Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Wednesday that the general elections in the country in 2024 will be held in a free and fair manner as the Election Commission (EC) of Bangladesh is a completely independent body.
“I never want to come to power by rigging. The next elections will be held in a free and fair manner. I have fought for upholding democracy throughout my life,” Hasina told Derek Chollet, Counselor of US Department of State, who led a US delegation that called on the Prime Minister at her official residence here on Wednesday.
The Russia-Ukraine war and the Rohingya issue also came up for discussion during the meeting.
The Prime Minister said the war should come to an end as it has pushed commodity prices up throughout the world.
“A war can never bring any benefit for the mankind,” Hasina said.
Mentioning that the US is the most powerful country in the world, she said it can take steps to stop the war. The disputes can be settled through negotiation, she added.
She said the first-ever Election Commision’s (EC) reconstitution law was passed in the Parliament following which a neutral EC was constituted on the basis of the law.
The EC has complete administrative and financial independence, she added.
The Prime Minister also said that no other political party other than the Awami League (AL) works at the grassroots level in the country. Both the BNP and Jatiya Party were born in the cantonment, she added.
Focusing on the development of Bangladesh in a different socio-economic index, Hasina said the transformation of the country is visible bow, which has been possible due to the democratic practices of the Awami League.
On the Rohingya issue, Hasina said the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have become a big burden for Bangladesh, adding that the local communities in Cox’s Bazar are suffering and they have become minority due to the influx of large number of Rohingyas there.
She also said that the Rohingyas are involved in criminal activities like drugs and human trafficking, militancy and infighting.
Hasina said that her government has arranged different facilities, including income generating facilities, to ensure better life for the Rohingyas in the Bhashanchar island.
Bangladesh is home to over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasanchar.
Chollet thanked the Prime Minister for giving shelter to the Rohingya people on humanitarian ground, adding that the US would try its best for the repatriation of the displaced people.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)