’s demands with an open mind and elaborately.
Obaidul Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, at a briefing at the ministry said that Hasina replied to the letter of Kamal, which sought for the dialogue, and invited them to the dialogue.
He said that he talked to Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu Monday evening asking for a list of 10 to 15 or more leaders of the front for the dialogue.
In the invitation letter addressed to Kamal, Hasina said, ‘Take Salam and greetings. Thank you for your letter dated October 28, 2018. My door is always open for discussion over all issues in line with the constitution for the continuation of the democratic process earned through immense struggles and sacrifices. So, I invite you to Ganabhaban at 7:00pm on November 1, 2018 as you sought time for talks.’
Awami League office secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap handed over the letter to Kamal at his Bailey Road house in Dhaka at about 7:45am.
The prime minister on Monday agreed to hold the dialogue in response to Kamal’s letter sent to her on Sunday for the dialogue over their seven-point demand, including resignation of the government, dissolution of present parliament and formation of polls-time non-party neutral government.
Front leaders held a meeting at Kamal Hossain’s chamber at Motijheel in the afternoon for the preparation for the dialogue.
After the meeting, front spokesperson ASM Rob told reporters that a possibility would be created through the dialogue. ‘“No dialogue” stance has failed.’
He said that everything, including their seven-point demand and 11-point objectives, would be discussed in the talks.
Rob said a stalemate was created at the critical juncture of the country. The door is opened through the dialogue with the prime minister, he said, adding that discussion among the ruling and opposition leaders was going on and would continue to solve the ongoing political crisis.
On Sunday, Kamal sent the letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina seeking dialogue over the national election.
On October 13, the Jatiya Oikya Front was floated by main opposition BNP, Jatiya Oikya Prakriya of Kamal Hossain, JSD and Nagorik Oikya with seven-point demand, including resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament and formation of polls-time neutral government through discussion with all political parties, release of jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all other political prisoners, reconstitution of the Election Commission, no use of electronic voting machines in the next general election and deployment of army with magistracy during elections.
The 11-point objectives of the front include decentralisation of the administration, appointment of the ombudsman, amendment to the constitution including Article 70 on floor crossing, establishment of Constitutional Commission and Constitutional Court to ensure appointment of honest, non-partisan and competent people to the constitutional offices and empowerment of people, formation of Supreme Judicial Council and formulation of rules on the appointment of Supreme Court judges to ensure independence of judiciary and reform of the Anti-Corruption Commission to curb corruption in public and private sectors.