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Awami League responds to Donald Lu’s letter

Staff Reporter:

Awami League has responded to the letter sent by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.
Awami League Central Working Committee member and media personality Mohammad A Arafat replied to Donald Lu’s letter on behalf of Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday.
He handed over the letter to Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Arturo Hines.
The letter said Awami League appreciates the help and assistance being offered by international friends and partners to make the upcoming national parliamentary election free, fair and violence-free.
“At the outset, I would like to reiterate our party’s commitment to holding free and fair elections at all levels for upholding the country’s democratic process. Our party considers people’s right to franchise a sacred one and has a long and illustrious political legacy of unrelenting struggles and sacrifices for securing, and maintaining. that right. Led by our visionary Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the President of AL, the current government in Bangladesh has undertaken several structural, financial, human-resources, legal and other reforms to make the Bangladesh Election Commission (EC) a truly independent organization, as mandated by the Constitution of Bangladesh. This includes photo-based voter ID cards, transparent ballot boxes, and enacting a law for the appointment of election commissioners,” reads the letter.
“As you are aware, the Bangladesh Election Commission has already announced the schedules for the 12th national parliamentary election. The election is scheduled for January 7, 2024, while the last date for submission of nominations is November 30, 2023. Bangladesh Awami League had, for many months, kept the door open for unconditional dialogue with other political parties. However, such a dialogue could not be realized as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was, and remains, adamant on the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Government as a prerequisite for holding any such dialogue,” it adds.
The letter further adds that BNP and like-minded allies like Jamaat-E-Islami are observing coercive continuous political programs like blockades to demand the resignation of the government, among others, and using arson attacks as the means of enforcing such blockades. “According to the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence, between October 28 and November 13, a total of 154 arson attacks were carried out by blockade supporters. Thus, even if AL were on board to sit with the BNP and others, amidst the ongoing blockades and the principal demand of such programs, the conditions simply do not exist for holding any meaningful dialogue,” it said.
Earlier on Monday, the US sent an official letter to the Awami League proposing a dialogue between the political parties to resolve the existing crisis ahead of the 12th National Parliamentary Election of Bangladesh.
US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter Haas handed over this letter to Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at the Secretariat on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Election Commission Secretary Md Jahangir Alam said the schedule for the upcoming polls will not be affected by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu’s letter to three major parties of Bangladesh Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party.

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