DHAKA: Bangladesh will take steps to tackle and prevent unlawful practices or interference in its elections, authorities said on Thursday, a day after the United States threatened curbs on citizens of the South Asian nation who undermine them.

Concern flared after accusations of vote-rigging and the targeting of the political opposition marred national elections in 2014 and 2018, charges denied by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States is adopting a new policy to restrict visas for Bangladeshis who undermine the democratic election process at home.

“The government apparatus will take necessary measures to prevent and address any unlawful practices or interference ... to compromise the smooth and participatory conduct of the elections,” the Bangladesh foreign ministry said in response.

“The electoral process will remain under strict vigilance, including by international observers as accredited by the Election Commission,” it added in a statement.

The commission retains the ability to perform its functions in full independence, credibility and efficiency, the ministry said.

Political analyst Badiul Alam Majumder welcomed the US curbs.

“I see this restriction as a preventive measure,” he added. “This could avert efforts by individuals to rig elections in their favour.” Hasina, who has kept tight control of the South Asian nation since coming to power in 2009, has been accused of human rights violations, obliteration of press freedom, suppression of dissent and the jailing of critics, including many supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

On the brink
Updated 25 Sep, 2023

On the brink

Everyone and every sector has to rise together, in sync, if this country is to put itself on a progressive trajectory.
Sanaullah’s remarks
25 Sep, 2023

Sanaullah’s remarks

THE hypocrisy of our democratic leadership is a gift that keeps giving. Last week, the president of the PML-N in...
Print in digital age
25 Sep, 2023

Print in digital age

THERE is a shocking amount of disinformation out there in the Information Age. While electronic and social media ...
World Cup squad
24 Sep, 2023

World Cup squad

THE stress was on continuity — trusting and backing players who had been with the team — as Pakistan’s squad...
Mirwaiz freed
Updated 24 Sep, 2023

Mirwaiz freed

It is safe to assume that the release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq could not have been possible without the green light from New Delhi.
Beyond lip service
24 Sep, 2023

Beyond lip service

UN SECRETARY GENERAL António Guterres did not mince words at the recently held Climate Ambition Summit: “Humanity...