No dialogue outside of the constitution or law: Minister

Law minister Anisul Huq

Law minister Anisul Huq said no dialogue on the election can be held out of the preview of the constitution or the existing laws.

According to him, if anyone joins the polls abiding by the constitution or laws, there is no need for dialogue either.

The minister made these remarks in reply to journalists at his office at the secretariat in Dhaka on Sunday.

The United States pre-election assessment mission has called upon political parties as well as other stakeholders in Bangladesh to initiate a substantive dialogue on key election issues, with the aim of ensuring a credible, inclusive, and violence-free election.

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The assessment team, which comprises representatives of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), made the call through a publication from Washington on Saturday.

They visited Bangladesh from 8 to 11 October and held meetings with different stakeholders, including the prime minister, the chief election commissioner, leaders of political parties, and members of civil society.

Wrapping up the Bangladesh trip, the assessment team offered five recommendations that collectively constitute a roadmap to facilitate credible, inclusive, and nonviolent elections.

Replying to queries from journalists on the matter, the minister highlighted the government’s stance on various issues including free speech and freedom of expression.

He said, “We have followed almost all of what they (US mission) have said. Another thing is that there is a constitution in the country, which states how the election will be held. There are also laws in the country, and elections will be held following the constitution and laws. No dialogue can be held out of the purview of the constitution and the laws. If anyone joins the polls abiding by constitution and law, there is no need for dialogue.”

Replying to a query on BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s allegation over the opening of the law ministry’s special wing that enlists fictitious cases against BNP leaders and activities, as well as orders courts to speed up trials, the law minister said, “I hope the BNP secretary general will speak up prudently.”