Home Minister meets US delegation: They want fair elections, not encouraging any party

Homes minister Asaduzzaman Khan talks to media in SecretariatProthom Alo

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, the recent US delegation visit to Bangladesh emphasised on holding a free, fair, and violence-free election. The delegation, led by US Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya, held a meeting with the Home Minister at the Secretariat. The Home Minister spoke to reporters about the meeting. However the US delegation did not speak to the media.

During the meeting, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu and US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter Haas were also present.

The US delegation stressed the importance of ensuring a transparent and peaceful electoral process in Bangladesh. The home minister highlighted that law enforcement agencies operate under the authority of the election commission as defined by the constitution, and the Chief Election Commissioner would carry out his duties accordingly.

When asked about the specifics of the discussion, the home minister mentioned that the US delegation did not explicitly address the issue of inclusivity. However, they strongly emphasised the necessity of conducting a free, fair and peaceful election.

The home minister said, “The law enforcers are well-trained and prepared for the upcoming elections.  Many elections have already taken place which has been very peaceful. I hope the national elections will be as peaceful as those.”

In response to the questions of the journalists, the Home Minister further said that the US delegation said that they did not come here to encourage any party. They don’t even support any party. They are here to ensure a violence-free, peaceful and fair election. They did not ask for anything, and they repeatedly said that they are not here to support any party or individual.

The US delegation also discussed the Digital Security Act with the Home Minister. Regarding this, the minister noted that Law Minister Anisul Huq has already talked about amending the law. He reiterated this point.

Before the meeting with the home hinister, the US delegation met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the law minister Anisul Huq. The home minister said that the US delegation told him that they had a very fruitful discussion with the prime minister.

Additionally, he mentioned that the US delegation expressed their satisfaction with the prime minister's leadership, acknowledging that she has steered the country towards prosperity with her visionary approach. They expressed satisfaction with the current progress of Bangladesh. Furthermore, the delegation appreciated the peaceful environment that was maintained during a recent rally held by the two major political parties, Awami League and BNP, in Dhaka.

The home minister stated that the Rohingya issue was a topic of discussion during the meeting. The US delegation expressed concern regarding the prevention of human traffickers exploiting the Rohingya population. The home minister also mentioned that he sought cooperation from the US delegation regarding the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. However, the issues of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the caretaker government were not discussed during the meeting, as clarified by Asaduzzaman Khan.