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Not AL, polls obstructionists should fear US visa ban, say leaders

Published : Sunday, 24 September, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 156
Hedayet Ullah Khan

As the ruling Awami League (AL) is in favour of holding a free, fair and impartial election in the country so the party is not worried about the visa ban process of the United States (US) that has begun the process of applying visa ban on individuals responsible for obstructing democracy and the electoral process in Bangladesh.

Awami League thinks that there is nothing to worry or panic about this ban. Rather, the party will be watchful about the visa ban and the party will try to understand what the US wants to do or convey with the visa ban.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller announced the start of the visa ban process in a statement on Friday.

While talking to the Daily Observer about the US visa ban process AL leaders were not seeing the visa ban as a cause of panic. The current government does not care about visa policy.

AL leaders said Awami League government wants to conduct a peaceful, free and impartial election. The party that wants a peaceful and impartial election does not care about the visa policy.     

The leaders of the party also said that conspiracies at home and abroad will not work to disrupt the elections and there is no chance to be influenced by any policy.

Meanwhile, many important members of the party and the government also welcomed the US visa ban policy and said that due to the visa ban policy BNP-Jamaat alliance is under pressure not the Awami League or the government.

Regarding the matter, AL Presidium Member Abdur Rahman said, "Visa policy is their (US) only internal matter. As the US has started the visa ban policy on individuals who will be responsible for obstructing democracy and the electoral process so it will not be contradictory with the Awami League.

 We also want a free, fair and smooth election in the country. So, we have no worry and similarly have no enthusiasm about the US visa ban policy."

"We only want to see the US to be focused on their points for which they have started their visa ban.

 If it is done then I think that it will be fearsome for those parties who want to spoil the elections.

 So, BNP and their likeminded parties will be in panic for the visa ban policy as they repeatedly announced to halt elections at any cost," he added.

AL Organizing Secretary and Whip of Jatiya Sangsad from the ruling party Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon said, "Bangladesh is an independent sovereign country. We are a proud nation that established the independent state at the cost of three million fresh lives. Many big powers also opposed our freedom struggle. The nation does not fear anyone's insults."

"In order to protect the continuity of democracy and develop democracy, the upcoming general elections will be free and fair. Election observers may observe the election. But no encroachment on our sovereignty will be tolerated," he added.

At the same time, AL Organizing Secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel said, "As we are in favour of free and fair elections so we are not worried about the US visa ban policy. Rather, those who want to thwart the country's democracy and election will be in fear and panic for the US visa policy."

Meanwhile, in a programme on Saturday AL Joint General Secretary and Education Minister Dipu Moni said, "Not the government but BNP is under pressure over the US visa ban policy. The government is not feeling any pressure regarding the visa policy."

"The opposition party is supposed to feel the pressure to get the visa. It is for them to think. The government and the Election Commission want to conduct elections with transparency. So the current government is not feeling any pressure about the visa policy," she added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister's Private Sector Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman commented that the implementation of the US visa policy is 'very good.'

He said, "The implementation of the visa policy is being started, we think they (the United States) have done it very well. They told us this before. The visa policy includes bans on those who obstruct elections, commit violence. We are not obstructing the election. Sanctions should be imposed on those who threaten to block."

At the same time, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said that the responsibility of the US visa ban policy is not for the government, but for those who obstructed the election. However, Awami League does not care about visa policies and restrictions.

Obaidul Quader returned home on Saturday evening after treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. He said these while talking to journalists at the internal lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

He said, "The current government does not care about the visa policy. The Awami League government wants to conduct a peaceful, free and impartial election. Those who want free, peaceful and impartial elections do not have care about the visa policy."

"Rather, those who don't want elections and want to question the election are in fear due to the US visa ban policy. The reality of the implementation of the visa policy will be seen," Quader added.

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