AL's ploy to win US backing for one-sided poll
Acting Deputy United States Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, left, and Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, right, sign the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) in Washington, DC, last night while US Trade Representative Michael Froman, standing left, and Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Akramul Qader, standing second from right, look on. Photo: AFP
Although the current poll-time government is not allowed to take any major policy decision, its signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) with the US yesterday appears to be a ploy of the Awami League to garner the superpower's support for holding a one-sided election, several left parties alleged yesterday.
Holding separate rallies in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club, they also said the trade deal would have adverse effects on the country's economy.
The government signed the Ticfa with the US in Washington last night.
Addressing a rally of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) leader Rajekuzzaman Ratan said the agreement would require Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals to buy licences from the US to produce some patented drugs they were producing now with a waiver. So, prices of medicines will go up due to an increase in the production cost, he added.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal stage a rally before the capital's Jatiya Press Club yesterday protesting the signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) with the US.
Photo: Focus Bangla
Khalequzzaman of BSD and Monjurul Ahsan Khan of CPB also spoke at the programme.
Separately, leaders of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha (GBM), an alliance of several leftist parties, said the government was signing the controversial agreement amidst all the chaos over the election, hoping that the people would miss what was being done.
“Signing deals like the Rampal Power Plant with India and the Ticfa with the US proves that the government is ready to go any length to appease India and US, so that they can continue to be in power,” said Zonayed Saki.
Coordinator of GBM Saiful Huq said although Sheikh Hasina professed to be pro-liberation, she had actually capitulated to the US, which was against Bangladesh's independence in 1971.
Gonosanghati Andolon, Jatiya Mukti Council, and Jatiya Ganatantrik Ganamancha also held separate rallies to protest the agreement.