AL calls countrywide hunger strike for Hasina
Friday, 25 April 2008

The Awami League will observe a symbolic hunger strike across the country on April 29 to demand the immediate release of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said a party leader Wednesday, reports agency.

The decision was taken at an evening meeting at acting AL president Zillur Rahman's Gulshan home. After the meeting, acting AL general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam told reporters that the hunger strike would start at 10.00am and end at 4.00pm.

The hunger strike will be observed in the AL offices on Bangabandhu Avenue and in Dhanmondi and in other 20 thanas of Dhaka city. Ashraful Islam said the presidium meeting had demanded national polls before the local polls. "We are not against the local polls.

As the Election Commission has already lagged in its roadmap by more than three months, we want national polls to be held before the local government polls," he said.

The AL also demanded a quick end to the state of emergency to help enable candidates to prepare for the polls. Ashraful referred to allegations by lawyers for Hasina of intimidation by an unnamed quarter. "It will be very unfortunate if the allegations are true."

On reconciliation of the BNP, the AL general secretary said it was not the Election Commission's job to settle an internal feud of a political party. "It made the commission controversial."

Asked if he had any doubt over the polls in time, he said: "We hope the election will be held in line with the roadmap. But there are possibilities that the EC may fall short of its goals. The EC has to be more active

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