Bangladesh’s foreign minister has downplayed the US decision to impose visa restrictions on unnamed Dhaka officials, citing concerns about the election process in the country. The US Department of State recently announced the restrictions, targeting individuals it deemed responsible for undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh. The move came as part of Washington’s push for free and fair general elections set to take place early next year.
The Bangladeshi foreign minister stated that his country was not “bothered” by the visa curbs, asserting that Bangladesh knows how to hold an acceptable election. The US has expressed support for “free, fair, and peaceful national elections” in Bangladesh, and tensions have risen in the lead-up to the upcoming polls.
The opposition, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been demanding the installation of a neutral caretaker government to oversee the elections. However, this provision was nullified in 2011, and the opposition alleges that the ruling Awami League influenced the Supreme Court’s decision. Western powers, including the US and the European Union, have expressed concerns about the electoral process and human rights violations in Bangladesh.
While the US did not release the names of the individuals affected by the visa restrictions, the move reflects growing international scrutiny of Bangladesh’s political landscape as it prepares for its next general election.