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Business leaders want emergency lifted, democracy restored PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Staff Correspondent

The businesses in pre-dialogue talks with the government Monday asked for an end to the state of emergency and democracy to be restored.

"We want to go back to an effective democracy. The advisers have agreed on the issue," president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Annisul Huq told reporters after the meeting.

Four advisers to the caretaker government sat in the meeting with representatives of different business organisations at state guesthouse Meghna. "We have also asked them to lift the state of emergency," Huq said. "We have spoken for the common people in the meeting. We want assurance for the economy."

"We want to go back to an effective political atmosphere and elected government," the chief of the country's apex trade body said. "We have heard of reforms, but we are not aware of what sort of reforms they are talking of." "We want qualitative changes in every sector including politics.

We don't want to go back to an atmosphere of pre-1/11," Huq added. The business community would send an 'integrated' view to the government in 10-15 days, Huq said. The government was represented by communications adviser Ghulam Quader, law adviser AF Hassan Ariff, local government adviser Anwarul Iqbal and commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman. Foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury was also present at the start of the talks.

Among the business leaders present were Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Hossain Khaled, BGMEA president Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury, BKMEA president Fazlul Hoque, Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceuticals Industry president SM Shafiuzzaman Khokon, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Latifur Rahman, International Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubur Rahman and former FBCCI president Mir Nasir Hossain. Later the advisers held pre-dialogue talks with Islamist party Khelafat Majlish.

The party asked the emergency government to keep the prices of essentials within the reach of common people, lift the state of emergency, ensure the implementation of the electoral roadmap in time and hold national elections before other polls.

They also demanded implementation of the recommendations of the review committee on women development policy, transparency in the trial of detained political leaders and release of those against whom no charges had been proved and non-interference in the internal affairs of the political parties.

The advisers are scheduled to sit with the Jatiya Party (Manju) and Krishak Proja Party later in the day. The talks are being held as part of the government's ongoing pre-dialogue informal talks with the political parties, civil society and business leaders.

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