M Mushfiqul Fazal, State Department correspondent
The purpose of US’ visa policy on individuals involved in undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh is not to take a side in an election in Bangladesh, but to ensure or to support free, fair, and peaceful national elections in the country.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller made the remark in response to a query about US’ announcement on imposing visa restrictions on Bangladeshis involved in democratic electoral process in Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s reaction about this announcement.
On Friday, the United States Department of State on Friday said they had taken steps to impose visa restrictions on individuals involved in undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
‘Today, the Department of State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh,’ State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a press conference at Bangladesh Mission in the UN headquarters said, “The people of the country would not accept any move even taken from abroad to hamper the elections.”
About US visa policy, Miller at the briefing said, “I will say, as we have said previously, as we said when the Secretary of State announced this new policy in May, that the purpose was not to take a side in an election in Bangladesh, but to ensure or to support free, fair, and peaceful national elections in Bangladesh.”
He said, “I will say that, as we noted when we announced these new visa restrictions on Friday, the visa policy includes members of law enforcement agencies, the ruling party, and the political opposition.”
When asked about BNP’s ultimatum to the government to release its ailing chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, who is receiving treatment in a hospital in Dhaka, within 48 hours, the State Department spokesperson didn’t make any comment in this regard.