7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Another opposition bloc may pull out of talks

A SECOND opposition group is considering pulling out of the National Dialogue, it emerged yesterday.

The National Democratic Action Society (NDAS) central committee will hold an urgent meeting with its members to discuss the matter.

The news comes a day after Al Wefaq National Islamic Society withdrew from the process, claiming it was unrepresented.

It evoked widespread condemnation from Dialogue participants, but organisers said the door remained open for the bloc to return.

"As of now, we are taking part in the Dialogue, but the way things are developing we will meet and decide whether to withdraw from the sessions," said NDAS member Dr Munira Fakhro.

Dr Fakhro said there was no doubt Al Wefaq's absence would affect other opposition groups taking part.

"Al Wefaq is the largest opposition bloc and its absence will affect other groups attending the sessions," she said.

"We really have no clue what is next in this process unless a top official explains to us where we are heading."

The activist said she had voiced her reservations regarding the mechanisms of the Dialogue on several occasions.

"I am not happy with the process as you have more than 70 people in each session who are given about three minutes each to share their views," said Dr Fakhro.

"In some cases, there are provoking ideas raised to get a reaction and we need to get a clear picture of facts."

Dr Fakhro said NDAS only decided to take part in the Dialogue due to pressure from members.

"We took part as many members of our central committee supported the initiative," she said. "But what we attend are sessions where points are noted with no clear outcomes."

Other NDAS members taking part include deputy secretary-general Radhi Al Mousawi, Hafiz Hafiz, Mahmood Hafiz and Fareeda Ghuloom, wife of NDAS secretary-general Ibrahim Sharif.

Mr Sharif was jailed for five years by the Lower National Safety Court last month for being part of a 21-man plot to overthrow the regime and having links with a foreign terrorist organisation.

Mr Al Mousawi said the society could reconsider its decision to take part in the talks depending on what its central committee decides.

"Al Wefaq not taking part has affected other opposition groups lobbying their demands on the table," he said.

"We have raised our suggestions about the process and received no positive response or reaction," he added.

"We, as an opposition group, refuse to endorse what's going on and will not sign any document related to any outcome," Mr Al Mousawi said.

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