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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Jamaat leader meets US diplomat ahead of Saturday’s rally

  • US govt took interest in Saturday’s rally
  • Cannot hold rallies as not a registered political party
Update : 27 Oct 2023, 10:04 PM

A key Jamaat-e-Islami leader has met a US diplomat at the American Club ahead of the Saturday’s grand rally of the opposition BNP.
 
International Affairs Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Dr Syed Abdullah Mohammad Taher met the US Embassy’s first Political Secretary Matthew Bey on Thursday morning.

Taher is a former chief of Jamaat and a former member of the parliament. He entered the American Club at 10am and left at 11:20am.

The issue came to the fore on Friday and drew media curiosity as Jamaat, a political ally of BNP, insisted that it would hold a separate rally on Saturday at Shapla Chattar, the business district of the capital Dhaka, despite police objection.

Police maintained that Jamaat cannot hold rallies since they are not registered as a political party.

When asked, the US embassy, however, did not make specific comments on the meeting.

“As diplomats, we talk to a wide variety of organizations, institutions and people: civil society and non-government organizations, media professionals, business leaders, chambers of commerce, political parties, academics and universities, government officials, cultural contributors, educators, and many more types of organizations, institutions and individuals. These conversations help us better understand Bangladesh and strengthen our bilateral relations,” an embassy spokesperson told Dhaka Tribune in an email response.

The US government took interest in Saturday’s rally as the opposition issued an ultimatum to the government to settle the election issue on the street. BNP demands an interim government to oversee the election. The government sticks to holding the election as per the constitution.

The ruling Awami League will hold its peace and development rally on Saturday which is being seen as a counter to BNP’s demonstration. The US government issued a safety and security alert for its citizens in Dhaka.

Ambassador Peter Haas met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at the latter’s office in the Secretariat on Sunday.

After the meeting, the home minister said the ambassador discussed the rally issue and asked whether the government would close the roads for the rally. The minister also asked the journalists whether the ambassador was right in asking such a question.

The embassy, however, refuted the claim and said the subject of road closures did not come up during the meeting.

Ambassador Haas had "expressed the importance of peaceful demonstrations and interference-free participation in the political process," a spokesperson for the embassy said in a statement later.

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