BNP welcomes US new visa policy

Dhaka Prokash UNB

25 May 2023, 06:58 pm | Updated: 02 December 2023, 08:46 pm

BNP welcomes US new visa policy
Photo: Collected

Welcoming the new visa policy of the USA targeting the next national election in Bangladesh, BNP on Thursday hoped that it would play a supporting role in ensuring fair elections.

Talking to reporters in front of the party chairperson’s Gulshan office, BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru also said there is no reason for their party to be worried about the USA move since it is involved in vote rigging.

“We welcome this decision of the USA as it was made considering the concern of the people of Bangladesh over the (next general) election. I think this step will help at least play a supporting role in holding the next polls in a fair and credible manner,” he said.

Khasru, also the chairman of BNP’s foreign affairs committee, said the US move has sent out a message that the people of Bangladesh cannot exercise their right to franchise and their constitutional rights have been taken away while their lives are at a risk.

Stating that vote rigging is going on continuously in Bangladesh, he also said the US new visa policy is a big message to stop election manipulation in the days to come.

Khasru said the ruling party should be worried about their future if they again indulge in vote rigging instead of restoring people’s voting and democratic rights.

He also said the US has taken the move as a reflection of the people of Bangladesh’s worries over the upcoming national election. “There’s no discussion about the election of other countries, including our neighbouring ones. The US visa policy was announced specifically for Bangladesh and its specific organisations and individuals.”

The United States on Wednesday announced a new visa policy specific to Bangladesh, with a view to promoting free and fair elections.

"Under this policy, we can impose visa restrictions on individuals and their immediate family members if they are responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday.

Khasru said vote rigging is taking place every day in Bangladesh. “It won’t happen only on the election, we welcome their (US’) move to stop it.”

He said the US has comprehensively talked about its action against all those who try to disrupt the election, steal votes and occupy the polling stations.

"They've talked about the judiciary, journalists, law enforcers and government officials...the United States will apply the policy to anyone who are directly or indirectly involved in vote stealing,” the BNP leader observed.

Asked whether the US policy is a success for BNP, Khasru said, it’s not a matter of success." Success will come the day the people of Bangladesh will be able elect their representatives and their government with their votes. This (visa policy) is perhaps the best move from this point of view.”

He also said the country’s people welcomed the US visa policy as it is a clear message against the election fraud.

Replying to another question whether the US step will lead to fair elections in the country, the BNP leader said, the people of Bangladesh have to ensure fair elections, restore democracy and safeguard human rights and the rule of law by themselves.

He said many more measures have to be taken so that Awami League cannot rig votes and usurp power once again.

The BNP leader also said filing ‘false’ cases against the opposition leaders and activists, arresting, attacking and killing them are also a process of vote rigging. “The USA has taken the decision keeping all these things in mind.”

Referring to Gazipur city polls, he said there was no democratic environment and level- playing field there and the government did not allow their party’s ex-mayor Zahangir Alam to contest the election. “So, people have no confidence in the elections.”

He also said vote rigging will not be stopped and people’s confidence in the polls will not be restored unless a caretaker government is formed removing the current regime.

Category : Politics