WASHINGTON - In what appears to be surprising, the authorities in the United States have announced a new visa policy for Bangladesh ahead of elections in the Asian country.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken disclosed on Wednesday that he was announcing the new visa policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) (“3C”) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to support Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.
Blinken detailed that under this policy, the United States will be able to restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
As far as those who can face the axe are concerned, the secretary said current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of pro-government and opposition political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security services can be denied the visa.
'The United States notified the Bangladeshi government of this decision on May 3, 2023,' noted Blinken.
The Secretary of State elaborated that actions that undermine the democratic election process include vote rigging, voter intimidation, the use of violence to prevent people from exercising their right to freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, and the use of measures designed to prevent political parties, voters, civil society, or the media from disseminating their views.
'The holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media. I am announcing this policy to lend our support to all those seeking to advance democracy in Bangladesh,' Blinken said in clear-worded remarks.
In response to the comments, the Bangladesh foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday and assured free and fair elections which are scheduled to be held in January next year.
“The government apparatus will take necessary measures to prevent and address any unlawful practices or interference … to compromise the smooth and participatory conduct of the elections,” it said.
“The electoral process will remain under strict vigilance, including by international observers as accredited by the Election Commission.”
The US policy seems to have worked wonders as Prime Minister Hasina Wajid also promised a fair election.
“I am here to ensure our people’s voting rights because people should decide who will run the country. It is people’s power. I want to ensure people’s power,” she said on Wednesday.
“I am not here to grab power, rather I want to empower our people. They should have that right to choose their government. So under our government, definitely elections will be free and fair,” she assured while speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum.
Pakistani rupee witnessed marginal losses against US dollar, and other currencies in the open market.
On Wednesday, the dollar was being quoted at 285.6 for selling and 288.65 for buying purposes.
Euro price stands at 312 for buying and 315 for selling. British Pound rate stands at 360 for buying, and 363 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED stands at 78.25 whereas the Saudi Riyal also witnessed fall and new price stands at 76.25.
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||360||363|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||36.24||36.59|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||173.44||175.44|
KARACHI – The gold price moved up down in the local market in line with massive increase in international market.
On Wednesday, the single tola of 24 Karat gold was available at Rs218,000, and the price for 10-gram gold saw an increase of Rs943 to reach Rs186,900.
Meanwhile, the 22 Karat Gold price stands at Rs199,830, 21 karat rate for each tola is Rs190,750 and 18k gold rate hoveres around Rs163,500.00.
In international market, the price of precious metal went up by $29 to settle at $2,044 per ounce.
|Lahore||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Karachi||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Islamabad||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Peshawar||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Quetta||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Sialkot||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Attock||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Gujranwala||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Jehlum||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Multan||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Gujrat||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Nawabshah||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Chakwal||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Hyderabad||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Nowshehra||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Sargodha||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Faisalabad||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|
|Mirpur||PKR 218,000||PKR 2,610|