Wednesday, 28 September, 2022

Demand for Poll-time Neutral Admin

BNP begging foreign help to put pressure on govt

BNP begging foreign help to put pressure on govt

Major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is trying to convince foreign powers to put pressure on the Awami League government to realise its demand for holding the next parliamentary elections under a neutral administration.

“In our meetings with them (foreign diplomats), we are discussing the issue as holding of the next national polls under a neutral government is the demand of the people,” BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told the Daily Sun.

Asked as to whether BNP is working to gain support from foreign countries to their demand for the next election under a poll-time neutral government, he said those, who believe in democracy, will support the opposition’s demand.

Insiders said BNP is now trying to convince foreign powers, including influential countries and international organisations like the United Nations (UN), Commonwealth and European Union (EU), to put pressure on the government to realise their demand.

BNP has already started meetings with the foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka. The issues related to the next national election and human rights of the country are being discussed with them, sources said.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley met BNP leaders, including party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at the party chairperson's Gulshan office on July 13. BNP standing committee member Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury and organising secretary Shama Obayed were also present at the meeting.

After the closed-door meeting with the EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley, Khashru told newsmen that they discussed issues relating to bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the EU.

Khashru, also chief of the BNP’s international affairs committee, however, declined to say elaborately about the issues discussed in the meeting

Earlier on July 12, newly appointed UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis also met the Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

In March, German Abassador to Dhaka Achim Troster had a ‘closed-door’ meeting with the BNP secretary general and discussed various issues relating to the next election, the rule of law and human rights, meeting sources said.

Asked about the meetings, Shama Obayed, also member of BNP’s international affairs committee, said, “Most of the meetings are courtesy call as many foreign diplomats have come here recently. We discussed issues related to bilateral interests during the meetings.”

BNP sources said the party has been holding meetings with the foreign diplomats and seeking support of their countries to the demand for holding the next election under a non-party neutral government and the release of Khaleda Zia from jail.

At the same time, BNP is also trying to convince the foreign powers to put pressure on the incumbent Awami League government to realise their demands, the sources added.

The party has also planned to hold more meetings with the foreign diplomats. They also will increase their organisational activities across the country ahead of the next national election.

A BNP leader wishing not to be named told the Daily Sun that the party leaders during the meetings with foreign diplomats, provide written briefing about the country’s latest political situation and the condition of human rights and democracy in Bangladesh.

The written briefing also highlighted imprisonment of opposition leaders and activists, including Khaleda Zia, cases against party men, including its acting chairman Tarique Rahman and others.

BNP is also planning to send letters to the UN, Commonwealth and the EU seeking support for a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh and the party also will urge the organisations to play their due role in resolving the ongoing political crisis prevailing in the country, he added.

The party is working to convince the UN to put pressure on the government so that it sits in a constructive dialogue with major political parties in Bangladesh to overcome the current ‘political stalemate’ over the next polls, insiders said.

BNP central leaders, including former diplomats and former bureaucrats, are working to develop relationship with different countries, including the US, the UK, China, Russia and India and international bodies such as the UN and the EU.

Several teams of the party are also working abroad, particularly in the UK and the USA to convince the foreign powers to put pressure on the incumbent AL government, the sources added.