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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 101

U.S. Chapter of Bangladesh Nationalist Party Denounces Military Consolidation of Power and Demise of Democracy

Washington, D.C. 19 April ( The United States Chapter of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party issuing a statement condemned the military rule in consolidating its political power and lamented the demise of democracy in this South Asian nation.

President of the U.S. Chapter of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Abdul Shamrat, released the following statement regarding the political situation in Bangladesh:

"We are deeply concerned about the state of affairs in Bangladesh, where the military, just today (April 17), is trying to blackmail former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia into self-imposed exile to Saudi Arabia by arresting her younger son and breaking into her home.

"Since January 11, 2007, the civil and political rights of Bangladeshi citizens have been severely curtailed. Declaring a state of emergency, chief advisor to the caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed has led the military in an alleged crackdown on corruption that is no more than a witch hunt.

"Since the declaration of the state of emergency, Ahmed's military-backed government has denied Bangladeshi citizens the rights to free speech and free assembly as well as prohibited them from engaging in politics. His government has also rounded up over 150,000 people, including more than 160 senior politicians and government ministers. To date, at least 50 individuals have died in custody while others are being held without charge and without bail.

"Those that have not been thrown into jail have been bullied by the military-backed government. Over the past few weeks, authorities have imposed strict surveillance on former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and barred her from interacting with BNP leadership and the media. Under house arrest, Begum Zia is prohibited from seeing anyone besides her two brothers, a physician and one ex-member of the Bangladesh Parliament. Moreover, her sons were taken into custody and are currently being used to pressure Begum Zia into exile.

"Democracy is in danger in Bangladesh; the actions of those who have seized power have significant consequences on our future as a nation. Military rule has replaced representative government, despite efforts on the part of Begum Zia to revitalize our emerging democracy. Instead, the military-backed government has succeeded in quashing civil liberties, and it is time to take action. We call upon our brothers and sisters throughout the world to bring this issue to light and to help restore democracy in one of the West's most important Muslim allies."

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was founded on September 1, 1978, by General Ziaur Rahman. General Ziaur's widow, Begum Khaleda Zia, is the current party chair and former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, ruling from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to October 2006. The party's rule in government is credited with successes in education, infrastructure, telecommunications, and law and order. Based in New York, the U.S. chapter of the BNP has thousands of supporters and is led by current president,
Abdul Shamrat and an executive committee.

- Asian Tribune -

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