The latest 24-hour road-rail-waterway blockade, called by BNP, is underway across Bangladesh with reports of arson attacks. Dhaka is witnessing usual traffic this morning despite the blockade. Commuters were seen going to their respective destinations in a rush while activities at government and private offices were going on as usual. 24-hour blockade: 428 RAB patrol teams deployed Many students with guardians are going to their respective schools for their final exams. A bus of Turag Paribahan was set on fire by miscreants at Dholaipar in Shyampur area of Dhaka at 5:30 am. A total of 428 patrol teams of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order during the ongoing 24-hour rail, road and waterways blockade called by BNP. BNP to enforce blockade Wednesday, hartal Thursday BNP called for a daylong blockade today and a daylong hartal on Thursday to protest the schedule for the next national election announced by the Election Commission (EC). Party's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi came up with the announcement at a virtual press briefing on Monday. Rizvi said the programmes are also meant to mount pressure on the government to quit, hold the next election under a non-party neutral government, and release BNP leaders and activists, including its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. 230 BGB platoons deployed on day 2 of blockade
Bangladesh has briefed heads of missions (around 90) based in New Delhi on the recent political scenario and preparations for the next general election in Bangladesh. Mentioning that election is a “festive occasion in Bangladesh as we see it in many democratic countries,” Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told ambassadors that people of Bangladesh have been eagerly waiting to take part in the democratic process to vote and elect the representatives of their choice. The Election Commission is committed to holding a free and fair election with participation of voters in a festive atmosphere, Masud told the diplomats in Delhi. Bangladesh-India FS-level talks held in New Delhi The foreign secretary briefed the diplomats concurrently accredited to Bangladesh on Friday evening. He was visiting New Delhi in connection with the Foreign Office Consultations between Bangladesh and India, which was held in the Hyderabad House in the afternoon of November 24. In the evening, he briefed the concurrently accredited ambassadors to Bangladesh in a program organized by the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi at the Bangabandhu Hall. Foreign Secretary Masud highlighted the foreign policy priorities and dynamics of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh-India FS-level talks in New Delhi on Friday He also briefed the ambassadors about Bangladesh’s position on various geopolitical contemporary issues. During the briefing, he highlighted the socio-economic development of Bangladesh over the last 15 years under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Masud solicited their support to resolve the Rohingya crisis through ensuring the refugees’ safe and sustainable repatriation to their place of origin in Myanmar for peace and stability of the region and beyond. During the briefing session, the ambassadors were requested for support of their respective governments for Bangladesh’s candidature for the membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under category ‘C’ for the term 2024-2025, elections to which be held in London on December 1 this year. Given Bangladesh’s recent socio-economic development, continued stability and growing importance in the regional and global platforms and engagement with the issues of global concern, Foreign Secretary Masud urged the ambassadors to request their respective governments to consider opening diplomatic missions in Dhaka. He assured them of the Bangladesh government’s cooperation and assistance in facilitating the process. The foreign secretary responded to questions raised by the concurrently accredited ambassadors. The foreign secretary is scheduled to return to Dhaka this afternoon. FOC: Bangladesh, India hold comprehensive discussions on trade, security, border issues
The United States has reiterated its desire to see a "free and peaceful" election in Bangladesh as the country is heading for the national polls scheduled for January 7, 2024. "We want to see a free and peaceful election in Bangladesh. We want to see the elections carried out peacefully," US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a regular briefing in Washington on November 21. Read: Netherlands to support initiative to address negative gender stereotypes, promote gender equality in Bangladesh He said that has been the US policy, as he has made clear a number of times. Asked whether the US will condemn the political violence "orchestrated by BNP" in the context of human rights that the US cares about, Miller said, "I think I answered that with my previous answer." Read: France very much aware of specific climate vulnerabilities of Bangladesh: Ambassador Masdupuy The Election Commission has already announced the next general election schedule for January 7. The main opposition party BNP is yet to take any decision to join the polls, while enthusiasm is seen among supporters of Bangladesh Awami League and likeminded parties who are joining the polls.
Eleven arson attacks were recorded in the past 15 hours, from 6 pm yesterday till 9 am this morning (November 19, 2023). A total of 11 vehicles were set on fire by miscreants during this time. Of these, five were set on fire inside Dhaka city, according to the media cell of Fire Service and Civil Defence. Also read: Case filed over burning train compartments in Jamalpur Meanwhile, three reports of arson violence were recorded in Rajshahi division, two in Chattogram, and one in Mymensingh, said Talha Bin Zashim, station officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence (media cell). The affected vehicles included six buses, one covered van, one CNG-run autorickshaw, one pickup van, and three carriages of a train. A total of 107 members of 20 firefighting units worked to douse the fires across the country during this period. A 48-hour hartal — called by BNP, Jamaat and like-minded opposition parties — protesting the general election schedule announced by the Election Commission (EC) is underway from this morning amid fear of violence. Also read: CNG-run autorickshaw catches fire as cocktail thrown in Old Dhaka
A 48-hour hartal — called by BNP, Jamaat and like-minded opposition parties — protesting the general election schedule announced by the Election Commission (EC) is underway from this morning (November 19, 2023) amid fear of violence. This is the first hartal being observed by the opposition parties since the EC announced the polls schedule. BNP, Jamaat and other opposition parties called the hartal after they had earlier observed five countrywide blockades of roads, rail and waterways. The blockades were marked by frequent burning of vehicles, particularly buses, in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. The presence of law enforcement personnel at several points in Dhaka is higher today compared to the previous blockades. Read more: 'Scrap polls schedule, create atmosphere for fair election first': BNP Number of public transport on Dhaka streets was fewer than that during the blockades. Many were seen heading towards their destinations on foot amid heightened tension and fear of violence. Rickshaws are dominating Dhaka streets while a few private vehicles are on the road. Unidentified arsonists set seven vehicles on fire, including a passenger train, in Dhaka and across the country between 7 pm last night and 6 am today, ahead of the 48-hour countrywide hartal. Three buses were torched in the capital’s Gulistan, Dhanmondi and Mirpur areas last night. Read more: Jatiya Party to decide on joining or boycotting polls within a couple of days:Chunnu One bus each in Cumilla and Chattogram and a pickup van in Joypurhat were also set on fire ahead of the hartal. Arsonists set three compartments of ‘Jamuna Express’ train on fire in Sarishabari upazila of Jamalpur early today. Miscreants exploded three crude bombs in front of the residence of Dhaka University vice chancellor last night, spreading panic among students. At a press briefing yesterday, BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called upon people from all walks of life and opposition leaders and activists to observe the hartal peacefully and make it a success. Read more: 12th JS election: Shakib buys AL nomination forms for 3 different constituencies
As Election Commission will announce the schedule of the next general election of Bangladesh any time, no scope is left for dialogue now, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said today (November 15, 2023). “We have urged BNP several times to consider dialogue with us, without any condition. But there is no scope right now,” he said. The road transport and bridges minister came up with the remark while talking to reporters at the Secretariat. Obaidul Quader condemns BNP for ‘spreading lies’ against PM “We have received a letter from Donald Lu (US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs). US Ambassador Peter Haas was here to give us the letter this morning. We can respond (to the letter) after holding a discussion with the party chief, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” the AL leader said. “I have read the letter, and it is about holding free, fair and neutral election,” he added. Responding to a question, Quader said, “Those who believe in democracy can’t avoid dialogue. The EC is set to announce the polls schedule, so now there is no scope to hold a dialogue.” UN is useless, says Obaidul Quader Bangladesh’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal is set to address the nation and announce the schedule for the upcoming general election at 7 pm today (November 15, 2023), Election Commission has said. CEC set to announce general election schedule at 7 pm today: EC Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar will broadcast the CEC’s speech in the evening, EC Secretary Jahangir Alam said while briefing reporters this morning.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal is set to address the nation and announce the schedule for the upcoming general election at 7 pm today, the Election Commission has said. Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar will broadcast the CEC’s speech in the evening, EC Secretary Jahangir Alam said while briefing reporters this morning. Read: Unique Group, DNCC sign deal; Sheraton to run in full swing Before announcing the polls schedule, a meeting will be held at the Election Commission at 5 pm today. The CEC will hold the 26th meeting of the Election Commission, said the EC secretary. The dates of nomination paper submission, evaluation, and withdrawal of candidature will be finalised at the meeting, he said. A three-tier security system has been set up at the Election Commission building on the occasion of the announcement of the next general election's schedule. Read: No scope left for dialogue now: Quader acknowledges receiving Donald Lu’s letter from Peter Haas Apart from police, RAB and Ansar personnel have been deployed in front of the Election Commission building. Entry of visitors has been restricted inside the building. The CEC is going to announce the polls schedule amid the ongoing 48-hour blockade called by BNP, Jamaat and like-minded opposition parties to press home their one-point demand. The Election Commission is determined to hold the next general election within the stipulated time as per its constitutional obligation, CEC Kazi Habibul Awal had said earlier. Read: Films can be part of cultural revolution to beat back arson terrorism: Info Minister The 11th national election was held on December 30, 2018. According to the constitution, the tenure of the current government will end on January 29, 2024. A total of 11,96,91,633 voters are expected to cast their votes at 42,103 polling centres across the country in the 12th general election of Bangladesh.
US State Dept spokesperson says will ‘refrain from being drawn into’ internal Bangladeshi political matters
The United States has once again said it supports "free and fair" elections in Bangladesh. "We think the future of the Bangladeshi government should be determined by its people," US Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at a regular media briefing on Monday (November 13, 2023) when a reporter wanted to know why the US government must discuss Bangladesh-related issues with India. Miller said the United States is not taking a side in Bangladesh’s elections. Read: Peter Haas has requested meetings with senior leaders of 3 major parties: US Embassy "We do not support one political party over the other. We support free and fair elections," he added. Miller also said, "I welcome the attempts by various reporters to draw me into internal Bangladeshi political matters, and I’m going to continue to refrain from doing so." On Monday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam reiterated that the next general election in Bangladesh will be held as per the constitution, regardless of “who’s doing what.” He said election is an internal matter of the people of Bangladesh and the election will be held under the constitution and relevant laws. The Election Commission is taking preparations to hold the next national election by January next year and is likely to announce polls schedules soon. Read: Election will be held as per constitution regardless of ‘who’s doing what’: Shahriar Alam Earlier, Law Minister Anisul Huq conveyed to the UN Human Rights Council that opposition party BNP’s demand for holding the next national election under a caretaker government is “completely unconstitutional and illegal.” Mentioning Bangladesh’s independent Election Commission, he said the government is committed to hold the next national election in a “free, fair and peaceful” manner with the participation of people.
Though most of the party’s central leaders have apparently gone into hiding amid a crackdown following the October 28 violence, BNP leaders may take to the streets again after the announcement of the schedule for the next polls to intensify the ongoing movement. Talking to UNB, some senior BNP leaders said they have already prepared a strategy to carry out a non-stop movement with harsher programmes like hartal, blockade and laying siege to the Election Commission and different government offices to halt any lopsided election. They said their party also took the opinions of the like-mined parties about what to do if the election schedule is announced and most parties suggested enforcing blockade or hartal without any pause. As per their strategy, the BNP leaders said soon after the announcement of the schedule for the next election, the opposition parties will first give a 48-hour ultimatum to the Election Commission (EC) to cancel the schedule and create a proper atmosphere for a participatory election under a neutral administration. Read more: Fire Service records 9 arson attacks in the country in 10 hrs If the EC pays heed to their ultimatum, they will then try to show their strength on the streets across the country with their action programmes. According to Article 126 of the Constitution, it shall be the duty of all executive authorities to assist the Election Commission to discharge its duties. The BNP leaders said they would closely observe how the EC exerts the powers enshrined by the constitution to take control over the state apparatus, including the law enforcement agencies. They said they would also observe the role of the EC in stopping the mass arrest of opposition leaders and activists and releasing the arrested party senior leaders and workers. BNP claimed over 10,770 opposition leaders and followers were arrested centring BNP’s Oct 28 grand rally and subsequent hartal and blockade programmes. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Mirza Abbas, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, vice-chairman Barrister Shahjahan Oma, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, chairperson’s adviser Amanullah Aman, and joint secretaries general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and Kahirul Kabir Khokon were arrested following the party’s grand rally and violence. Read more: Chinese envoy’s remark on polls doesn’t reflect people’s aspirations: BNP Among the 19 members of the BNP standing committee, Jamiruddin Sircar, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Begum Selima Rahman now remained active in politics. However, they are now staying in safer places secretly to avoid arrest. Three standing committee members including Salahuddin Ahmed and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku have been staying abroad. The other party policymakers either died or remained inactive due to physical illness. The other active members of the BNP executive committee, including the vice chairmen, joint secretaries general and organising secretaries are also on the run and guiding the party leaders and workers from hideouts. A party standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said they will come out of their secret places once the polls schedule is announced to boost the morale of party workers to strengthen the movement. He said they have a plan to isolate Dhaka from the rest of the country by making the blockade programme more effective through increasing picketing on highways and roads at the district level. “Our party won’t participate in the parliamentary election under the current government. So, after the announcement of the schedule, our all leaders will come out on the streets and join the movement,” the BNP leader said. “After the announcement of the polls schedule, all the state machinery, including the law enforcers, will be under the control of the commission. So, the Election Commission’s role will be more questionable, if the arrest of BNP leaders and workers continues even after the polls schedule announcement. Besides, questions will be raised in the country and abroad about the sincerity of the Election Commission in conducting fair, free and impartial elections,” he said. BNP standing committee member Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan said the government may think BNP will be weakened if the election schedule is announced. “But it won’t happen. We have seen examples of cancellations of elections after the announcement of the schedule. “BNP will deal with all situations staying on the streets. People won’t this time allow the government to stage a drama in the name of election.” Another BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said BNP's movement for the restoration of democracy and voting rights will not fail this time. “If the schedule is announced, we will have no choice but to continue the movement. We’ll force the government to meet our demands through a fierce mass movement.” BNP Standing Committee member Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku said their party will not retreat from the movement under any circumstance. "If a one-sided schedule is announced ignoring the opinion of the opposition parties, it will prove that the government and the Election Commission are not serious about a fair and acceptable election," he said. Read more: 152 BGB platoons deployed across the country amid BNP-Jamaat's latest blockade
Election Commission (EC) today (November 04, 2023) started discussion with all registered political parties to inform them about preparations for the 12th parliamentary election. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal is presiding over the discussion at the Election Commission building in Dhaka’s Agargaon. Thirteen registered parties have joined the discussion while three are not joining. Meanwhile, three parties did not inform the commission whether they will join or not. Ganatantri Party was not invited to the discussion. The EC has scheduled two dialogue sessions daily. The first one began at 10:30 am today which will end at 1 pm, and another will be held from 3 pm to 4:30 pm. The day-long discussion with the political parties is being held in two phases.The Election Commission invited the presidents and general secretaries of the parties or two representatives appointed by them for the dialogue. Read: Elections can't be stopped by arson: Salman F Rahman BNP and several of its allies, including the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Biplobi Workers Party, Bangladesh Kallyan Party, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), have decided not to participate in the Election Commission dialogue. The Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), which is not in any alliance, is also boycotting the EC dialogue. Islamic Andolan Bangladesh, Khelafat Majlis, and Bangladesh Khelafat Majlis are among the Islamic parties that are boycotting the dialogue. Awami League Presidium Member Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan and Information and Research Secretary Salim Mahmud are representing the party in the dialogue, said the party's Office Secretary Biplab Barua. Read: Now 11.96 crore voters in Bangladesh: EC According to the constitution, parliamentary election must be held within 90 days before the end of the five-year term of parliament. The term of the current parliament ends on January 29, 2024 while the 90-day count starts from November 1, 2023. The Election Commission said that it is preparing to announce the schedule of the national election in mid-November and hold the election in January. Earlier in July 2022, the EC held a dialogue with the political parties to prepare the action plan for the 12th national election while few political parties including Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) did not attend the dialogue. Read more: EC going to stage mockery in the name of dialogue at govt’s behest: BNP