Leader of the opposition in parliament and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina stated militancy might cast negative impact in the next general election if it is not stamped out through fair and neutral investigation, report agencies.
Sheikh Hasina made this observation while speaking to the newly appointed Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Barbara Richardson when the later called on her at her Sudha Sadan residence in the city Thursday.
Also present on the occasion were AL presidium member Kazi Zafrullah MP, international affairs secretary Syed Abul Hossain and former ambassador Ziauddin.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Hasina said: "If militancy is not curbed it would create obstacles to people exercising their franchise in the next general election.
"Without the implementation of their reform proposals free, fair and neutral elections could not be held," Hasina said, adding that without reforms the elections would not be acceptable.
The much talked about issues -- militancy and terrorism -- came up prominently in the discussion between Hasina and Barbara, meeting sources said.
Besides, they discussed the latest political and socio-economic situation in the country. They also talked about various issues of mutual interest.
Briefing reporters, opposition leader's political adviser Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the opposition leader informed the Canadian diplomat about the rationality of 14-party combine's electoral reform proposal.
Saber said the opposition leader told the High Commissioner that AL had proposed to bring reforms in the electoral and caretaker government systems to establish democracy and ensure the accountability of the elected government and good governance.
Saber described as "untrue" Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's remarks on militancy in her Time Magazine interview. "Khaleda Zia has told the Time Magazine that she came to know about militancy in Bangladesh only after serial bomb attacks across the country on August 17.
But Sheikh Hasina and other party leaders came under grenade attacks on August 21 in 2004. So Khaleda's statement is clearly incorrect," Saber said.
He said such remarks of the country's Prime Minister proved that the government lacks sincerity in bringing the militants to justice.
"Catching hold of one or two militants will not do," he said. Barbara Richardson also agreed.
Richardson stated the upcoming general election in Bangladesh might be prejudiced by the current militancy problem if all the militant attacks were not fully investigated.
"The government has many things to do to eliminate the roots of militancy from the country," Richardson told reporters.
Richardson said the process of stamping out terrorism and militancy is a continuous process and, therefore, the continuity must be maintained.
Stressing the importance on the issue the Canadian High Commissioner said the solution should come through negotiation.