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Staff Reporter:

BNP on Saturday said it expects the positive role of Russia alongside other international communi-ty in restoring democracy in Bangladesh.
The party expressed the expectation in a statement, signed by its senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, following a statement of Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakha-rova on Bangladesh politics.
“It has come to the attention of the people of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-BNP that Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Spokesperson Maria Zakharova made some remarks on November 22, 2023, in Russian MFA’s X (Twitter) handle,” Rizvi said.
He said the Zakharova accused US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas of meeting with an op-position member to organize anti-government rallies, thereby interfering in the internal affairs of Bangladesh.
“Zakharova’s comments are in stark contradiction to the desires and aspirations of the citizens of Bangladesh for a transparent and inclusive election. The BNP strongly refutes the spread of disin-formation,” Rizvi said.
Given the Awami League’s tainted track record in the 2014 and 2018 farcical elections, as well as ongoing human rights violations using the state apparatus, the BNP leader said the pro-democracy people and major political parties in Bangladesh believe that a transparent and inclusive election under the current regime, led by Sheikh Hasina as the Prime Minister, is a far cry.
Rizvi said the people of Bangladesh and the democratic opposition forces, led by the BNP, have been struggling for over a decade for the restoration of their stolen voting rights.
“Presently, our nation’s citizens are actively engaged in a peaceful and nonviolent movement for holding a free, fair, participatory, and peaceful election of international standard, under the super-vision of an election-time non-partisan government and administration, braving atrocious police persecution and joint operation of the police and the ruling party goons,” he said.
Over the last few months, Rizvi said the opposition political parties have organized numerous mas-sive rallies, spontaneously attended by millions, both in the capital Dhaka, and divisional head-quarters across Bangladesh.
“The question of aiding such rallies by any foreign diplomat is not only far from true, but a clear fabricated blame on the people’s just struggles for democracy, a complaint never raised earlier by any,” he observed.
The BNP leader also said Zakharova‘s statement aligning with the corrupt autocratic regime and against the will of people, itself amounts to interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, which is unexpected and unfortunate.
However, Rizvi said the pro-democracy citizens do not relish to see any other country to side with the current autocratic regime in Bangladesh.
He said Russia is a long-standing friend of Bangladesh with mutual trade, commerce, and other bilateral interests and the BNP recognizes and acknowledges historical Russian contributions and values the cordial relationship between the citizens of the two nations.
“We hold the expectation that Russia will not go against the will of Bangladeshis. As our nation strives for the restoration of voting rights and fundamental liberties, the support of Russia will be appropriated,” Rizvi said

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