US visa policy
The new US visa policy should be effective on BNP as they are trying to obstruct election through violence and anarchy, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said. Under the policy, the US can impose “visa restrictions on individuals and their immediate family members if they are responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.” Read: ‘Which party do they belong to?’: AL Facebook post responds to Fakhrul’s claim with photo of Chhatra Dal leader during yesterday’s clash "BNP's recent political programmes were nothing but obstruction to the upcoming national election,” Quader, also road, transport and bridges minister, said at a press conference at his Secretariat office today (July 31, 2023). "We don't want clashes and we won't go on the streets for that. Police will handle the situation and it is their responsibility," he added. “BNP leaders and activists will block all important entry points of Dhaka and try to disconnect the capital from other parts of the country. In this situation, should the police stay inactive? Police will definitely take action and it is their duty to protect people's lives and property,” said the minister. “Awami League wants a peaceful environment before and after the election. But BNP wants to remove Sheikh Hasina from power at any cost. So, we will remain vigilant until the election,” Quader added. Read: Be alert so that anti-liberation forces cannot rise: Law Minister Those who want election, should not go for conflict, he said. “No foreign embassy, no foreign delegate has so far said anything about a caretaker government or the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina or dissolving the parliament," Quader said. BNP's demand for a caretaker government did not get any support at home and abroad, Obaidul Quader observed. Among others, Awami League Office Secretary Barrister Biplab Barua and newly-elected Dhaka-17 MP Mohammad Ali Arafat were present at the briefing.
Visiting US Department of State's Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Uzra Zeya on Thursday said her country announced the new visa policy to supplement Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to hold free, fair and neutral election. She made the statement while calling on the prime minister at her official residence Ganabhaban, PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters in a briefing. “We do not have any bias towards any party, we want a neutral, free and fair election,” Zeya was quoted as telling the PM. PM Hasina said that it is her commitment to hold free and fair election in the country. Also read: US seeks worldwide partners' assistance for Rohingyas: Uzra Zeya “We always fought for free and fair election in the country, we already have held free and fair election,” she said. She mentioned that Awami League always fought for the rights of the people. “We always fight for people’s right to choose their representatives,” she said. She also mentioned that it was BNP who started vote rigging in the country. In this connection, she said that transparent ballot boxes have been introduced for polls. Hasina recalled the atrocities, terrorism activities and arson attacks of BNP and their allies during 2013-15 that left 500 people killed. Also read: Uzra Zeya reiterates US' hope for "peaceful, fair" elections process in Bangladesh She also mentioned about the grenade attack on her rally in Dhaka on August 21 in 2004 that left 24 people killed and over 500 injured. She said she was saved by Awami League leaders and activists who formed a human shield after the attack during BNP-Jamaat rule. Zeya told the PM that she visited Rohingya camps and talked to the displaced people from Myanmar. She put emphasis on strengthening coordinated international efforts to ensure reparation of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. She mentioned that US will provide some USD 74 million for the operational cost in Rohingya camps. Also read: Legal framework enough to hold free, fair elections: Law secretary to EU mission She highly appreciated Sheikh Hasina for hosting such a huge number of Rohingyas in Bangladesh. PM Hasina said that Bangladesh currently is hosting more than one million Ronhigays in two different areas of the country. She also said that human trafficking and anti-social activities are going on in these camps which are very much alarming for the country’s security. The under secretary said that her country will cooperate with Bangladesh for its financial and economic development. She said that the US will help and work together with Bangladesh in labour reforms initiative. In his connection, Hasina said that she personally pushed the owners of industries to enhance the wages and other facilities for the workers various times. Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin, Bangladesh Ambassador to United States Mohammad Imran, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and US Ambassador Peter Haas were present. Also read: US Under Secretary Uzra Zeya, Donald Lu visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Tuesday (May 30, 2023) said people who support free and fair election and work towards that end have nothing to fear regarding the new US visa policy. “I don’t see any disagreement at all,” he told reporters, noting that they in the US want the same what the people of Bangladesh want – a free and fair election. Ambassador Haas made the remarks while responding to questions on the new visa policy after a function in Dhaka. He said the US sees positive things rather than challenges. “We have a very strong partnership on trade, security relations, people to people ties, healthcare, and good conversation on the upcoming election.” Read more: Widened Dhaka-Washington relationship allows to freely debate on differences: Shahriar Haas said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made a clear commitment to hold a free and fair election in Bangladesh. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his announcement said the holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media." The ambassador spoke at the inaugural ceremony of a photo exhibition titled “Roots of Friendship: 50 Years of U.S.- Bangladesh Relations” at Edward M. Kennedy Center. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam spoke as the chief guest. Read more: New US visa policy to curb money laundering: Momen
Bangladesh's Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday (May 28, 2023) said that BNP wants to paint , as the aggressor to foreigners but Awami League will not do that under any circumstances. At the same time, he also warned that no concession will be given if any attacks are made on them. He gave this warning at a joint meeting at Awami League central office this afternoon. Obaidul Quader said Awami League will hold peace rallies across the country till the next general election for peaceful voting. “If necessary, programs will be given down to the ward level.” Read more: US visa policy will apply to BNP leaders who are making open declaration to obstruct upcoming polls Responding to a question on the new US visa policy specific to Bangladesh, the Road Transport and Bridges Minister said there is no reason for the government to be unhappy over it. “Bangladesh has no lord abroad, it has friends,” he said. The minister said, “We don't have any headache about that. We have started the process of a free and fair election. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made the Election Commission independent by law. We are preparing the ground for a free, fair and neutral election.” Al Joint General Secretaries AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Dr Dipu Moni, Organizing Secretaries BM Mozammel Haque, SM Kamal Hossain, Mirza Azam, Sujit Roy Nandi, Office Secretary Barrister Biplob Barua, among others, were present at the meeting. Read more: Police, BNP clash in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi; One vehicle torched
Awami League leader Mohammad A. Arafat has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, hoping that the US new visa policy will apply to those BNP leaders who are making an open declaration to obstruct the upcoming national election in Bangladesh. "I hope your Visa policy will apply to these people as well," he mentioned in his letter that he also shared from his verified Facebook page. Read more: Nothing to worry about new US visa policy; don't want arson, violence: Momen Arafat, a member of the AL central executive committee attached some video footages of some BNP leaders declaring they would obstruct the upcoming national election in Bangladesh. The AL leader said according to the visa policy that Secretary Blinken announced recently (and the letter that he sent to the FM of Bangladesh), “This policy supports Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stated commitment to hold a free and fair election in Bangladesh and allows the United State to act when Bangladeshi citizen or officials from all political parties undermine this critical pillar of democracy.” Read more: New visa policy to help PM Hasina's govt in holding fair elections: US
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said there is nothing to worry about the newly announced US visa policy, noting that the government is neither feeling pressure nor any discomfort. With this announcement, he hoped that parties which resort to violence, arson and destruction would remain cautious. "We don't want arson, violence and destruction. I hope these acts will come down," Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when his comment was sought. Responding to a question, Momen said they are not under any additional pressure from the US, noting that the relationship with the US is excellent. “We are not sure. It is yet to be tested. We do not know yet how helpful it will be. He (Ambassador Haas) could not tell whether they have become successful by applying such policy in any other country,” he told reporters after his meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas. Describing the letter he received from the US Secretary of State as very encouraging, Momen said Bangladesh Awami League is committed to holding a free and fair election. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants free and fair elections and this policy will further strengthen her position. "We want free and fair elections. Our Prime Minister is committed to it," Momen said, adding that Awami League always believes in voters. The Foreign Minister said they see very positively that they received from the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This policy supports Prime Minister Hasina’s stated commitment to hold free and fair elections in Bangladesh, Momen said, quoting the letter. He mentioned the use of transparent ballot boxes that made the norm to establish confidence among the electorates as well as the polling officials and agents. Momen also mentioned a strong National Election Commission is in place. He said all parties will have to have political commitment for a free and fair election. Asked whether the government accepts or rejects the new visa policy, Momen said there is nothing to accept or reject as this is a policy announced by the US. Read more: US govt’s new visa policy does not bother Bangladesh government: Shahriar Alam
The government of Bangladesh has said it expects that the local undemocratic forces that resort to violence, arson and destruction would remain cautious and refrain from their misguided efforts to jeopardize the electoral process as mandated by the Constitution. It is entirely up to the people of Bangladesh to sustain the hard-earned democratic process, political stability and development gains in the country, said the government in a statement. Read more: Nothing to worry about new US visa policy; don't want arson, violence: Momen "The government appreciates that the international community including the US firmly stands by Prime Minister’s sustained commitment to ensure free and fair elections," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday (May 25, 2023) while responding to new visa policy announced by the US government. The government apparatus will take necessary measures to prevent and address any unlawful practices or interference by any individual, group or entity to compromise the smooth and participatory conduct of the elections, MoFA said. The electoral process will remain under strict vigilance, including by international observers as accredited by the Election Commission, it said. Read more: New US visa policy declared targeting next Bangladesh polls The government of Bangladesh has taken note of the announcement made by the US Secretary of State on a visa restriction policy pursuant to the so-called 3C provision under the US Immigration and Act. "Bangladesh would like to view this announcement in the broader context of its government’s unequivocal commitment to holding free and fair elections at all levels for upholding the country’s democratic process," MoFA said. Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh remains a democratic and politically stable nation with experience of holding a series of elections at national and local levels, said the government. Read more: New visa policy to be implemented fairly on govt & oppn: Donald Lu Since the general elections in 2008, it is evident that the people of the country experienced unprecedented socio-economic development and empowerment due to continued political stability under the Awami League government. This resulted in the reduction of headcount poverty from 41.5% in 2006 to 18.7% in 2022, and of extreme poverty from 25.1% to 5.6% during the same period. Now an "international role model" for development, Bangladesh has become eligible for graduation from the UN Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026. These have been achieved due to the Awami League government being elected to office for three consecutive terms over the last fourteen years. The people of Bangladesh are very much conscious of their democratic and voting rights, MoFA said. Read more: US govt’s new visa policy does not bother Bangladesh government: Shahriar Alam There is no precedent for any government to continue in office having usurped people’s mandate through vote rigging, it said. The people’s right to franchise is considered a State sanctity by the Awami League government that has a political legacy of unrelenting struggles and sacrifice for securing that right. The government attaches importance to freedom of assembly and association for all peaceful and legitimate democratic processes. The electoral reform process in Bangladesh continues in a consultative manner involving all concerned stakeholders, MoFA said. As part of the process, photo-based voter ID cards were issued in response to the 10.23 million fraudulent voters enlisted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led government. Read more: New visa policy to help PM Hasina's govt in holding fair elections: US The use of transparent ballot boxes has also been made the norm to establish confidence among the electorate as well as the polling officials and agents. The National Election Commission continues to be equipped with the wherewithal to carry out its functions in full independence, credibility and efficiency, MoFA said. The present government took the initiative for the first time to get the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Appointment Act, 2022 enacted by the National Parliament. Pursuant to this law, a new Election Commission has been constituted. Read more: Bangladesh's upcoming national polls will be under AL govt: PM Hasina As mandated by the Bangladesh Constitution and Representation of the People Order, 1972, the entire executive machinery will remain at the Election Commission’s disposal to assist in the discharge of its responsibilities in a way as it may direct, MoFA said.