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Country News


In a compelling open letter addressed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Delwar Jahid, the President of the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network, has urgently appealed for the voting rights of expatriate Bangladeshis ahead of the January 2024 elections. The letter, which represents the sentiments of one and a half million expatriates and their global well-wishers, emphasizes the need for a free, fair, peaceful, and participatory election in the country.


The expatriate community, deeply concerned about the current state of affairs marked by violence, tension, and uncertainty in Bangladesh, sees the upcoming national elections as a pivotal moment for millions of Bangladeshis to exercise their political choices in governing the country. The letter acknowledges Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's instrumental role in addressing the voting rights of expatriates during the formulation of 'Smart Bangladesh' and highlights the decision made in the 2010 cabinet meeting to grant expatriate Bangladeshis the right to vote in all elections in the country.


The expatriate community respectfully conveys their expectations to the Prime Minister, emphasizing that granting expatriates the opportunity to engage in democracy and vote will not only resolve a longstanding suffrage issue but also showcase Bangladesh's capabilities and global stature. The letter praises Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's commitment to the Smart Bangladesh initiative, aligning with the evolving needs of the country as it strives to become a developed, prosperous, and smart nation.


However, the letter points out the unfortunate denial of equal access to the ballot for 1.3 million remittance fighters in the diaspora during this critical transitional phase in Bangladesh. Despite a national consensus and a groundbreaking resolution to enfranchise them, these expatriates are currently excluded from participating in the electoral process. The letter urges Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take prompt and necessary action on the matter of voting rights for the 13 million remittance fighters, emphasizing that a free, fair, impartial, and participatory election involving all citizens is of utmost importance.


The letter concludes by expressing gratitude for the Prime Minister's attention to this crucial matter and remains hopeful for a positive and inclusive electoral process in Bangladesh. Delwar Jahid, a Canadian expatriate, freedom fighter, writer, researcher, and journalist, signs off as the President of the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network, representing the collective voice of expatriate Bangladeshis. As the January 2024 elections draw nearer, the expatriate community eagerly anticipates a response and action from the government to ensure their voting rights are upheld.