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    Posted December 2, 2013 by
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

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    BNP-led 18-Party alliance has extended its 72-hour blockade by 59 hours

    Party’s Joint Secretary General Salahuddin Ahmed told over telephone that the blockade throughout Bangladesh would now end at 5pm on Thursday.

    The announcement came in form of a video message recorded at an undisclosed location.

    “The blockade of roads, railways and waterways will continue until 5pm on Thursday.

    “We are extending our programme as the government has not accepted our demand for a non-party caretaker dispensation [to supervise the polls] and the schedule for a unilateral general election has not been cancelled,” Salahuddin said.

    Another Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi - arrested early Saturday morning -- had first given the blockade call on Friday.

    The blockade starting at 6am on Saturday was supposed to end at 6am on Tuesday. With the latest extension, the programme has turned into a 131-hour one.

    Salahuddin said many would suffer due to the blockade. “But still, I request the people of the country to enforce the blockade.”

    He has maintained links with the media over phone from undisclosed locations and sending video messages updating the party’s plans since Rizvi’s arrest.

    The BNP leader alleged the government had finished preparations for an one-party election. “They (the government) have stuck the last nail on the coffin of democracy and the Election Commission is directly involved with this process.”

    On Nov 26, the BNP-led 18-Party alliance had called for a 71-hour blockade rejecting the polls schedule.

    They enforced a fresh round of blockade from Saturday after top BNP leaders were implicated in an arson case.

    At least 27 people have been killed across Bangladesh in the two spells of blockade. Apart from damaging a large number of vehicles, the railways have suffered extensive sabotage.

    Monday is the last day for submitting nomination papers for the general election. The BNP and its allies have threatened to boycott and thwart the polls.

    As the two major alliances are yet to reach an agreement over the polls-time dispensation, the US, EU, India and China have been pushing for a dialogue to end the deadlock.

    United Nation’s Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco is coming to Dhaka on Dec 6 amid the turmoil apparently to broker talks between the feuding parties.

    The Opposition extended its blockade programme until Dec 5.

    Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad on Sunday made it clear that the deadline for submitting nominations would not be extended.

    He had earlier hinted at changing the schedule if the two parties reached an understanding.

    Dec 5-6 have been kept for screening the nomination papers for the Jan 5 election and Dec 13 is the last date for withdrawing candidature.

    BNP leader Salahuddin warned the government would fall like ' any other autocrat regime.'

    He hoped Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would step down accepting the Opposition’s non-party demand before that happens.

    Protesting against Hasina’s allegation that the Opposition Leader was committing ‘genocide’ in the name of movement, Salahuddin said: “The Prime Minister is blaming the Opposition Leader for her ‘genocide’.

    “It is not right. The ‘genocide’ at [Motijheel’s] Shapla Chattar had taken place on the PM's order.

    “The Awami League’s history is that of the ‘Rakshi Bahini and its ‘genocide’,” he claimed.

    The Rakshi Bahini was a para-military force that operated under direct control of the Mujib government.

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