Bangladesh parties welcome decision to end emergency rule
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its right-wing allies welcomed the decision by the military-backed government to lift the state of emergency on December 17 ahead of the upcoming general elections, media reports said Thursday.
"We hope now the people will participate in the upcoming election in a joyful mood," Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the party's secretary-general, told a private television channel after a lengthy meeting of the leaders of the four-party movement led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, reported dpa.
A panel of advisers to the interim administration announced late Wednesday the state of emergency would be lifted from December 17.
The restrictions on rallies and processions would also be withdrawn starting Friday, to allow the candidates to go for full-swing electioneering, an adviser said.
Bangladesh's major political parties, international donors and prominent citizens have been asking the interim government to restore civil and political rights by lifting the state of emergency ahead of the poll.
President Iajuddin Ahmed promulgated the state of emergency on January 11, 2007 against the backdrop of a serious political confrontation between the Bangladesh Awami League party of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Khaleda Zia's BNP, postponing elections scheduled for the same month.
"The government has decided to lift the state of emergency on December 17 subject to a presidential proclamation," Hossain Zillur Rahman, a key adviser to the government, said.
The BNP-led alliance had threatened to boycott the December 29 polls if emergency rule was not lifted.
Alliance leaders regarded their success in compelling the government to announce the withdrawal of the state of emergency as a victory.
"It is a victory of the people and the four-party alliance," the BNP secretary-general said.