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Business leaders voice concern over setbacks to talks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 June 2008

Education and Commerce Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman(L) and FBCCI Chief Anisul HoqDialogue stalemate

Businessmen in talks with cabinet members Tuesday demanded that the country return to democracy through elections.
But the businessmen said they were worried about the current stalemate after major political parties decided to boycott the talks, putting a question mark on dialogue.

"We are not happy with the situation at all, as some will join the dialogue and some won't," FBCCI president Annisul Huq, who led 300 business representatives to the dialogue at the Chief Adviser's Office, told a news briefing.

"We have sat with the government for the sake of the economy. The country should go back to democracy and it should happen through elections."

"There was a pre-dialogue session. Now the main dialogue is going on. Two major political parties have said they won't join the talks keeping their leaders behind bars. The businessmen are worried. They fear an instable situation," Huq said.

"We have clearly said we need to get out of it. The elections should be held by the government-declared deadline, and that should be held through participation of all political parties."

"The situation is getting complex."

To come out of the current situation, the businessmen would extend all-out cooperation, if necessary, Huq said.

The businessmen, Huq said, want the politicians to rule the country but it does not mean that the country will go back to the old days of confrontation.

"The election is their demand but they do not want any situation that takes the country to the previous volatility."

The business leader accused foreign diplomats in Bangladesh of interfering with "internal affairs".

"We have asked the government to take steps so that they do not continue this culture," Huq said.

The businessmen demanded a specific date for the polls, he said.

"The chief adviser has assured us that the polls will be held by Dec 31," he said.

Replying to a query, Huq said the issues of freedom of the two leaders did not come up in the meeting.

The FBCCI boss said the businessmen placed several recommendations for the government to ensure a better political culture in the country.

Major recommendations included enactment of laws that will bar a person from contesting the polls more than twice, provisions for revealing sources of fund of the political parties and banning student politics that kowtows to the mainstream political parties.

Leading negotiator and commerce adviser Hossain zillur Rahman said there should not be any confusion about the December elections.

"We are expecting a rich outcome of the dialogue," he said after the meeting.

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