PARTISAN bickering among and self-seeking fights between the two major political parties — Bangladesh Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party — is an everyday phenomenon in Bangladesh…. But when such fights … spread beyond the country, national disgrace becomes unavoidable.

The country’s international image was affected once again by such an incident taking place at the John F. Kennedy International Airport [in] New York on Sunday where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina … was exposed to a serious embarrassment. According to a … report … chaos prevailed as the numerous supporters from both Awami League and BNP attended her arrival.

As she reached there, Awami League men … started shouting slogans to welcome her. The supporters of the opposition BNP … were there to wave black flags to denounce her visit. The tension was raised to the extent that the law-enforcement agencies … were on alert and New York police in riot gear had taken position between them….

The political parties … never fail to claim themselves champions of [the] nationalist cause, but their activities in and outside Bangladesh hardly match the claims…. Given intra-party … rivalry finding expression in a foreign land, they seem least bothered about the international image of the country.

This scenario must be changed. We are absolutely convinced that the Awami League supporters in the United States have reason to greet the prime minister. Similarly, the BNP supporters have their reasons to denounce her visit. But they must realise that they do not have any right to tarnish the image of the country abroad by … creating criminal tensions in an international airport….

To avert such a shameful situation in the future, the top leadership of the political parties concerned should immediately take disciplinary actions against their party men responsible for creating the ugly scene at JFK. — (Sept 25)

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