Civil society team urges president to intervene

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Six representatives of the civil society on Tuesday night told president Abdul Hamid that democracy could be in danger if the general election was held without participation of the main opposition.
Expressing concern over the volatile political situation, the delegation led by jurist Kamal Hossain sought intervention of the president to overcome the situation.
After the one and a half hour meeting with the president, former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan told newsmen at the Bangabhaban gate that they had met the president and expressed their concern but made no specific recommendations.
Ihsanul Karim Helal, press secretary to the president, told newsmen that
the president had given the delegation a patient hearing and told them that he would convey the message to all concerned.
`The civil society members expressed their concern over the current situation and sought informal intervention of the president to overcome the crisis,’ Ihsanul said adding, ‘The president told them that he would convey the message to all concerned.’
The delegation included former caretaker government advisers Jamilur Reza Chowdhury and Sultana Kamal; lawyer Shahdeen Malik and Citizens for Good Governance general gecretary Badiul Alam Majumder.
Asked whether the delegation had a plan to met with prime minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP chief Khaleda Zia, Akbar Ali Khan said, `They are political rivals, so they have no solution and that is why we went to the president’.
`We have expressed our concern to the president and said that democracy could be in danger if the election is held without participation of main opposition BNP,’ Akbar Ali Khan said adding, `We must save democracy. We all want a neutral election.’
‘The president told us that due to his constitutional limitations he would not be able to take any formal steps. Any step taken by the president would be informal,’ said the former bureaucrat.
`The president alone cannot give a solution. The political parties have responsibilities too,’ he said.
Akbar Ali said that they had told the president that they were ready to offer advice if needed.
Kamal Hossain told newsmen that they had met the president on their own but each of them represented different organisations and had different identities.
The meeting with the president started around 6:30pm. The civil society delegation came to the Bangabhaban in two white cars of the same brand.
Sultana Kamal said that they had taken the initiative with confidence that a solution would come. ‘We will be trying for a soulution,’ she said.
The Election Commission on Monday announced that the 10th parliamentary election would take place on January 5.
The opposition alliance quickly rejected the election schedule and enforced a 48-hour road-rail-waterway blockade from 6:00am Tuesday.

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