BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said the new visa policy of the USA targeting Bangladesh's next election reflects the people's long-standing demand for the restoration of voting rights.
In a statement in the early hours of Friday, he also said the main theme of the US visa policy is to ensure all the processes for arranging the upcoming parliamentary polls in Bangladesh in a free, fair, participatory and acceptable manner.
At the same time, the BNP leader said, the stance taken by the US government against any move to rig votes, intimidate voters, violently suppress the people's freedom of peaceful assembly and exercise of their rights is a clear echo of the long-standing demand of the people of Bangladesh for a free and fair election.
“The BNP thinks the changed US policy clearly reflects the long-standing demand of the democracy-loving people of Bangladesh, including the BNP, for ensuring people's right to franchise,” he observed.
The BNP leader said they clearly observed that not only law enforcement agencies, including the police, are under the new US visa policy but also the judiciary, administration, security-related government employees, former and current government officials, and political leaders who, directly or indirectly, may disrupt the electoral system. “Their family members are also under the preview of the visa policy.”
Fakhrul said the BNP believes that free and fair elections will not be possible under the current "fascist" government. “That is possible only under a non-partisan and impartial caretaker government. For that reason, the BNP, along with all the democratic parties and forces of the country, is carrying out systematic and peaceful political programs to realize the demand for a non-partisan and neutral polls-time caretaker government,” he said.
The BNP leader demanded the current “unelected fascist” government resign immediately dissolving parliament. “Arranging a free and fair election by establishing a polls-time non-partisan neutral government is the demand and expectation of the country's people and the international community. This is the only way to get rid of the ongoing political, economic, social and national crisis,” he said.
Fakhrul also called upon the people to remain firm and determined in realizing the demand.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the United States announced a new visa policy specific to Bangladesh, with a view to promoting free and fair elections.
"Under this policy, we can impose visa restrictions on individuals and their immediate family members if they are responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.