British Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi on Monday hailed the ongoing Shahbagh movement of the young people demanding death penalty for ‘war criminals’ and a ban on Jamaat-e Islami.
She informed journalists of her position on the movement after a meeting with Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia at the latter’s office.
“We heard the previous protests in Bangladesh were violent. But at Shahbagh the youths have raised their concerns and protests in a non-violent way. It has set a good example,” she said.
Before meeting Khaleda, Warsi, who is on a three-day visit to Bangladesh, called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.
During the more-than-one-hour meeting, Warsi and Khaleda discussed Bangladesh’s next parliament elections, trials of suspected war criminals, Shahbagh movement and issues of common interest.
Focusing on her country’s position about the next polls, she said they hoped a free, fair and credible election, participated by all political parties, will be held in Bangladesh. The government and political parties will determine if that election will be held under a caretaker or a non-caretaker government.
About the ongoing trials of war criminals, the Pakistani-origin Baroness Warsi said: “We support war crimes trials.”
But that processes should be open, transparent, fair and neutral and the UK’s position is that capital punishment for nobody is expected. “We don’t support any death sentence.”
She said the UK government is working to abolish death penalty in the countries where it is still awarded.
BNP Vice-Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury later said the British Minister asked Khaleda about the first 100-day priority programmes of her government if her party goes to power.
The BNP chief said a national consensus would be forged to carry the country forward. She will put priority on tackling economic challenges, developing infrastructure, power, education and health sectors and strengthening poverty reduction efforts and democratic institutions.