5:18 pm - Friday June 14, 0346

Canadian MPs call for free, fair elections in Bangladesh

Canadian members of parliament Russ Hiebert, MP and Joe Daniel, MP released a pre-election observation report on the national political situation in Bangladesh on Saturday.

The MPs travelled to Dhaka last week and met with leaders from a wide cross-section of Bangladeshi society including religious leaders, journalists, lawyers, academics, former government and military officials, and representatives of various civil society organizations.

canada-bangladeshThey heard about the current political situation in the nation, including various perspectives on the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Awami League, the BNP, and other political parties on the country’s affairs, and about Bangladeshis’ hopes for a stable political future.

The MPs heard serious concerns expressed about Jamaat-e-Islami, a radical Islamist party, which is still a major factor in Bangladeshi politics as the organization is well financed and may be gaining influence within the main opposition party, the BNP.

And the MPs heard about the progress made by the Awami League Government-appointed War Crimes Tribunal, which, although it cannot address every wrong committed in the past, has nevertheless served to bring a measure of justice and reconciliation in Bangladesh where none existed before.

Finally, as stated in their report, the MPs observed “a high level of optimism about the future of Bangladesh, both socially and economically, despite the current political unrest. There was unanimity on the part of all those interviewed that political stability is essential for Bangladesh to move forward, and that a key to creating that stability is free, fair and credible elections.”

 -South Asia Democratic Forum