Ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) has skipped a dialogue on Bangladesh affairs organised by the House of Lords of the British parliament on Tuesday, Agencies report
The dialogue styled ‘Terrorism in Bangladesh and Rule and Law’ held at the upper house of the British parliament, was, however, joined a delegation of AL’s rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Speaking in the dialogue, BNP leaders alleged that free and fair elections are not possible in Bangladesh with AL president Sheikh Hasina as prime minister.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s economic affairs adviser Masihur Rahman, her foreign affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi and AL government’s former foreign minister Dipu Moni were supposed to join the dialogue. \They arrived in London, but did not join the dialogue.
House of Lords’ independent member Alexander Charles Carlile organised the dialogue. He in a statement later termed “disappointing” AL’s boycotting of the dialogue. “It is a disregard to the British Parliament as well,” he said.
After the dialogue, the AL delegation, however, organised a press conference at the Bangladesh High Commission in the UK where AL officials said they didn’t join the dialogue as it was organised at a personal level.
They said they were told that the dialogue would be organised either by the British government or British parliament, but later they came to know that it was organised on personal initiative.
BNP standing committee member Amir Khorsu Mahmud Chowdhury, party’s assistant secretary for international affairs Rumeen Farhana, and another BNP leader Humayun Kabir represented the party in the dialogue.
The dialogue was also attended by Human Rights Watch’s South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly and two representatives of UK foreign ministry.
The dialogue discussed Bangladesh’s politics, the next elections and the human rights situation. Joining the dialogue, BNP officials alleged that Bangladesh’s AL government is harbouring terrorism to mute its opponents and militancy is spreading its tentacles in absence of democracy.
The BNP leaders alleged prime minister Sheikh Hasina was exerting her influence everywhere in the administration including in the police administration and will exert her influence in the election if she remains at the helm of the administration during the polls.
Members of House of Lords, however, told the BNP leaders that BNP should not boycott the election no matter what the circumstance would be. Bangladesh is going to hold its 11th general election either in late 2018 or early 2019.