Dhaka Metropolitan Police has imposed an indefinite ban on meetings, processions and rallies in Dhaka metropolitan area from Sunday morning as a measure to prevent political clashes.
This comes five days ahead of an anti-government rally organised by the BNP-led 18-party opposition combine, which has threatened to paralyse the capital to press home their demand for a caretaker government to conduct next elections.
Senior BNP leaders warned of “armed resistance” if the government obstructed the rally, also telling that the government will not be allowed to run the country after October 25.
Police, meanwhile, tightened security around BNP’s headquarters in Dhaka’s Naya Paltan ahead of its rally where activists have been told to come armed with “machetes and axes”.
The situation had somewhat changed with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer of an all-party interim government to conduct the polls during her address to the nation on Friday. Many fear that the ban on political gatherings would aggravate the situation.
The main opposition was likely to give its formal response to Ms. Hasina’s offer late on Saturday. However, several key party leaders spoke critically of the proposal.
However, prominent civil society leaders welcomed the Prime Minister’s proposal with some terming her address “positive” and “constructive”.
The country’s apex trade body, FBCCI, expressed hope that the opposition “would set the trend for healthy politics” by accepting Ms. Hasina’s proposal. However, some opinion leaders said it lacked details.
The Jatiya Party of Gen. H. M. Ershad, an ally of the ruling alliance, termed Prime Minister’s speech on formation of all-party election-time government “unclear” and “vague”.
Bangladeshi Constitution calls for holding the parliamentary elections within 90 days to the expiry of the government’s tenure. The countdown begins on October 25 and elections should be held by January 24.