UK minister tells Khaleda Zia they want participatory polls

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Dhaka : Visiting British Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma is said to have told BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Saturday that the UK wants to see a representative government in Bangladesh through fair and participatory polls.

‘They (UK) want very good ties with Bangladesh. They want to see a representative government in Bangladesh as they also always want a fair and inclusive election to be held here,’ BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters after a meeting between Khaleda and the UK minister, reports UNB.

The hour-long meeting that began around 4:00pm was held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.

Fakhrul and BNP chairperson’s adviser Reaz Rahman, and British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake were present at the meeting.

Briefing reporters about the meeting, the BNP secretary general said they discussed various issues relating to the mutual interests of the two countries. ‘Especially, we’ve talked as to how the bilateral relations can be improved further, how the UK’s cooperation can be expanded in our trade, education and health sectors.’

He said they also focused on the UK’s role in improving Bangladesh’s education and health sectors and increasing scope of higher education and training for Bangladeshi students.

Besides, Fakhrul said they urged the UK minister to resolve the complexities facing Bangladeshis in getting UK visas directly from Dhaka as its visa centre was moved to Delhi.

Fakhrul said the minister took the issue seriously and assured them of taking steps in this regard.

‘We’ve told him that BNP wants Bangladesh-UK relations to be strengthened further. We also want the UK to play stronger role in expanding our trade and economy.’

Alok Sharma arrived here on Thursday on a three-day official visit.

During his stay in Dhaka, the British minister had meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, political party leaders and representatives from business and civil society.

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