Letter to Biden: Dhaka to update US congressmen on issues raised
Dhaka will reach out to all six US congressmen to update them on the issues of human rights and elections in the country, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam today.
He said there were exaggerations, inconsistencies and information gaps on the issues that the congressmen mentioned in the letter sent to President Biden.
On May 25, US Congressmen Scott Perry, Barry Moore, Warren Davidson, Bob Good, Tim Burchett, and Keith Self wrote to Biden for urgent actions to stop the "human rights abuses" by the government to give the people the "best possible chance for free and fair parliamentary elections".
Besides accusing the government of human rights violations, the letter also claimed that under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's watch, religious minorities in the country are also suffering.
"We have collected the letter. Like other communications, there are many exaggerations. Even, there is a significant gap in information ... there are inconsistencies. That goes on to tell you how weak the effort was," Shahriar Alam told journalists at the foreign ministry.
"We saw such letters issued in the past. More may come in the future as the elections are approaching," said the state minister noting it's up to the Us president whether he will take such letter into cognisance.
"But, constructively, as I said, we will reach out to all these members. Not only them, those who have interest in these, we will update all of them about the issues covered in the letter on a regular basis."
Asked for comments on speculations that some other countries may follow the US new visa policy, Shahriar said these are nothing more than rumours.
"On a serious note, these are all propaganda… There is no possibility of such kind. As the election approaches, you will see more propaganda, messages, and photos, etc. All these should be verified. Here, the mainstream media have a big role to play, to work judiciously," he said.
Those who study and practice diplomacy and international relations will know that visa is a foreign policy tool and it is not applied equally to all countries, the state minister added.
He said the source of the power of Awami League is the people and they will judge the party in the elections based on how it performed and worked for people in the last 14 years.
Asked what's his take on the "Akhand Bharat" (undivided India) mural in India's new Parliament building that has triggered some concerns in Nepal and Pakistan, Shahriar Alam said Dhaka has asked its mission in New Delhi to seek clarification.
The mural as explained by the Indian foreign ministry is the map of the Ashoka empire that used to reign 300 years before Christ. The journey depicted in the mural may have a cultural similarity or other similarities, he said, adding: "It has nothing to do with politics. This is not the map of 2023. There is nothing to be confused."