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Dark web of anti-Sheikh Hasina activities in the west

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.

While the United States has been consistently calling upon Awami League government in Bangladesh to ensure holding of a free, fair, transparent, credible and participatory as the country is expected to hold the next general election sometime soon, key policymakers in the Biden administration are unwilling to pursue Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), country’s largest opposition to participate in the election by dropping their demand for holding it under an unelected “caretaker” or “interim” government, and or “national government”.

Top brasses of BNP have specifically said they would boycott the upcoming election if it is held under Awami League government as holding a free and fair election under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is “impossible”. Lobbyists working for BNP and its ideological partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) have meanwhile succeeded in convincing policymakers in the West that for holding a free, fair and credible election in Bangladesh, Awami League government needs to resign and handover power to an “interim government” although it is crystal clear that BNP-Jamaat wants their like-minded individuals in their so-called interim or caretaker government.

Possibly because of such desperate lobbyist efforts of BNP and Jamaat, Western diplomats in Dhaka are continuing meeting leaders of BNP while maintaining secrecy about the topic of discussion. It may not be a wild speculation to say – through these dubious meetings, Western diplomats, particularly the US ambassador Peter Haas are giving instigation to enhancing toxicity in Bangladesh’s politics thus pushing the country towards a dangerous fate.

Meanwhile, although India has given clear signals of maintaining its cordial relations with Awami League according to my assumption, in global politics India may not be able to counter any decision or conspiracy of the United States. Similarly, China and Russia though are favorable to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Awami League, they too are not capable of saving Awami League from Washington’s pre-set mind or vicious agenda.

On April 10, 2023, during his meeting with Bangladesh’s foreign minister, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the whole world, including the US, is looking at the elections in Bangladesh. In addition to this, Washington talks about the new criteria for the election – setting a strong example of free and fair elections for the region and the world.

The opening statements by both the foreign policy chiefs were broadcast live on the State Department’s YouTube channel, which made it easier for us to understand the tone of the talks. In a very short opening statement, Secretary Blinken said, “We’re looking – the world is looking – to Bangladesh for its next elections, to make sure that they set a strong example for free and fair elections for the region and for the world”.

Following the meeting, Antony Blinken in a tweet said: “I underscored that free and fair elections and respect for human rights, media, and civil society are critical as we seek to deepen US-Bangladeshi ties”.

In his statement US State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the secretary [Blinken] “reiterated our commitment to promoting inclusive economic growth, free and fair elections, human and labor rights, and freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

Additionally, Secretary Blinken expressed concerns about violence against and intimidation of the media and civil society, including under the Digital Security Act [DSA]. He underscored that free and fair elections and respect for human rights in Bangladesh are critical as we seek to deepen our bilateral relationship”. At a separate media briefing, Vedant Patel termed the DSA “one of the world’s most draconian laws for journalists”.

Earlier, the US Department of State in a report supporting pro-jihadist Jamaat-e-Islami said: “Leaders and members of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jamaat), the largest Muslim political party in the country, could not exercise their constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly because of harassment by law enforcement authorities. Jamaat was deregistered as a political party by the government, prohibiting candidates from seeking office under the Jamaat name”.

Jamaat-e-Islami has been enjoying decades-old cordial relations with the United States as this party serves American purposes under the garb of Islamism. Jamaat’s cousin organization Muslim Brotherhood is actually a brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whereas Washington funded and instigated Mohamed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood in waging so-called Arab Spring, which was designed to overthrow rulers in the Middle East and replace them with American puppet regimes.

In Bangladesh, Jamaat-e-Islami is readily offering its absolute obedience and loyalty to Washington, once it can return to power – either solely or by remaining in coalition with Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). It may be mentioned here that both Jamaat and BNP are hardline Islamists, with anti-India ideology, whereas none of these parties are committed to China.

In 1971, both Jamaat-e-Islami and the United States had opposed Bangladesh’s war of independence.

Since 2014, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami have been vigorously pushing-forward their lobbyist activities in Washington DC with the target of gaining sympathy and support of the US government.

But, due to their Islamist nature, Donald Trump did not grant them any access. Things started moving in favor of BNP and Jamaat, when Joe Biden entered the Oval office, and America once again resumed its policy of meddling into domestic affairs or foreign nations and expanding American influence in those countries. This is where, Biden administration has found a match in BNP and Jamaat in pushing forward its ideology of democratism.

Anti-Awami League activities in the West

While Washington has been repeatedly asking Awami League government for holding a free, fair, credible and participatory election and while Awami League has repeatedly made pledges stating the next general election will be free and fair, Washington policymakers or their representatives in Dhaka are unwilling to pursuing BNP in joining the election under Awami League government.

During each of their meeting with US and European envoys in Dhaka, BNP leaders are consistently pressing their demand for holding the next general election under a “caretaker” government, while during a recent meeting with Ambassador Peter Haas, BNP leaders have requested to arrange a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which may take place within the next couple of months.

In fact, Antony Blinken and several officials at the US Department of State and US Department of Treasury are also willing to hold meetings with BNP top brasses to discuss Bangladesh’s upcoming election and “several key issues”, including issues related to corruption and human rights violation.

Meanwhile, BNP’s representative in the US and former US ambassador William B Milam, who is considered as an influential figure in the US Capitol, has been regularly circulating dossiers against the Awami League government amongst key figures in Washington DC and the UN headquarters. Four more individuals namely David Bergman, Tasneem Khalil, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami and Jacob Milton too are consistently working against Awami League from their respective locations and contacting local politicians, public representatives and media with a series of propaganda stuff.

On condition of anonymity, a highly-placed source in the US Capitol said, the Biden administration is unwilling to allow the Awami League in power following the next general election. With this agenda, they are secretly working on a list of dozens of individuals, on whom the United States would slap sanctions, mostly under the Global Magnitsky Act, if the next general election is not free, fair, credible and participatory.

Meaning, the Biden administration wants the election to be participated by Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, while they are aware that BNP shall not participate in the election unless it is held under a caretaker government comprising its chosen individuals.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.
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