Dhaka, Nov 15 (PTI) In a veiled criticism of the US’ effort to interfere in the domestic politics of Bangladesh, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said nobody would be allowed to create barriers to holding a “free and fair” general election in the country on January 7.
Momen said that the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to holding a “free and fair” election and said, “If anyone wants to obstruct the polls, we will not allow that. Nobody can create a barrier, we will punish them.” Momen was speaking with reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to a report by the United News of Bangladesh. He did not name any country.
“Nobody will be allowed to create barriers to holding the national election,” he added.
Earlier, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Hass urged all sides to de-escalate, eschew violence and try to figure out a way to have dialogue without pre-conditions to improve the election atmosphere.
“Ambassador Haas has requested meetings with senior officials in all three major political parties to underscore the US position regarding the upcoming elections,” the US embassy in Dhaka said in a statement on November 13, Somoy News channel said in a report.
However, responding to a question on Washington’s call for a political dialogue, Momen said it is irrelevant what foreigners say. “We don’t pay heed to them unless it is practical and reasonable,” he was quoted as saying by the UNB.
Bangladesh Awami League, the ruling incumbent party, is a pro-election party and will take part in the election as the party believes in the election and relies on the people and their verdict, Momen was quoted as saying, and added “Which embassy says what is irrelevant?” The Foreign Minister also answered questions regarding other political parties, their prospects, etc. before appreciating Bangladesh’s courage and confidence and asserting that “We (the ruling dispensation) rely on people,” the UNB said.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Dhaka on Wednesday said that violence, or, threats of violence, directed at diplomatic personnel are unacceptable and deeply troubling. “We have repeatedly raised our concerns about the threatening rhetoric directed at Ambassador Peter Haas with the Bangladeshi government,” said UNB quoting the US Embassy spokesperson Stephen Ibelli as saying.
Earlier, Awami League leader Mujibul Haque, in one of his public speeches, had threatened to “beat” Haas, prompting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to order action against him, as per another UNB report. PTI NPK AKJ NPK NPK