We are not for or against any political party: TIB

Staff Reporter, Dhaka

17 December 2023

 Responding to Bridges Minister and Awami League Secretary General Mr Obaidul Quader’s comment that TIB is towing BNP’s line, TIB has said that it is on the one hand self-embarrassing for him, and on the other reflects the mindset that treat all critics as political opponents. 

In response to the Minister’s question in a context where TIB consider the possibility of a truly inclusive election to have been ruled out as assessed by all available political and electoral indicators before and after the announcement of the election schedule, Executive Director of TIB, Iftekharuzzaman said, it should not be unknown to the learned Minister that an inclusive election can be held only in a situation where level playing field for all aspiring parties and candidates is ensured through a neutral, non-partisan and conflict of interest-free role of the Election Commission, Election time Government, administration and law enforcement agencies. 

TIB condemned the attempt by the Awami League general secretary to conflate TIB with BNP due to expressing doubts regarding a participatory election. TIB clarified, “TIB is an apolitical entity with no affiliations towards any political party. It was deeply disappointing to hear such unfounded statements from a key minister of the government and the second-in-command of the ruling political party.” However, TIB expressed that while such allegations were neither surprising nor unnerving, they marked a recurrent trend where both major political entities, Awami League and BNP, responded with hostility whenever TIB’s research reports or recommendations challenged their interests.

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, TIB’s ED, further stated, “TIB’s position remains unwaveringly neutral when it comes to political alignments. Our focus is on fostering a corruption-free, democratic, and well-governed Bangladesh. We had faced hostilities previously; during the BNP-led four-party alliance government, threats of closure and legal actions from 64 districts were issued against us. This year too, there were malicious disinformation campaigns on social media platforms from the BNP affiliated groups against Transparency International, TIB, and its officials.”

He concluded, “TIB stands firm in its commitment to democracy and good governance, opposing anti-democratic forces. The ongoing opportunistic hostilities from the two major political parties only served to highlight the neutrality of our organization.”