Democracy must continue in Bangladesh at any cost: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said democracy must continue in Bangladesh at any cost, reiterating her commitment to hold the next general election in a free and fair manner.
"Democracy should continue in Bangladesh at any cost. In no way, the undemocratic forces should assume power," she said.
Hasina said this when a delegation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of Bangladesh paid a courtesy call on her at her place of residence, the Taj Hotel, in London on Monday
Rushanara Ali MP, chair of APPG on Bangladesh and on Rohingya and the UK shadow minister for Investment and Small Business led the delegation.
Other members comprising the delegation are APPG on Bangladesh members, Vice Chair Virendra Sharma MP, Vice Chair Valerie Vaz MP, Vice Chair Imran Hussain MP, and Foysol Choudhury MSP, chair of Cross-party Group on Bangladesh at the Scottish Parliament.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen briefed reporters after the courtesy call.
Sheikh Hasina told the APPG delegation that they are committed to holding a free and fair election, saying all the reforms required to this end have already been made.
The PM said they have enacted a law for formation of the new election commission (EC) through a search committee and giving the EC complete administrative and financial independence to work independently to hold free and fair elections.
She also said the voter list was prepared with photographs and transparent ballot boxes in line with her party Awami League's proposal placed while it was in opposition.
The APPGs delegation has expressed their satisfaction with the preparation to hold a free and fair election in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has offered the APPGs delegation to send an election observer team to oversee the next general election, Foreign Minister Momen said.
All the members of the APPGs praised the remarkable development of Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Hasina.
The prime minister, in reply, said the massive development of Bangladesh has been possible due to having continued democracy and a stable situation for a long time.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her satisfaction over the existing bilateral relations with Britain, saying that Bangladesh has been doing various businesses with the UK and British investment in Bangladesh has been increasing.
The premier sought larger investment from the UK, particularly in renewable energy citing that 100 special economic zones and 39 hi-tech parks are being set up across Bangladesh.
She offered the UK a dedicated economic zone in Bangladesh just like South Korea, India, and Japan.
Regarding the Rohingya issue, the PM has sought cooperation from the UK to send them back to their homeland, saying, "Rohingyas want to go to their motherland, Myanmar."
Bangladesh has also sought attention from the UK to take measures for raising humanitarian funds for the Rohingyas which has been showing a decreasing trend recently, Momen said.
The British government has committed to support Bangladesh in the International Court of Justice over the Rohingya issue, he added.
About the Ukraine war, Hasina said Bangladesh never wants any war but rather to resolve any issue through discussion.
In this regard, she referred to the inhuman experience of Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 saying, "We never want war as the poor people, particularly women and children, immensely suffer from the war.''
Foreign Minister Abdul Momen, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem and PM's Speechwriter Md Nazrul Islam, were present during the meeting.