Clashes mar start of Bangladesh election campaign

Bangladesh Awami League supporters during a general election campaign procession in Dhaka on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
0

Clashes mar start of Bangladesh election campaign

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday launched her bid to stay in office
  • The national election body wants a violence-free campaign and polling day

DHAKA: Two people have been killed in clashes as official election campaigning got underway in Bangladesh.

The country goes to the polls on Dec. 30, pitting the ruling Awami League against the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Violence left two party workers dead and injured dozens more, media reported, days into the campaign.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday launched her bid to stay in office, addressing a rally in Gopalganj district.

She told the crowd that people were not deprived if they voted for her party, they had a better life.

She said she wanted a prosperous country, free of hunger and poverty, and urged people to vote for the ruling party to maintain ongoing development projects.

Hasina is seeking a third consecutive term in office. Seeking to oust her from power is the BNP-led opposition alliance, called the Jatiya Oikya Front.

Dr. Kamal Hossain offered prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal in the eastern city of Sylhet on Wednesday evening. Then he, along with other opposition leaders, headed toward Jaintapur district to address a mass rally.

The national election body wants a violence-free campaign and polling day, but the BNP says the playing field is not level.

The party contacted the chief election commissioner to say its leaders, supporters and activists were being harassed, attacked and arrested.

“We think the chief commissioner is helpless and embarrassed as he is unable to take any action against the crimes committed targeting BNP leaders and supporters,” the BNP’s Selima Rahman told reporters. “We hope that he (election commissioner)takes action — only then will the election be acceptable to all.”

The head of the election body, Nurul Huda, said: “The EC is deeply saddened and embarrassed for such undesired incidents… The worth of a person’s life is much greater than the entire election exercise.”

The Bangladesh Election Commission needs to play a more active role in curbing violence so that voters were not deterred, according to the body’s former chief Shakhawat Hossain.

“To keep a check on violence, the EC has clear guidelines in its code of conducts while the Representation of Public Order (RPO) has also clearly stated the duties during this period,” Hossain told Arab News.

“The EC has already formed 140 inquiry committees and deployed 250 executive magistrates to monitor the elections. In addition, it has its own officers and administrative heads ensuring smooth running of the election process,” he added.

Everything now depended on the EC, its deployment of resources and how it operated, he added.


Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

Updated 26 March 2019
0

Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

  • Nawaz Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose his source of income to acquire Al-Azizia Steel Mills

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.
Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia. He has appealed.
The case was heard by a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The three-time former premier has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail appeal was rejected last month.
The Supreme Court removed Sharif from office in July 2017 for not disclosing part of a salary drawn from his son’s company and he was later convicted in two separate cases of failing to disclose sources of income.
In one of those cases, over the ownership of upmarket properties in London, the high court granted him bail last September, suspending a 10-year sentence until a final decision on his appeal against the conviction.
The appeal process in both cases is continuing.
Sharif has termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.