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BD Foreign Minister briefed to the Diplomats about present political unrest

Foreign Minister, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP briefed the Heads of Missions/ Ambassadors/ CDAs of the OIC countries and the SAARC and ASEAN countries this afternoon on the current political situation in the country at State Guest House Padma as part of his regular consultations with the Ambassadors and Heads of Mission based in Dhaka.

During the briefing, Foreign Minister, mentioned that since the assumption of office for the second consecutive term last January, the present Government has been relentlessly working to further improve the socio-economic condition of the country. He referred to Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to the UK to attend the Girl Summit and her bilateral visits including those to Japan, China, UAE and Malaysia.

The Foreign Minister also mentioned about Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to Italy to attend the ASEM Meeting, where she met a number of European leaders who lauded Bangladesh’s achievements particularly in fulfilling the MDGs. Furthermore with the support of the OIC, SAARC and ASEAN member countries Bangladesh has won 10 international elections in the last one year.

When all these indicators were on the positive rise and common people started to reap the benefit of the all-round development, then suddenly on 5th January 2015, on the first anniversary of the 10th Parliamentary elections, the BNP-Jamaat alliance started their destructive activities making innocent people victims of their unethical political ambition.

Referring to the European Parliament Resolutions on Bangladesh, adopted on 16 January and 18 September 2014, condemning violence and terrorist acts and their call for ban on political parties resorting to such acts, the Foreign Minister lamented that marking the first anniversary of the Government’s present tenure, the BNP-Jamaat alliance has embarked on a campaign of rampage and destruction of public and private properties showing complete disregard for the lives of the ordinary citizens.

In this context Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali drew attention to the mindless acts of violence particularly burning of innocent citizens by throwing petrol bombs in public and private transports. Members of the law enforcing agencies, despite their utmost restraint in dealing with the situation, have also not been spared from the atrocities committed by the BNP-Jamaat activists, he added.

Mr. Mahmood Ali appreciated the understanding by the members of the international community. He lauded the European Parliament’s resolution of 16 January 2014, which states: “whereas the BNP opposition is continuing to cooperate with Jamaat-e-Islami and the splinter group Hefazat-e-Islam, which are regarded as the main instigators of the violence”…“Strongly condemns the killings and widespread violence which erupted throughout the country in the run-up to and during the January 2014 elections, especially attacks on religious and cultural minorities and other vulnerable groups…expresses serious concern at the paralysis of everyday life in Bangladesh on account of strikes and blockades”.

The same resolution urged the BNP to unequivocally distance itself from Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam. The resolution also stressed that parties which turn to terrorist acts should be banned, he added. Bangladesh Foreign Minister expressed his satisfaction at the European Parliament resolution on 18 September 2014, which recognized the progress made by Bangladesh towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which has resulted in significant real-life improvements for millions of its citizens; further acknowledges the fact that these improvements were made under difficult domestic circumstances, including the constant threat of violent attacks by radical groups such as the BNP-affiliated Jamaat-e-Islami party”.

In this context, he referred to the High Court Division Order asking the Government to prohibit the publication or broadcast of any statements and messages by the BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman as long as he remained a fugitive in the eyes of law. Criticizing the current acts of violence carried out by the BNP-Jamaat alliance, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister commented that such behaviour cannot be described as democratic and urged upon the BNP-Jamaat alliance to shun the path of destruction and mayhem.

Foreign Minister referred to the recent media reports with regard to a purported telephone call made by the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Amit Shah, to Begum Khaleda Zia, and a statement issued by six US congressmen expressing their concern over the recent political situation in Bangladesh, and said that upon inquiry, both have been found to be absolutely false and baseless. This speaks of the complete lack of responsibility on the part of the BNP, he said.

Foreign Minister said that the people of Bangladesh have not responded to the destructive politics of the BNP-Jamaat alliance, which has been demonstrated in the course of last few days. In this connection, he mentioned that, in two recent incidents, perpetrators have been nabbed by the common people and handed over to police and one of the culprits has confessed that he belongs to the BNP.

The Heads of Missions/ Ambassadors/ CDAs of the OIC countries expressed their unequivocal support in favour of the people of Bangladesh in their progress towards development. They also underlined that BNP did not listen to the proposal of Arab Group when they advised Begum Khaleda Zia to participate in the last year’s general elections. They condemned such heinous acts of violence and called to introduce a tougher law to protect the civilians as well as police. Some of them also voiced their support in favour of banning Jamaat-e-Islami, if the government considers so.

The High Commissioners/ Ambassadors/ CDAs of SAARC and ASEAN countries expressed their concerns at the ongoing violence and destruction of lives and properties caused by the mindless acts of terrorism and condemned such activities. In this context, they welcomed the recent statement of the Prime Minister that the law enforcing agencies will also go after those who are responsible for such attacks. In response to queries from the attending diplomatic representatives, Foreign Minister said that in order to create a stable political atmosphere, they must shun the path of violence as terrorism cannot be a part of democratic polity.

During the briefing, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, and Foreign Secretary, Md. Shahidul Haque were present.

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