Donald Lu's Tour of Hope and Despair



Kabir Ahmed, Assistant Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Barta24.com

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US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu is visiting Bangladesh again. This diplomat's visit to Dhaka, which is well-versed with the internal affairs of the subcontinent, especially Bangladesh, deserves mention. Although his visit is not based on a political program, it is only a diplomatic visit.

Donald Lu is discussed in this region for various reasons. He was aware of the last election held in Bangladesh. He was discussed in all discussions about visa policy. Americans were worried about visa ban creating a situation to interfere with Bangladesh election politics. He has visited Bangladesh several times. All their visits, various comments have given food for discussion in the political arena of the country. The government was embarrassed, the anti-government party BNP was optimistic and the people were in uncertainty.

Last January, BNP and like-minded parties and alliances were excluded from the 'constitutional obligation' elections. Awami League is supposed to be in power for the fourth time in a row. America's previous relationship with the new government no longer exists. Although the relationship of mistrust between Bangladesh and America has not been sweet, it has been raised from the stage of widowed relationship to the level of some tolerance. As before, Awami League leaders-ministers-MPs and even the prime minister are not making harsh comments against America.

There were many discussions at home and abroad about the twelfth parliament. US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter Haas was in the discussion. His hyperactivity was discussed and criticized at that time. However, after the election, the US ambassador was present at the swearing-in ceremony of the cabinet. After that, he went to the ministries and tried to remove the distrust, emphasized on the development of relations. A change in the position of America before the election and America after the election can be observed. The opposition parties, including BNP, hoped that the US would not recognize the new government, or even stop cooperation, ban visas; But nothing happened. America did not send a 'congratulatory message' to the new government but assured cooperation.

Last February, US President Joe Biden in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina referred to the 'strong relationship between the people of the two countries as the foundation of the US-Bangladesh relationship' and supported Bangladesh in achieving its ambitious economic goals as well as establishing a partnership with Dhaka to fulfill the common dream of establishing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. He expressed his determination to work. In the letter, Joe Biden wrote, 'As we begin the next chapter in the US-Bangladesh partnership, I want to express our administration's commitment to working together on regional and global security, economic development, climate change and energy, global health, humanitarian assistance, especially Rohingya refugees, and many more. I am presenting the wish.'

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina responded to Biden's letter. It is visible that the ice in the relationship between the two countries started to melt. Bangladesh has been one of the focal points of the US State Department's regular press briefings. Discussions of visa restrictions, restrictions on labor policies also started to decrease. No one is talking about it now in the country as it has gone out of the discussion of the US State Department. Embarrassment within the government has begun to subside, BNP, which had become very optimistic about America before the elections, is realizing that it was not right for them to depend on the Americans.

BNP was so preoccupied with Peter Haas and his role before the elections that it commented in a public meeting that the ambassador had become an 'avatar'. Shahjahan Omar, the barrister who called Peter Haas an avatar, was the vice chairman of the BNP and a two-time minister of state in the Khaleda Zia government. During the movement, he was arrested in a case of sabotage and went to jail. After getting out of jail on bail, he left BNP and joined Awami League to participate in the elections, and won. Not only Shahjahan Omar, BNP General Secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir along with top level leaders of BNP repeatedly visited Peter Haas, also held secret meetings several times. Some of it they have admitted, while some of the information about the meeting was initially admitted but later denied.

BNP was once dependent on America to overthrow the government. At one stage of this over-reliance they almost ignored the power of the people. At first they blamed India for normalizing Bangladesh-US relations after the elections. And now it has started to return to the path of politics. Now they are not showing interest in Donald Lu's visit to Bangladesh because of their optimism about America. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's speech has proved it. He said, 'There is no time to worry about who came and who left.' Mirza Fakhrul is not only the main strength of their party, but Nazrul Islam Khan, a member of the BNP's standing committee, said, 'South and Central Asia Assistant Secretary of State for Affairs Donald Lure's arrival or absence does not change anything. Lu is a long way off. We are worried about the state of the country.' He thinks the behavior of the armed group of Chattogram Hill Tracts 'Kuki-China' is more important than Donald Lu's visit. He claimed, "The government has failed to control the activities of this armed group."

Donald Lew came to Dhaka via Colombo. His itinerary speaks volumes for their interest in the region. Foreign Minister on the visit Hasan Mahmud, Forest and Environment Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary Dr. Masud bin Momen. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Advisor Salman F. Rahman. There is no schedule of meeting with BNP in the itinerary so far. That is, the visit is primarily diplomatic, according to the government, to improve relations.

The words 'opening the next chapter in the US-Bangladesh partnership' mentioned in Joe Biden's letter are being discussed in Donald Lu's current visit. The government is giving importance to it, especially in various statements and comments. As there is no meeting with political leaders on the agenda, it is becoming visible that Donald Lu is coming to Bangladesh to advance partnership activities.

A big difference is visible between Donald Lu's visit this time and his previous visits to Dhaka. Earlier when he came, BNP was the party to be optimistic; the government was in a state of embarrassment. Now the situation is different. The erstwhile optimists are now disappointed, and the erstwhile embarrassments are now in the group of optimists. Country-country relations, diplomacy and diplomats, that's what happens! What is not? 

   

RAB to investigate death of woman in Kishoreganj: Spokesperson



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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After the arrest of a woman in a case in Bhairab of Kishoreganj, an investigation will be conducted into the death in RAB custody, said Commander Arafat Islam, Director of Law and Media Wing of RAB.

He said RAB will go through legal process. Besides, the actual cause of death will be known through medical examination.

Commander Arafat said this in response to a question from journalists at a press conference held at RAB's media center in the capital's Karwan Bazar on Saturday (May 18) evening.

When asked about the complaint of detention of the woman who died in RAB custody from the police station, he said that a case was filed under the Women and Child Repression Prevention Act in Mymensingh on May 13. As a result, two accused in the case were arrested. After arrest, she was taken to a camp to be brought under the law. If a person feels ill there, they are taken to the local health complex. There the doctor declared her dead.

It is known that about a year and a half ago, Azizul Islam's son Taijul Islam got married to Hasim Uddin's daughter Rekha of Bheramari village in Bhairab. After the marriage, there was a family dispute between them. Rekha died on April 26. It is alleged that he died due to torture by his in-laws. On May 2, Rekha's mother filed a case against Azizul Islam along with her son and wife in Mymensingh's Women and Child Repression Prevention Special Tribunal. After hearing the case, the judge directed Sub- Inspector Nazmul Islam of Nandail Police Station to register the case and investigate. Then the case was registered in Nandaile police station on May 13.

Bhairab RAB camp members went to Nandaile police station around 9 pm on Thursday and summoned Suraiya Khatun, Azizul Islam and Taijul Islam through the police. After that Azizul Islam was released and the other two were arrested and brought to Bhairav camp late at night. RAB members took Suraiya dead to Bhairab Upazila Health Complex on Friday morning.

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Female under trial prisoner died in Kashimpur Central Jail



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
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A female inmate of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail in Gazipur died while undergoing treatment. The deceased is Amina Begum (40), daughter of Rumel Hossain of Matukpur village of Domar police station in Nilphamari. Her Jail No. 394/24.

She died on Saturday (May 18) around 2.30 pm while undergoing treatment at the hospital.

According to prison sources, Amina Begum, a prisoner in the women's prison, suddenly had chest pain. Later she was immediately sent to Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Medical College Hospital in Gazipur from the jail. When she was taken to the hospital, the doctor on duty declared her dead around 2.30 pm after the examination.

Jail Superintendent Shahjahan Mia of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail said that Amina was sent to the hospital when she developed chest pain. After being taken to the hospital, doctors declared her dead. Her family has been informed. The body will be handed over to the family as per jail rules

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7 people died in three districts due to lightning



News Desk, Barta24.com
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Seven people died due to lightning in three districts. Four people died in Narsingdi, two in Tangail and one in Gazipur due to rain and lightning from morning to noon on Saturday (May 18). The news were sent by the district correspondents of Barta24.Com...

Narsingdi

Four people, including a mother and son, died in a separate incident of lightning in Narsingdi.

This incident took place in the Char area of Alokbali Uttarpara and Hajipur suburb of Sadar Upazila around 10 am on Saturday (April 18).

The deceased are Sharifa Begum (50), wife of Kamal Mia of Alokbali Uttarpara, her son Iqbal Hossain (12) and Qayyum Mia (22), son of Karam Ali. A person named Kamal Mia was seriously injured in this incident. All of them are residents of Alokbali Uttarpara.

Besides, a person named Moslehuddin (50) died in Chakpara of Hajipur Union of Sadar Upazila.

Gazipur

A housewife named Fatema Akhter (45) died due to lightning while she was drying paddy in Gazipur's Sreepur.

The incident took place on Saturday (May 18) around 11 am in the Galdapara area of Kawraid Union of the upazila. The deceased housewife is the wife of Md. Noor Hossain, a resident of that area.

Tangail

Two brothers were killed by lightning while cutting paddy in Tangail's Kalihati.

The incident took place on Saturday (18 May) at around 9 am in Nowabari village of Bir Bashayan Union of the upazila.

The deceased are Afzal Hossain and Amir Hossain. They are residents of Chakradharpur village of Pirganj upazila of Dinajpur district. The deceased was his cousin.

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No registered Hajj pilgrim will miss Hajj



Mufti Anayetullah, Assistant Editor, Barta24.com
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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Director of Bangladesh Hajj Office Muhammad Kamruzzaman is hopeful that no registered pilgrim will be deprived of Hajj.

Hajj pilgrims without visas are in a state of uncertainty. However, Director of Bangladesh Hajj Office Muhammad Kamruzzaman told Barta24.com, "I am hopeful that everyone registered in the current Hajj season will get a visa." A few agencies are having complications with Hajj pilgrims, half of which have already been resolved. The rest of the work is in the process of being solved.

The Holy Hajj can be performed on June 16 subject to sighting of the moon in the month of Zilhaj. The Hajj flight which started from Bangladesh on May 9 will end on June 10. During this period, 85 thousand 117 people will go to Saudi Arabia for Hajj with guides under government and private management. So far 28 thousand 4 pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia. 82 thousand 100 visas have been issued. Still 3 thousand 336 people registered privately have not got their visas.

It is reported that Worldlink Tours and Travels (license 570, number of passengers 286), Ansari Overseas (license 601, number of passengers 260), Al Risan Travel Agency (license 672, number of passengers 444), Miqat Tour and Travels (License 1025, number of passengers 375), North Bengal Hajj Travels and Tours (License 1086, number of passengers 260), Holy Darun Najat Haj Overseas (license 1462, number of passengers 250) was mourned by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. 1 thousand 875 people are expected to go for Hajj this year through these agencies.

And Al Risan Travels Agency's registered Hajj pilgrims have not been issued a visa on Thursday (May 16), Ministry of Religious Affairs has written to the Home Ministry to bar the agency's managing director Md. Abdus Salam Mia going outside the country and legal action will be taken against him.

M Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), an organization of Hajj agency owners, told Barta24.com, "We sat down with the owners of the accused agencies, including Al Risan Travels Agency, and discussed the problem point by point and tried to solve it." Already the visa process for Haj pilgrims of Holi Darun Najat Haj Overseas, Worldlink Tours and Travels and Miqat Tours and Travels has started. It will happen to others. He also expressed hope that no registered pilgrim would be deprived of performing Hajj.

When asked the reason for being so optimistic, the HAAb President said that the agencies have sent the amount of money needed to be sent to Saudi Arabia for Hajj management. And as many problems as there are, hopefully they can be solved.

If you want to know about this, the managing director of Al Risan Travels Agency Limited Abdus Salam Miah told Barta24.com, "I have not sent anyone for Hajj this time. Mufti Lutfar Rahman Farooqui of Akbar Hajj Group is sending 448 Hajj pilgrims using my license due to problems with his license. Mufti Lutfar Rahman spoke on the phone from Saudi in a meeting with the HAAb President about the current problem, he assured; Nowadays 20 to 30 people will get visas. And by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, everyone's visa will be done. He has rented a house in Madinah, a house in Makkah is also about to be rented.

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