>worry over political instability possibility

>INFLUENTIAL Western diplomats are increasingly concerned about the nation’s return to political instability ahead of polls because of a lack of preparations by major parties and confusion surrounding the fate of two detained former premiers, Ashfaq Wares Khan writes in The Daily Star. (Read full article)
The concerns persist despite the breakneck speed of voter registration with photograph because of what they say is a heightened sense of “political uncertainty”.
Both the newly appointed US ambassador James F Moriarty and British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury echoed these concerns over the last week.
They have both said “credible and participatory elections” would be “extremely difficult” under the state of emergency as it would prevent parties from campaigning.
Speaking separately with The Daily Star, several diplomats said they fear the country might plunge into the political despair of the pre-1/11 due to growing uncertainty surrounding the next general elections.
None of the interviewed diplomats however believes the situation is at a ‘crisis point’, but they have identified hurdles on way to ensure acceptable elections.
They said the government and political parties both need to engage in dialogues to clear the air and build confidence of the electorate and gain assurances of participation by major parties.
Two most significant steps identified by the diplomats are lifting the ban on political activities outside Dhaka and clarifying the ‘status’ of the two detained former prime ministers.


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