If Khaleda had agreed with Sheikh Hasina’s proposal in the tea meeting, Bangladesh would have seen another picture of political history. She perhaps would not spend her days in jail now.
October 27, 1987. A meeting was held between two leaders with a purpose to give a new dimension to the anti-autocracy movement. BNP-led intellectuals are the main organizers of the meeting. Sheikh Hasina was ahead of Begum Zia in terms of leadership and organizational activities. A part of the civil society of the country came with the philosophy of balance in politics. They created a situation that both of the leaders were forced to sit on a meeting to uproot dictatorship. Many of the AL leaders agreed with the decision. The venue was fixed at Bangabandhu Bhaban, Dhanmondi 32. But Khaleda Zia disapproved the venue. She asked for a neutral venue. A surprised AL president did not want to meet first. But later she changed her mind in favor of democracy. 9:00 pm, October 28 was fixed as the date and time of the meeting. The venue was in Mohakhali, at the rest house of Atomic Energy Commission’s quarter. Begum Zia reached there at 9.55, while Sheikh Hasina reached at 9.17. Amir Hossain Amu and late Wazed Miah received her and took her to the rest house. At first there was a photo session of the two leaders. Then tea was served to them. Both the leaders held a close-door meeting in the meantime. After the meeting, the two leaders came out and sat separately with their own party leaders. At 10:45 pm BNP`s then secretary general KM Obaidur Rahman read out a joint statement of behalf of both parties.
However, what was the discussion about in the close-door meeting? According to the close companies of the two leaders the brief conversation was something like this:
Hasina: How are you doing? Everything good?
Begum Zia: Yes, kind of.
Hasina: What is the problem with Dhanmondi 32?
Begum Zia: Nothing much
Sheikh Hasina: In sha Allah the trial of the killers will take place on the soil of this country. Those who have assisted the killers won’t be spared too. Democracy will never take place without giving recognition to Bangabandhu. Recognize the Father of the Nation, pledge for the trial of his murder on 15 August. Then let`s establish democracy together. Without this promise democracy will be meaningless.
Begum Zia: Let’s go. They’re waiting.
Two leaders came out then and started the official meeting. If Begum Zia had agreed with the proposal, the politics of Bangladesh would have seen something different now.