Bangladesh’s government has vowed to work towards free and fair elections following the US’s recent threat to impose visa restrictions on individuals who are deemed to be undermining democracy in the South Asian country.
The US State Department has issued a warning that US visas may be used as a “tool” for those who undermine free and fair elections in Bangladesh. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would be taking action against those who may try to impact the general election being held later this year at the end of 2021.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister, AK Abdul Momen, said that the country was “committed to holding free, fair and credible elections in 2020” and promised to “work sincerely towards that goal”. He said that the US statement was a “clear manifestation” of the country’s commitment to a free and fair electoral process in Bangladesh.
He also said that the US was “monitoring the political situation in Bangladesh very closely” and would closely observe the electoral process with a view to ensuring its authenticity. He said that the US has “been supportive” of Bangladesh’s efforts to hold free and fair elections and has urged Bangladesh to remain vigilant against any attempts to foment unrest or manipulate the voting process.
The Warnings from USA could be an incentive for Bangladesh to ensure free and fair elections as promised. By threatening visa sanctions, the US is sending a strong message that it will not tolerate any attempts to interfere with the democratic process. It is also a reminder for Bangladesh to take all necessary measure to prevent any violence or disruption during and after the elections.