C'wealth wants BNP to take part in polls
12:00 AM, October 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:55 AM, October 04, 2018

C'wealth wants BNP to take part in polls

Its Secy General Patricia Scotland writes to Fakhrul

Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland has urged BNP to participate in the coming national election.

“I would again strongly encourage Bangladesh Nationalist Party to participate in the forthcoming general election, as it is only through fully inclusive and participatory elections that a genuine democracy can function,” Patricia said in a letter to BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on September 19.

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Referring to her three-day visit to Dhaka in August, during which she met BNP leaders, she wrote, “I thank you for setting out to me so clearly your assessment of current political developments in Bangladesh, and the challenges presented as the 2018 general election approaches.”

She also referred to her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leaders, saying that all stakeholders indicated their desire for a free and fair election.

“May I assure you of my own determination and the continuing readiness of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the lead up to the 2018 general election to work alongside all in Bangladesh who are engaged in upholding and deepening the rule of law, accountability and participatory democracy in accordance with the values and principles of Commonwealth Charter.”

During the visit, she also met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and several other ministers and dignitaries.

In the letter to the BNP secretary general, she said in order to follow up on particular issues raised during the discussions, she asked senior officials of the Commonwealth Secretariat responsible for their work in those specific areas to be touch with BNP's office.

“We look forward to building on the firm foundations of friendship and goodwill which enable fruitful cooperation to flourish between the people and institutions of Bangladesh and the wider commonwealth.”

Fakhrul told The Daily Star he would reply very soon.

In September, a three-member BNP delegation, led by Fakhrul, met UN officials and high officials of the US State Department.

Party insiders said a BNP delegation is likely to visit the EU headquarters in Brussels and the US to talk about the coming JS polls.

In 2015, the then UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon wrote to Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to sit for talks to end violence.

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