Commonwealth urges Bangladesh to lift emergency
Mar 21, 2007 - 7:15:40 PM

Dhaka, March 21 - Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon Wednesday said the state of emergency and suppression of political activity in Bangladesh should be lifted without unnecessary delay.

He also called for a road map leading up to inclusive and credible elections as soon as possible for a new parliament, with time-lines attached.

McKinnon told at a press conference here that at the moment there is no parliament in Bangladesh where the voice of the people can be heard.

'No people should be deprived of such a forum any longer than absolutely necessary. This is a fundamental right,' he said.

The state of emergency and ban on political activities was imposed on Jan 11 by the military-backed transitional government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed to quell political turmoil over the general elections and the scheduled Jan 22 general elections were indefinitely postponed.

McKinnon had a series of discussions with the chief advisor, political party leaders and the election commission of Bangladesh.

He urged all political parties to work together with the Election Commission to enable the production of the new voters' list.

McKinnon said the Commonwealth will remain engaged with the Bangladeshi government and do all it can to assist in creating a genuine and sustainable democracy in the country.

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