There is not enough time for 'dialogue', A.League told the US
Awami League said in its reply letter to the letter of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, stating that there is not enough time for dialogue.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu wrote a letter urging the political parties of Bangladesh to sit in dialogue with the aim of making the upcoming 12th national election free and fair. The party responded to the letter this evening.
Mohammad A. Arafat MP, a member of the party's central committee, took the reply to the letter on behalf of Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader at the US embassy in Bangladesh on Friday (November 17) evening.
In the letter, Obaidul Quader said, "On behalf of Bangladesh Awami League, I thank you (Donald Lu), Ambassador Peter Haas and the US State Department for your letter dated November 12. Obaidul Quader mentioned the help and assistance of international friends to make the upcoming parliamentary elections free, fair and violence-free.
I would like to reiterate our party's commitment to free and fair elections to uphold the country's democratic process. Awami League considers the right of people to vote as a sacred right. Awami League has a long and illustrious history of relentless struggle and self-sacrifice to protect that right.
The letter also said that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Government of Bangladesh has taken several structural, financial, human resources, legal and other reform initiatives to make the Election Commission (EC) a truly independent body in the light of the Constitution. These include legislation for photo voter ID cards, transparent ballot boxes and appointment of election commissioners.
The letter informed that Bangladesh Election Commission has already announced the schedule of the 12th National Parliament election. The election will be held on January 7, 2024. The Bangladesh Awami League, for many months, kept the door open for unconditional dialogue with other political parties. But the dialogue did not materialize as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) insisted on the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government as a precondition for such a dialogue.
In the letter, Obaidul Quader also said that currently their like-minded allies like BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are carrying out forced political programs like arson in the name of blockade to demand the resignation of the government. According to the Directorate of Fire Services and Civil Defense, a total of 154 cases of arson were committed by blockade supporters from October 28 to November 13.
In the coming weeks, the political parties should devote all their time to finalizing their electoral work, the letter added which includes review and finalization of candidates for 300 constituencies, preparation of their manifesto, finalization of campaign strategy, campaigning to voters etc. Which means, even if the status quo for dialogue remains, there is not enough time for meaningful dialogue.
The letter also said that Bangladesh Awami League values partnership with all international friends and hopes that they will extend full cooperation to present a free and fair election to the people of Bangladesh in a peaceful environment.