US wants Bangladesh govt to complete full term
DHAKA: Washington wants to see Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s government complete its five-year term as this would ensure stability in politically volatile Bangladesh, according to the top US envoy here.
“This is a Westminster-type democracy,” US ambassador Harry Thomas told a meeting of foreign investors in Dhaka, the Daily Star newspaper said Monday.
“Unless parliament decides to bring down the government, the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) will finish its term and we would be happy to see that happen, because we think stability would benefit the economy and the people of Bangladesh,” Thomas said.
The ambassador’s comments come amid heightening political tension after the the main opposition Awami League of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina gave the government until April 30 to step down, accusing it of failing to address crime and corruption.
The League said it will form a massive human chain in Dhaka on Tuesday (today) and is planning a two-day general strike on April 7 and 8 as part of its campaign to force the government out. Zia’s BNP-led Islamist alliance, which holds a two-thirds parliamentary majority, has vowed to serve out its five-year term which ends in 2006. “The opposition parties should not issue deadlines for the government to step down if democracy has to be put on a sound footing,” Thomas said.
The government says it inherited a bad law-and-order situation from the previous Awami League government and that the crime situation has in fact improved.
Bangladesh has been paralysed by five opposition-sponsored general strikes in the past month - costing at least 60 million dollars a day in lost production. -AFP