Diplomats from Western countries including the United States want dialogue between Awami League and BNP before the schedule of elections. They feel that time is running out fast. Street violence is on the rise due to political agendas. The situation may worsen if schedule is announced without compromise. So a meaningful dialogue now will pave the way for free, fair and peaceful elections. In this situation, many are hoping for a compromise at the last minute.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Peter Haas held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Masoud Bin Momen on Thursday. Both sides decided to keep the contents of the meeting confidential. There is a glimpse that the current situation of the country may come up for discussion along with other issues. When the US Embassy was contacted to know about the meeting of the ambassador with the secretary, in a message sent to the media, the spokesperson said, “As diplomats, we talk to various organizations – organizations, institutions and individuals.”
We speak to civil society and non-governmental organizations, media personalities, business leaders, chambers of commerce, political parties, academics and university officials, government officials, cultural figures, and many more. These contacts or discussions help us understand Bangladesh better and strengthen bilateral relations.
It is heard that the Election Commission will announce the election schedule in the middle of this month. As per custom, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners pay a courtesy call on the President before announcing the schedule. On November 5, President Md. The schedule may be announced after the Election Commission meets with Sahabuddin. The Election Commission is holding a preparatory meeting with the political parties on Saturday, the day before that. The election schedule and the date of its announcement will be finalized in consultation with the President.
According to the constitution, there is an obligation to hold the National Assembly elections by January 29. The schedule has to be announced 45 to 50 days before the polls. As such, even if the election schedule is announced in early December, it is possible to hold the polls at the scheduled time. However, the Election Commission wants to vote a bit earlier as a precaution. Meanwhile, after a one-day hartal and 72 hours of continuous blockade across the country, BNP and its agitating parties have announced two more days of blockade program. There have been casualties due to violence during the strike-blockade. On the other hand, Awami League is in the field in the name of peace rally.
Concerns have arisen among foreign diplomats after the violent incident in the capital Dhaka on October 28. Countries are advising their citizens to exercise caution. Investments in various countries may suffer if political instability persists. Countries do not want violence for these reasons.
After the violent incident on October 28, the embassies of the United States and six of its allies, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Norway, and the United Kingdom, condemned the violence in a joint statement. The statement expressed grief over the casualties. The statement called on all partners to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. The embassies call for efforts to pave the way for free, fair, participatory and peaceful elections.
Apart from this, foreign diplomats in Dhaka are separately urging dialogue between Awami League and BNP in various discussions. US Ambassador Peter Haas held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal in Dhaka.
Peter Haas called for resolving the crisis through unconditional dialogue in the meeting. On the other hand, British High Commissioner Sarah Cook raised the issue of dialogue during a meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal at the Secretariat. The Home Minister has stated that the government has no objection to unconditional dialogue under the Constitution. The minister said that they are willing to engage in dialogue to maintain a peaceful environment.
When asked, political analyst Mohiuddin Ahmad told Jugantar on Thursday, “I don’t see any concession mentality among the political parties. As a result, I do not see the possibility of dialogue. As a result, there is a risk of more or less violence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also rejected the possibility of dialogue. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a press conference after returning from Brussels, what is the dialogue with the murderer. Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader also rejected the possibility of dialogue on Thursday. However, since the Home Minister did not rule out the possibility of dialogue, many feel that without the Prime Minister’s consent, the Home Minister should not show a positive attitude towards the dialogue. Because there is no alternative to dialogue.
A source close to the diplomatic process told Jugantar that if the schedule is announced too soon, the situation will become more complicated. Even if foreigners encourage dialogue between the two major parties to resolve the crisis, they will not mediate in such dialogue. It will also encourage free, fair and peaceful elections.
Communication between the government of Bangladesh and the United States on these issues continues. Recently US Assistant Secretary of State Afrin Akhtar visited Bangladesh. Prime Minister’s Private Sector Adviser Salman F Rahman visited the US and held a meeting with Under Secretary Uzra Jaya.
According to the source, as US relations with Bangladesh are permanent and multi-faceted, Washington will not take any steps around the election that will seriously damage the overall relationship. However, a review of incidents of violence may have implications for the application of visa policies. A related official told Jugantar, “Democracy and human rights protection are basic principles of the United States.” In addition to supporting Bangladesh in this policy, it is important for the United States to preserve the existing strong relationship.