Bangladesh polls 2018: PM Hasina eyes another term; set to challenge Opposition, counter terrorism

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 27, 2018, 12:46 PM(IST)

File photo of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Bangladesh's Opposition has been critical of PM Hasina's government. They say this election is not a fair fight. 

Bangladesh will go to polls this Sunday, December 30, to pick its next government. Incumbent prime minister Sheikh Hasina seems to have an edge in the electoral tussle, some even suggest her comeback for a record fourth time.  

But, Hasina' campaign faces a threat from Pakistan. In the past few weeks, WION has reported serious claims of election meddling in the neighbouring country.

Now, the government of Bangladesh has unearthed a plot to pump in huge sums of money to tilt the scales against Hasina in the upcoming polls. Country's anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit, the Rapid Action Battalion, claims to have seized local currency worth more than $20 million. 

The agency claims to have raided the offices of United Corporation - a firm allegedly carrying out hawala transactions in connivance with a candidate belonging to the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Also read: Why are Bangladesh elections important?

Reports suggest, Tarique Rahman, Zia's son and BNP's acting chairman, was engineering this funding operation with the help from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Rahman has been living in London under self-imposed exile.

Bangladesh's Opposition has been critical of PM Hasina's government. They say this election is not a fair fight. Three main Opposition parties, including Zia's BNP, have come together to contest this year's polls, they call themselves the United National Front.

The Opposition claims that more than 10,000 of their members have been rounded up and put in jail.

Since her return to power in 2008, Sheikh Hasina has led a campaign to uproot every terror module in Bangladesh. 

In an exclusive interview with WION, the Bangladeshi PM affirmed that Bangladesh believes in zero tolerance for terrorism in the country, indirectly hinting at Pakistan’s soil being misused by terror groups to promote terrorism on foreign land. 

“There is zero tolerance for terrorism in our country. We are working with other countries, especially with our neighbouring countries, to counter terrorism across the country. Terrorism is a global problem and all stakeholders should work with each other. One thing we are sure of and have taken steps towards is that we are not going to allow our land to promote terrorism on foreign soil,” said Hasina. 

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