Govt tells foreign envoys of state of nation

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told the foreign diplomats on Wednesday that the next general elections will be a ‘critical threshold’ for Bangladesh’s journey onwards.

She said the nation ‘has two clear options’ at this stage. “One is to build up on the conclusions that we had reached as a nation at out birth in 1971 and forge ahead on the course of progress and prosperity that is our destiny.

“…And the other is to dig deeper the battle lines around the fundamental questions of our statehood and plunge the nation into a state of chaos and polarisation for narrow political gains.

“If we choose the latter, I do not think history will forgive us ever,” she said leaving it to the people to ‘decide which option they prefer’.

The minister is briefing the heads of foreign missions and international agencies in the wake of a little known Islamist group Hifazat-e Islam’s recent showdown and its 13-point charter of demands that includes banning public mixing of men and women.

Nearly 100 foreign dignitaries including ambassadors of the US, Germany, and the middle-east countries, and the High Commissioners of the UK, and India are attending the briefing at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in the capital.

Prime Minister’s adviser H T Imam and State Minister for Women Affairs Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury are also present.

Before the Foreign Minister’s briefing started, videos of Hifazat’s rally, and attacks on Shahbagh supporters and Ekattorer Ghatak Dalan Nirmul Committee members were shown.

Pictures of violence by the Jamaat-e-Islami were also shown.

The minister in her briefing said the recent violence and ‘intolerance’ had been ‘a clear signal’ that the government needed to scale up its efforts ‘to see to it that a certain section of our society, including youth, does not remain susceptible to such bigotry and gets radicalised in turn’.

The briefing has been organised a little more than a month after the first briefing in March when the minister presented a picture of violence unleashed by the Jamaat supporters after a verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal.

At the beginning she said the briefing had been organised ‘to keep you apprised of the government’s position on some of the ongoing developments around ICT-Bangladesh trials’.

As there have been debates and speculations on whether it was right to allow the Hifazat-e Islam to hold their programme, the minister said, the government allowed them ‘respecting the constitutional rights of all individuals and organisations to express their views and hold peaceful assemblies’.

Source: Bd news24


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