Haroon Habib

All political parties must participate in polls: Pinak Ranjan

  • `What is happening in Bangladesh is absolutely an internal matter'
  • Proclamation of emergency not discussed during meeting with Khaleda Zia

    Dhaka: Pinak Ranjan Chakraborty, the new Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka, said that India wanted to see a fair and credible election in Bangladesh, with a proper voters' list and the participation of all political parties.

    Mr. Chakrabarty, who succeeded Veena Sikri, presented his credentials to Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed on Wednesday. He was the Deputy High Commissioner to Dhaka five years ago.

    "We hope a fair and credible election will be held here, with the necessary updating of the voters' list," Mr. Chakrabarty told journalists here after paying a courtesy call on Awami League president Sheikh Hasina.

    Undertaking the assignment at a crucial juncture in Bangladesh politics, the Indian envoy said: "What is happening here [in Bangladesh] is absolutely an internal matter. However, we are observing and keeping our Government updated on Bangladesh's current political developments."

    The envoy hoped that bilateral relations would be strengthened. "We attach great importance to our relation with Bangladesh," Mr. Chakrabarty said.

    Briefing journalists on the meeting, Awami League's presidium member Kazi Zafarulah said that Ms. Hasina and Mr. Chakrabaty discussed a wide range of issues, including economy, trade, water sharing and the Chittagong Hill Tracts peace treaty.

    The new envoy earlier held an hour-long meeting with former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia and discussed issues of mutual interest.

    Strengthening trade

    Briefing journalists, Reaz Rehman, adviser to the BNP chairperson, said: "We mainly exchanged views on how to strengthen trade and the economic relationship between the two countries." He said that it was a courtesy call. In reply to a specific question, Mr. Rehman said that the political situation and the proclamation of emergency were not discussed. "They [the Indian Government] will deal with whatever Government comes in power."

    On Tuesday, the Bangladesh President said that all bilateral issues with India would be resolved through discussion. Welcoming the Indian envoy, President Ahmed said that Bangladesh attached great importance to relations with India and was committed to promoting peace through bilateral and regional cooperation.