Keep­ing the Peace?

Southasia - - Briefing -

Sec­re­tary of State, Hil­lary Clin­ton, vis­ited Bangladesh amidst grow­ing ten­sions be­tween the cur­rent gov­ern­ment and the BNP over the dis­ap­pear­ance of former BNP law­maker, Ilyas Ali. Ali was ab­ducted re­cently and the BNP, un­der the guid­ance of Khaleda Zia, has staged mas­sive protests and ri­ots through­out the coun­try bring­ing the econ­omy and the state to a halt for five days.,

Clin­ton’s visit marked the first se­nior level of­fi­cial visit to the coun­try af­ter 2004. She met with both Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina and Op­po­si­tion leader, Khaleda Zia to dis­cuss the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sce­nario. Clin­ton also met with No­bel lau­re­ate Muham­mad Yunus, whose re­moval from the Grameen Bank has been crit­i­cized by Wash­ing­ton and Sir Fa­zle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, to dis­cuss Bangladesh and broader global de­vel­op­ment, as well as the chal­lenges con­fronting civil so­ci­ety.

Her visit came at an op­por­tune mo­ment, when both Bangladesh and the U.S are ex­plor­ing an en­hanced part­ner­ship. It il­lus­trated U.S com­mit­ment to build­ing a peace­ful, se­cure, pros­per­ous, healthy and demo­cratic coun­try. Dur­ing her meet­ings, Clin­ton raised the is­sue of ab­duc­tions and also floated the idea of hold­ing elec­tions un­der a non-party care­taker gov­ern­ment.

The visit proved crit­i­cally im­por­tant for Bangladesh, which hopes to see it­self as a mid­dle-in­come na­tion by 2021, a drive that seems to be tak­ing a hard hit, fol­low­ing po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence in the coun­try. U.S as­sis­tance with the pro­gram could of course, be a god­send.

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