Bangladesh govt to reach out to global community ahead of polls

Under international pressure over ongoing political violence in Bangladesh, the Sheikh Hasina-led government will soon embark on a massive publicity drive to reach out to the global community and pin the blame of the unrest on the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami organisation and the Opposition, led by Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu told an Indian delegation of journalists on Wednesday, "We will prepare a paper and list out violent activities by Jamaat and BNP, and give it to our international partners." Many Western countries have expressed concern over the violence that has taken place during the election process currently underway in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's new foreign minister in the caretaker government A H Mahmood Ali told the delegation, "The international community has not been neutral. We have been talking to them and telling them that you cannot bracket Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party with the Awami League-led government."

The country is witnessing violence and protests by the opposition, led by Khaleda Zia, who have given a call for 72-hour nationwide blockade till Friday. Over 30 people have been killed in violence since last week's execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

In fact, Foreign minister A H Mahmood Ali Wednesday called the US ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena and explained to him the violence unleashed by Jamaat activists across the country.

A senior Bangladesh foreign ministry functionary was appreciative of India's role in the crisis, and said that the US ambassador had visited India some time ago and had been briefed by South Block. "We want India to help us. You cannot be neutral at this hour," a foreign ministry functionary said.

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