Diplomatic Correspondent : The United States has reiterated its voice for holding the upcoming Parliament in a free and fair manner and pushed for Bangladesh government’s commitment for freedom of expression so that the dissent opinions may flourish as part of vibrant democracy.
The matter surfaced during a bilateral meeting between US Under Secretary Uzra Zeya and Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on the margins of United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.
In a tweet, Uzra Zeya said, “Productive conversation with Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on the margins of UNGA78.
Appreciated meeting again to discuss the importance of free and fair elections and freedom of expression.”
Apart from this, the twitter post also pinpointed the US government’s continued support for the Rohingya and the host communities that are hosting the forcibly displaced people who were flushed out by the Myanmar military junta in the name of ‘ethnic cleansing’.
In July, Urzra Zeya along with her other colleagues including Donald Lu paid a momentous visit to Bangladesh aimed to cement the bilateral relations in multifaceted areas in the upcoming days.
During that time Zeya held a series of meetings with the government and other stakeholders and conveyed US government’s desire for a free and fair election in Bangladesh so that the people’s mandates are reflected in the elections allowing them to choose their leaders.
Whenever the US government representatives are holding meetings, they are pushing for free and fair election in Bangladesh.
In addition to it, the US government has been urging the incumbent government to allow the opposition political parties to hold meetings and processions and the law enforcers including police should not take recourse to excessive actions to foil their freedom of assembly.
The opposition preferably Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been continuing its nationwide one-point movement for a caretaker government and the dissolution of the Parliament for the resignation of the incumbent government.
BNP believes that a free and fair election is not possible under the current government in power as they had seen the last two elections -2014 and 2018- mired by election engineering and vote rigging.
But this time BNP and other political parties do not want to allow the government to hold elections by using the state machinery.
With this commitment, BNP on Monday announced a series of 15-day programmes simultaneously demanding election under caretaker government, unconditional release of BNP Chairperson and the three times former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
The demand for fair polls gained momentum when the US government reshaped their visa policy for the Bangladeshis saying that anyone who would involve in thwarting the free and fair electoral process, the individual will face visa restriction.
Such announcement brought tremendous changes in the country’s political landscape and the opposition political party leaders observed the reduction of excessive oppression against them and they got permission to hold their political programmes without much restriction from the government and the law enforcers.
Besides, the government whenever they had meetings with the US representatives committed that they would hold a free and fair election where people will be able to cast their voters without intimidation.
But BNP does not want to rely on the government’s ‘mere’ commitment to hold free and fair election.
Rather they want the dissolution of party and the formation of a caretaker government to hold an election free from the influence of the government.
However, the US government repeatedly said that they want to see a free and fair polls in Bangladesh.