A six-member team of Canadian Senators this week visited Bangladesh after condemning the communal riots in the country last week.The Canadian delegation led by Senator Russ Hiebert met with the Bangladeshi Speaker of Parliament Abdul Hamid and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Tuesday.
Last Friday, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird urged the country to end the growing communal divisions and resolve the conflict peacefully.
Since the communal riots began last February, more than 60 people were killed and hundreds of houses in the country, vandalized.
The attack started following the death sentence of Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami party on charges of crimes committed during the war of independence that separated the country from Pakistan in 1971.
"Canada is deeply concerned by the escalating and deadly violence that has injured thousands and claimed the lives of scores of Bangladeshis. We urge all parties to end the violence, to work toward peacefully resolving the conflict and to reverse the growing divisions in Bangladeshi society," John Baird said in a press release last week.
The six-member Canadian delegation urged the Bangladeshi Parliament speaker to resolve the current political situation in the country. Local media reported that the speaker briefed about the importance of BNP's joining of Parliament as the party has been boycotting the Parliament for a long time, demanding the release of its political leaders in the jail.
"We want to return the parliament but our path is blocked by the government. We cannot take part in the house keeping our chairperson Khaleda Zia in the dock and our acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in jail," said BNP chief Zainul Abdin Farroque late January, according to the independent newspaper.
"We believe in democracy. So Parliament is the centre of all our activities," Abdul Hamid told the Senators according to the local media.
"The people and democracy would benefit if the main opposition party joins Parliament and raises issues," the speaker told the Canadian delegation.
The six-member delegation spent around an hour with the Chief opposition party Khaleda Zia late Tuesday.
The Canadian senators also discussed a wide range of topics concerning the two countries.
Senator Russ Hiebert was accompanied by Senator Mobina Jaffer, Nancy Ruth, Jinny Sims, Ed. Holder, Elizabeth Kingston and Canada's envoy to Dhaka Heather Cruden.
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