H M Munir
The dark shadow that had kept the political firmament of the country overcast for quite a long period has suddenly withered. Even those who were most cynical about the probability of holding the forthcoming national polls in a free, fair and credible manner, ensuring participation of political parties across the board, have now become hopeful.
And this has been possible thanks to a timely move initiated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Her sagacious move to sit with major political parties to discuss how to make the next general election credible to all by settling the existing differences among parties has left political observers happily surprised.
Of a series of discussions that has been slated for the next one week, the first one, between ruling 14-party alliance led by Awami League and newly formed Jatiya Oikyafront led by Dr Kamal Hossain was scheduled for Thursday evening. The discussion was going on as of filing of this write-up.
We have firm belief on the assertion that debate and discussion is the beauty of democracy. We also believe any and every political or national dispute can be resolved through comprehensive discussions among the stakeholders.
The principle of resolving differences and disputes primarily through dialogue is what separates democracy from other political philosophies.
And a dialogue becomes comprehensive and can usher in an outcome that would be agreeable to all when it is inclusive. It is redundant to mention that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is well aware of this crucial notion of democratic practice.
The PM has not only responded positively to the opposition alliance Oikyafront’s request for a dialogue but she has also sent invitation letters to other major political parties.
We have deep confidence in the prime minister’s political sagacity and hope her initiative to talk to the parties on election will be a fruitful one and she will be able to present the nation with a credible solution.
But at the end of the day, the success of the proposed discussion will mostly depend on the positive attitude of the political parties which are going to participate in the dialogues. The two biggest parties — the AL and BNP — in particular will have to shed stubbornness and pay heed to each other’s logical arguments and thus they will be able to come to a point of agreement.
By inviting the major political parties and alliances to talks the PM has certainly shown her positive intent and reaffirmed her vow to democratic norms. Now it is up to the opposition camps, especially one led by BNP that has made many political wrong decisions in recent past for which they have paid much political ramifications, to come forward with an open mind.
It is only expected that BNP unlike the previous occasion on which the then BNP chief Khaleda Zia declined a call for negotiation ahead of the 10th parliamentary election and consequently missed the electoral train will be more sensible this time around. And the party is bound to do this to keep its existence alive.