Friday, August 3, 2007

US Congressional Hearing on Bangladesh

We’re sharing with our readers a portion of the US Subcommittee Hearing on the Middle East and South Asia on the critical political developments in Bangladesh. This hearing took place on August 1, 2007. VOA reports on August 2nd, "US Congressman and the chairman of a sub committee on foreign affairs, Gary L Ackerman, expressed concern about the political reform in Bangladesh through an “extra-constitutional process”. He was speaking at the House Sub Committee on Foreign Affairs at the Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. Islamist parties might expand their influence in the absence of any strong mainstream party, he says. He is also doubtful about the proposed time table of the general election by the end of 2008..."

Honorable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee expressed her grave concern about the military backed care taker government’s emergency rule as she asked the State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary John A. Gastright about the steps taken by the State Department. She was concerned about the due process, human rights, and election deadline. Yes, the Bangladesh dailies have not reported what Honorable Congresswoman made quite clear in her opening statement. Honorable Congresswoman specifically warned that if Bangladesh is not moving for election, the US Congress will push for special legislation. Thank you Honorable Congresswoman Jackson for joining us in restoring democracy in Bangladesh.

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Daily Star reports on August 3rd:

“The United States has reiterated its strong support to the caretaker government's drive against corruption in Bangladesh and commended the announcement of election roadmap as well as the reforms measures.

"Success of reform measures taken by the caretaker government will benefit the people," said US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Gastright at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday during a testimony given in the US Congressional Committee.

His remarks came a week after US President George W Bush appreciated Bangladesh's election roadmap. Bush made his statement on July 26 when new Bangladeshi envoy to US presented his credentials at the White House.

According to a release issued by Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, Gastright said the caretaker government has undertaken a series of reform measures, which will benefit the people of Bangladesh, if carried out successfully”.
New Age reports:

“US congressional committee wants lifting of ban on politics”
Members of the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs expressed their desire to see the lifting of the ban on political activities in Bangladesh soon, and hoped that the interim government would stick to the deadline declared in the roadmap for holding general elections by 2008.

The committee made the remarks during the testimony given by US deputy assistant secretary of state, John Gastright, at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. The hearing was presided over by chairman of the committee Congressman Gary L Ackerman and was attended by Congressmen Joseph Crowley, Steve Chabot, Frank Pallone and Congresswoman Jackson Lee, said a release issued by Bangladesh embassy in Washington”.
Yes, the hearing also inquired about the safety of the two leaders, detention of two hundred thousand people, corruption, terrorism, human rights, the numbers of cross fires by RAB and so on. Indeed, there are a lot of issues unexplained about the military backed Government’s undue influence on selective political reform, patronage, and mass intimidation on political, civil and professional groups. That has yet to be explained. After all, the Subcommittee Hearing has really put the State Department on task to follow the overall progress unfolding in Bangladesh and maintain its diplomatic efforts to keep the militarybacked government on track. You can also watch this two-hour long hearing in real player. Who will dispute that this world has become smaller?

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