The United States has expressed grave concern over the prevailing Bangladesh situation centering the upcoming national election to be held by January 24 next year.
The Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific of the Congress has observed that rigid stance of both the major political parties and the increasing violence and attacks on minorities, are the main concern of the US government.
With Steve Chabot, chief of the Sub-committee chairing the significant hearing in the backdrop of sustained political deadlock, was held in Washington on November 20.
Mr. Chabot shared his experience gathered in recent visit to Bangladesh when he witnessed the deaths and destructions during the opposition-sponsored violent shutdowns. He also said he felt after his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia that both were steadfast in their own positions.
The hearing followed the calls from the US Secretary of State John Kerry, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, leaders of the European Union (EU) and some other countries to the major players to engage in a dialogue have proved futile.
The hearing titled — “Bangladesh in Turmoil: A Nation on the Brink ?”— has also expressed grave concerns over the violent turn of the opposition-sponsored hartals. It was also apprehended that the violence might threatened more in the coming days. It apprehends that Bangladesh's political stability would be at stake if the violence continued.
Ed Royce, chairman of the office of House Committee on foreign affairs, expressed concern over the recent attack on minorities in Bangladesh. Citing the example of Pakistan, Mr. Royce asked the government to be watchful over Madarassa education and the rise of fundamentalism. He suggests the country should take immediate steps to prevent the spread of militancy.
NYT fear sanctions
The New York Times, in an editorial, has apprehended that Bangladesh could face pressure, including perhaps sanctions, from the international community.
The editorial published close to the Congress Sub-committee hearing, said: “Prime Minister Hasina needs to restore autonomy to Bangladesh’s judiciary, stop persecuting human rights activists and work with the political opposition to find an acceptable transitional government ahead of next year’s election.”
The influential US daily has also put the blame for the present crisis on Ms. Hasina's shoulders. "Responsibility for this crisis sits squarely with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the Awami League party."
Quoting “many Bangladeshis who support Awami League”, that “Islamist parties are threatening the foundation of a country that fought bitterly to separate from Pakistan in 1971,” the editorial argued: “But banning Jamaat-e-Islami from participating in the electoral process is only forcing frustrated supporters into the streets.” The editorial however did not refer to the scrapping of Jamaat’s registration by the Election Commission, not by an executive order, for its manifesto being contradictory to the nation’s Constitutional provisions.
The US newspaper which was all along critical of the Bangladesh’s war crimes trial, viewed by overwhelming majority in Bangladesh as fulfilment of nation’s historic, moral and legal obligations, alleged the trials “have targeted opposition leaders.”