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Oikya Front meeting with diplomats: Attacks on opposition men dominates agenda

  • Published at 08:23 pm December 19th, 2018
US ambassador Miller
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller addresses reporters after a meeting with Jatiya Oikya Front leaders at a Dhaka hotel on Wednesday; December 19, 2018 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Oikya Front leaders briefed diplomats on the alliance’s election manifesto

The Jatiya Oikya Front has expressed concern over the ongoing attacks and cases filed against opposition activists in the run up to the 11th general election, slated for December 30.

Leaders of the political alliance condemned the attacks during a meeting with foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka, held at a city hotel on Wednesday. About two dozen envoys from various countries attended the meeting, including US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller.

Oikya Front chief and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain led the delegation from the political alliance at the meeting. 

In addition to expressing concerns over the attacks on opposition activists, Oikya Front leaders briefed the diplomats on the alliance’s election manifesto.

After the three-hour-long meeting, Dr Kamal Hossain told reporters that the diplomats did not argue against Oikya Front’s attack allegations, as the reports from their respective embassies had come up with similar findings.

He added that the diplomats had expressed interest in holding discussions with the authorities concerned over the issue.

Dr Kamal also heavily criticized Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, claiming a level playing field for the election was yet to be ensured.

BNP International Affairs Secretary SM Asaduzzaman Ripon, who was also a part of the Oikya Front delegation at the meeting, said the meeting had been organized to deliver an English copy of the alliance’s election manifesto to the diplomats.

 “We have informed them [the diplomats] of the main issues in the manifesto and on what we want to do. We have also notified them of how we are facing obstruction, attacks, cases and arrests,” he added.

Gonosasthya Kendra trustee Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, another member of the Oikya Front delegation, said they told the US ambassador that the violence centring on the next election would not continue if the armed forces were deployed from December 20.

BNP Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam khan said: “The foreign countries earlier requested that we take part in the polls, and we are taking part. They have placed importance on a fair election atmosphere, but a proper atmosphere for election has not been ensured yet.”

BNP Vice Chairman Sabih Uddin Ahmed, BNP Executive Committee member Tabith Awal, and Gonoforum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury also attended the meeting, among others.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller said after the meeting that he had urged all sides to avoid the path of violence and keep the election atmosphere peaceful

“It is the responsibility of Election Commission to hold a violence free election, and they will take necessary measures to do so,” The US envoy said.