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HT Imam: Awami League committed to holding free, fair polls

  • Published at 10:06 pm September 17th, 2018
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File photo of Awami League’s Election Steering Committee Co-Chairman HT Imam Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

'Awami League has always been attacked, but we have never attacked anyone'

Prime Minister’s Political Adviser and Chairman of Awami League’s 2018 election campaign committee HT Imam on Monday said the ruling Awami League is committed to holding free and fair elections, and the party will never deviate from this commitment.

He said that the Awami League wants a developed country, as well as peaceful coexistence with other political parties. 

Imam made the comments while addressing the inauguration of “Shantite Bijoy,” a national campaign seeking peace ahead of the national election slated for the end of December. The campaign is being organized by Democracy International, under the USAID and UKAID funded Strengthening Political Landscape (SPL) program. The slogan for the campaign is “Bangladesh will win if peace wins.” 

The inauguration was held at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka.

Democracy International invited 400 Awami League and BNP leaders from across the country to inaugurate the campaign, all of whom vowed to hold a peaceful national election.

“The Awami League has always been attacked, but we never attacked anyone,” the PM’s political adviser said.

He also urged all candidates and parties to refrain from spreading propaganda and personal attacks during the election. “If there is no peace and democracy, nobody can work for the good of the country,” he said.

Imam added that various measures are already being implemented to stop vote rigging, including transparent ballot boxes and a voter list with photographs.  

BNP Standing Committee member Dr Moyeen Khan said democracy is built for the majority with the consent of a minority, and transparency and accountability were crucial for democratic elections. 

“Peace cannot be established without justice. The voters will choose their candidates on their own,” he added.  

Outgoing US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat said all parties, groups, and individuals should be free to participate in the political processes leading up to the election.

The US ambassador also said that free, fair, and inclusive elections are especially important in a country which is on track to gaining a middle income country status.

“Individuals from different political parties must be free to express their political views, and to hold peaceful rallies and meetings without intimidation, reprisals or arbitrary restrictions,” she added. 

Bernicat further said: “Political parties must accept their rivals as legitimate participants in the political process, and as potential leaders of the next government—even when they disagree on issues or policies.” 

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake said that the UK will help Bangladesh in ensuring peace and democracy. “There is no alternative to democracy for maintaining human rights.”

She added that everyone needs to have equal right to vote, and every citizen should have the right to participate in the election.

The British High Commissioner further said the people of Bangladesh want a peaceful and tolerant political environment. “They do not want any violence in politics or the electoral process, because violence not only victimizes the politicians but also the general people.” 

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