Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Bangladesh deploys troops ahead of Sunday’s election

Dhaka, 4 January, 2024 (GNP): Amid mounting tensions and concerns of potential violence preceding the upcoming national election in Bangladesh, the deployment of troops across the country has been initiated as a measure to ensure peace and security.

This proactive step aims to support the civil administration in maintaining order ahead of the scheduled election day on Sunday.

Soldiers, traveling in armored vehicles, have been stationed in temporary camps strategically placed across the capital city of Dhaka.

The decision for this deployment comes amidst the boycott of the election by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), citing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s refusal to meet their demands for her resignation and the establishment of a neutral authority to oversee the polls.

Prime Minister Hasina has attributed recent anti-government protests in Dhaka to the BNP, resulting in a tumultuous situation that has claimed at least 10 lives since late October.

The BNP’s absence from the election has intensified apprehensions regarding the potential for post-election violence.

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The military, in a statement, clarified that troops will act solely upon request from polling officers. Additionally, naval forces have been dispatched to coastal regions, while the air force stands ready to provide helicopter assistance to remote hilly areas where polling stations are located.

The populace, grappling with ongoing political turmoil, voices concerns about the future, expressing the urgent need for peace and stability in the country.

The political landscape in Bangladesh has been fraught with allegations of authoritarianism, curtailment of free speech, and the incarceration of dissenting voices.

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia remains effectively confined while facing charges that her party claims are politically motivated. Similarly, Tarique Rahman, the acting chairman of BNP, resides in exile, refuting multiple charges against him.

Pressure from Western nations urging free and fair elections intensifies as the government seeks to navigate these challenging circumstances.