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Bangladesh Ponders Peaceful Transfer of Power
Justice Hasan's refusal to head caretaker government prompts presidential intervention
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-10-29 15:06 (KST)   
Former Chief Justice K.M. Hasan's refusal to become the chief adviser of a caretaker government (CACG) for Bangladesh prompted President Iajuddin Ahmed to hold a crucial meeting with party officials on Saturday night at the presidential residence.

According to the presidential office sources, Justice Hasan sent a letter to the president expressing his unwillingness to take the job.

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The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general and Awami League general secretary were called to speak with the president. After the meeting, Mannan Bhuiyan and Abdul Jalil told waiting reporters that they discussed with the president certain proposals on the appointment of the chief advisor to a caretaker government.

The BNP Secretary General and the Awami League General Secretary gave their assurances to the president that they would communicate their decisions after consultation with their party chiefs, Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina.

"We have discussed certain issues and we would inform the President about our opinion after consultation with my party chief and alliance," Bhuiyan told reporters.

Asked about the possible chief advisor to a caretaker government, he made no comment and promptly left.

Talking to journalists, Abdul Jalil said, "I have told the president that, except Justice Hasan and CEC Justice M.A. Aziz, any person within the purview of the Constitution would be acceptable to us for the office of chief advisor. I also requested the President to appoint a caretaker government by tomorrow [Sunday] evening."

Naturally all eyes are now on the president because he alone has the power to appoint the chief adviser and other advisers. Observers say they will not be surprised if this tension-packed drama lasts a few more days.

As was widely expected, Friday saw the curtain raiser of a thriller the script of which has been written by the two top contenders of power.

Clashes at Brahmanbaria, Gazipur and elsewhere left at least five -- including a BNP leader -- dead and scores of others injured.

The houses of some leaders of the newly-formed Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) were attacked, drawing strong words such as "an eye for eye, tooth for tooth" from retired Colonel Oli Ahmed.

Which side will gain how much from this muscle flexing remains to be seen, but many point out that it is the common people who suffer most.

At this moment, a reign of fear is sweeping the country. Will law and order totally collapse? Will foodstuffs disappear from market shelves? What will be the effect on the national economy? These are the questions haunting the people's minds.

Though there has been a heavy deployment of law enforcement personnel in the capital Dhaka, and other important cities and towns but the situation remains tense. One tiny spark can engulf the whole country.

Experts say peace primarily depends on the two sides exercising restraint, while at the same time President Ahmed must also act swiftly because that alone can defuse tension.

It is unclear what behind-the-scenes efforts are underway, but it is certain that Bangladeshi citizens want to see a peaceful transfer of power.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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