PM blasts foreign missions for making locals ‘foreign election observers’

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Staff Reporter:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday sharply criticized the foreign missions in Dhaka that made Bangladesh nationals as ‘foreign election observers’ saying that they have done a very outrageous deed.

Sheikh Hasina also criticised the Election Commission (EC) for accepting those locals as foreign election observers.

“…but they didn’t do the right thing, there’re many Bangladeshi nationals engaged in jobs in foreign missions here, they’re Bangladesh nationals…they’re doing jobs there…they [foreign missions] have appointed them [Bangladesh nationals] as foreign election observers…they’ve done a very outrageous deed with this,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while talking to reporters after casting her vote at Dhaka City College centre after 8am.

She questioned how a Bangladeshi national can turn into a foreigner and a foreign election observer when the person is just doing duty in a foreign mission situated in Bangladesh. “They must not send them as foreign election observers… they didn’t do the right thing,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, said the foreign missions in Bangladesh can express their concern as the country’s past history is not good.

After the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, she said, everyone had witnessed how the game was played with the voting rights of people. “But we’ve gradually overcome that, there’re nothing to be concerned about,” she said.

The Prime Minister also mentioned that those who have expressed their concerns about the elections in Bangladesh all know what is the examples of the elections in their own countries. “We know some instances of the elections of their countries.”

The Prime Minister said the foreign missions in Bangladesh which they have selected locals as foreign election observers have some sort of hostile attitude towards Bangladesh. “I know some of their fathers were involved in the August-15 massacre, some of them were anti-liberation ones, they were engaged in genocide and helped the Pakistani forces,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said the foreign missions in Bangladesh did not do the right thing by selecting Bangladesh nationals as foreign election observers.

She questioned about the judgement of the Election Commission as they accepted Bangladeshi local people as foreign election observers where it is clearly written that foreign election observers must be foreign nationals.

“How they (EC) have accepted it, I don’t know how they accepted the country’s nationals as foreign election observers, they didn’t do the right thing by accepting that,” Hasina said.

The Prime Minister also said that the Election Commission should not count those Bangladeshi nationals doing jobs in foreign missions as foreign observers. “They can come to polling centres as voters, but not as election observers,” she said.

The Prime Minister hoped that the Awami League-nominated candidates of the two city corporations will win the elections. “We’ll build a clean Dhaka…we’ve taken many programmes…we’re implementing those…we’ll be able to implement those properly.”

EVM

Talking about the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), she briefly described the process to cast vote with this machine and said she cast her vote with it very quickly and easily.

“I think the Election Commission will be able to introduce this EVM gradually in whole Bangladesh so that the voting rights of people are ensured, and no-one can snatch other’s voting rights and capture polling centres,” she said.

The Prime Minister asked the law enforcement agencies to remain vigil so that each and every voter can cast his or her votes in favour of their favourite candidates peacefully. “That means people can exercise their franchise correctly…we want to create that environment.”

Response to BNP’s Allegation

Responding to a question over BNP’s allegations about Dhaka city polls that Awami League is trying to capture polling centres by deploying hooligans, Hasina said when a party lost their trust and confidence in people then they try to take other paths.

“This is the character of the BNP, they had started the vote looting and rigging, they cannot keep their confidence in people, they cannot trust digital system,” she said.

She also mentioned that BNP knows it very well that it is very tough to rig votes with EVMs and that is why they wanted to unleash hooliganism. “They wanted to do as they did in the past…I’ll tell them they must try to gain the trust of people shunning this path…trust and confidence are the main source of power and AL is in power for three consecutive times with that,” she said.

The Prime Minister also mentioned that the people of the country are now witnessing the remarkable progress of the country.unb

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