Dhaka, May 27: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday hoped that the new US visa policy would stop arson attack and violence in Bangladesh centering the upcoming general election.
“We want to stop arson attacks…if it (US visa policy) stops arson attack that would be a blessing,” he told reporters after attending a program at International Mother Language Institute auditorium in Dhaka.
The foreign minister said the leaders of the political parties which are involved in arson attack need to remain cautious.
“You know who (arson attack) do that. Their leadership needs to remain careful,” he added.
The foreign minister said there is nothing to worry about the new visa policy as it supports Prime Minister Hasina’s commitment to hold free and fair election in Bangladesh.
“Who takes (US) visa? Some rich people and government officials (take it). Those who are my political agents and who will work during polling do not come to seek visa,” Momen said.
He said some politicians, big businessmen, or civil society leaders, whose sons and daughters study abroad and make establishments there, take visa.
The foreign minister also hoped that money laundering will come down due to the new visa policy.
The United States on Wednesday said it would restrict visas to Bangladeshis who undermine democratic elections, in a pre-emptive warning visibly fearing mount of turbulence in the upcoming voting expected in early January 2024.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the policy would enable the US “to restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh”.
In a statement responding to the new US visa policy, the Foreign Ministry said the Bangladesh government appreciates that the international community, including the US, firmly stands by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s sustained commitment to ensure free and fair elections.
“Bangladesh would like to view this announcement in the broader context of its government’s unequivocal commitment to holding free and fair elections at all levels for upholding the country’s democratic process,” said the Foreign Ministry.