A three-member team of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Thursday held a meeting with United Nations’ assistant secretary general for political affairs Miroslav Jenca to discuss the political and human rights issues of the country.
BNP’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir led the team during the hour-and-a-half meeting which began around 7:45pm (BDT) in New York.
The BNP officials also held a 10-minute exclusive meeting with the UN official.
BNP’s executive committee member Tabith Awal and BNP’s international affairs secretary Humayun Kabir were other members of the team.
They discussed the next general elections with a five-member UN team, Fakhrul told the media after the meeting.
The officials said the BNP leaders told the UN team that the AL government is going to hold another 5 January-like election. The BNP leaders wanted the UN to observe the next general elections.
The BNP leaders also sought help from the UN to free the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
BNP officials also said BNP joined the meeting following an invitation from the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.
One of the BNP leaders who attended the meeting, told Prothom Alo that they particularly discussed the overall election and human rights issues.
They told the UN representatives how the government has destroyed the fair procedure and peaceful atmosphere of the elections and also how it has threatened freedom of speech.
They discussed the government’s reckless behaviour, role of the law enforcement, abductions, forced disappearances and arrests of their leaders and activists, and fake cases, the BNP leader added.
New York BNP officials said Fakhrul is scheduled to fly to Washington from New York and then will return home.
Incidentally, Oscar Fernandez Taranco, another assistant secretary general of the UN, visited Dhaka thrice between 2012 and 2013 to initiate a dialogue between the of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League leaders to minimise their political differences.
During his visits, Taranco held a total of 25 meetings including with prime minister Sheikh Hasina, BNP chairperson and the former PM Khaleda Zia and the chief election commissioner.