British High Commissioner and the BNP Chairperson discussed the current situation in Bangladesh
11 February 2015, Nirapad News: The British High Commissioner, Robert W Gibson, called on the Chairperson of the Bangladesh National Party this afternoon. He is the first diplomat to meet with Khaleda Zia amid the ongoing blockades. The meeting took place from 5.30 pm in the evening at Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office today. He passed on his personal condolences on the passing of her son Koko. They then discussed the current situation in Bangladesh.
According to official statement the High Commissioner said the following on leaving the meeting:
“I have taken the opportunity this evening to offer my personal sympathies to the Honourable Chairperson over the loss of her son Arafat Rahman Koko. The UK is committed to the future stability, development and prosperity of Bangladesh in which we are and will remain close partners. As I have said before, the extent of the current violence and disruption to the lives of all people in Bangladesh is distressing and deplorable. I have consistently called on all parties to fully consider the effects of their actions and resist from causing further damage to the country’s national interest. I also urge all parties to consider confidence building measures that would defuse the current tension in the country and allow normal life to resume. In the long term, I hope that further confidence building measures can be taken that will ultimately break the habitual cycle of violence and disruption that appears to characterise elections in Bangladesh and which would allow all legitimate political activity to take place peacefully.
The black Land Cruiser carrying Gibson entered the office around 5 pm today. The office’s main gate had been closed since Jan 3 when Khaleda announced the transport blockade on Jan 5, the first anniversary of the last general election boycotted by her party and allies.
A pick-up truck blocking the gate was removed minutes before the British envoy had arrived. BNP chief’s Advisor Sabih Uddin Ahmed, her Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan and Special Assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas welcomed Gibson.
The BNP chief had been surrounded by police in her office since Jan 3 and on Jan 5, they prevented her from coming out to lead anti-government protests on the first anniversary of the last general election. The non-stop nationwide transport blockade has left at least 70 people killed so far, most burnt to death in fire-bombings.
Western countries have all expressed their concern in strongest terms over the violence that they said must stop. The US, EU, UK and Canada have called for an immediate end to violence. India has left it to Bangladesh to resolve its own crisis.