PM to assure Ban Ki-moon of ‘fair’ polls
Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee, Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

She will also assure of cancelling election results if the polls are questioned

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon 
    Photo- Creative Commons

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will assure UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of cancelling the election results if any question is raised about the election procedure at home or abroad.

She would also give the UN chief the assurance of holding the next general elections in Bangladesh in a free, fair and credible manner under the present constitutional arrangement when she would meet him at the ongoing UN General Assembly, leaders of the ruling Awami League told the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

Hasina left the country last night (September 22) on an eight-day official visit to attend the 68th session of the assembly, which had started on September 17 in New York, USA. She is scheduled to deliver her speech at the UNGA on September 27.

The PM would meet Ban Ki-moon on September 28, Permanent Representative to the UN for Bangladesh AK Abdul Momen told the Dhaka Tribune.

The Prime Minister’s Office had earlier decided on the meeting with the UN chief in response to his phone call to Hasina on August 23 to discuss Bangladesh’s existing political situation and the next parliamentary elections.

The UN chief also phoned oppoisition leader and BNP chief Khaleda Zia at the time.

Momen said political issues were likely to be discussed in Hasina’s meeting with Ban Ki-moon.

“The UN always supports free, fair, credible and inclusive election, and the secretary-general will ask the prime minister if the global body can provide any help in holding such polls,” he said.

Asked if the UN would play the role of a mediator between the Awami League and BNP, he told the Dhaka Tribune: “The UN will only do that when it will be asked by the government.”

He, however, said the UN would not impose any decision on Bangladesh.

About holding a meeting with the opposition leaders, he said: “I have prepared the schedule of the prime minister and so far I know there is no such scope.The dialogue should be held in Dhaka.”

The prime minister will also attend a number of high-level events and bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UNGA.

In addition to her meeting with Ban, Hasina is also to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the same day.

UNB reports that on September 24, the prime minister will attend a welcome reception hosted by Ban Ki-moon and later a high-level event on “Tackling the unfinished business: Accelerating MDG progress.”

Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and China will also call on the prime minister at the UN headquarters.

On September 25, the prime minister will attend a special event of the president of the assembly to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs.

Hasina will sign the “Arms trade treaty and protocol on explosive remnants of war of convention on certain chemical weapons” at the UN headquarters the next day. She will also attend a high-level plenary session on nuclear disarmament.

On September 27, Hasina will deliver her statement and then hold a press conference at the Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York.

On September 28, the PM will hold a meeting with her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. In the afternoon, she will have a meeting with Ban Ki-moon.

Sheikh Hasina will celebrate her 66th birthday at a programme with the Bangladeshi community in New York. Hasina was born on September 28, 1947.

On September 29, she will leave New York for home and is expected to reach Dhaka at 5:40pm on September 30.

Awami League Advisory Council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, Ambassador-at-Large M Ziauddin and PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad are among the prime minister’s entourage.

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