UN Secretary General’s deputy Oscar Fernandez-Taranco and US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal have expressed concern over the violence in Bangladesh and stressed the need for peaceful de-escalation of the situation. They discussed the matter at a meeting in Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told a press briefing in New York on Thursday afternoon.Earlier, Taranco was assigned by the UN Secretary General to liaise with the government and opposition leaders in Bangladesh. Both Taranco and Biswal visited Bangladesh ahead of the January 5 general election last year, but they could not bring out any breakthrough as the major political parties had stuck to their guns on issue of election-time government.They held a series of talks with the Awami League and BNP leaders. Taranco came to Dhaka on December 6, 2013, and stayed here for six days. Although he succeeded in getting the AL and the BNP leaders to sit for two rounds, it did not bring forth any result. But no meeting could be arranged between Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina. Taranco sadly went back disappointedly.Dozens of lives have been lost in violence since the BNP-led opposition combine announced an indefinite blockade on January 5 this year. The country is bleeding and the situation is going out of control. The issue is simple: The government is not ready to face a free and fair election but this is not seen as a political challenge for the whole nation.The UN, United States, European Union, United Kingdom and Canada have deplored the violence against innocent people and reiterated their call for dialogue to break the current political crisis. India said it would not interfere in the internal matters of Bangladesh and hoped that the people and the government of Bangladesh would resolve the issues themselves.In our opinion, it is the most unrealistic expectation. The government that does not feel safe to face the people in a free and fair election is a situation that cannot be resolved by us. We are now virtually under police rule. Whether food will be allowed to Begum Khaleda Zia’s house is to be decided by the police. How to save the plunderers that is main consideration of the government.So there is a strong and well-organized anti-election vested interest to contend with for saving democracy in Bangladesh. These people are most determined not to give up.Nobody is asking that the power should be transferred to Begum Khaleda Zia.So merely expressing concern over the current situation of the country is not enough to bring forth a solution to solve the current crisis of saving lives of the people on a long term basis. Both the UN and the international community must understand the terrible nature of the crisis facing the nation.If so wanted, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can restore peace any moment by keeping her own promise of holding a genuine election. But the promise is not even discussed. The opposition is denied of all peaceful democratic space treating them as enemies of the country. To put it softly but gravely, we are in a war like situation and the fear is violence will spread no matter how ruthlessly BNP is suppressed. We failed to make our government see it.So the question how to save our people from a dangerous situation like no talk with the opposition and no election as promised by the Prime Minister herself.
Source: The New Nation