Ruling out any chance of early election before 2019, prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the fans of militancy and terrorism who don’t want Bangladesh’s progress and development may want general elections before the schedule.
“So far the Awami League remains in power, the development of Bangladesh would get momentum. They may raise hue and cry for earlier election who don’t like this development,” she said.
The prime minister also said the next elections would be held as per the schedule and according to the constitution. “None should be worried about it.”
She said this at press conference at Bangladesh permanent mission at the UN in New York on Tuesday evening (local time).
The press conference was arranged to inform the outcome of the prime minister’s visit to New York to attend the 70th UN General Assembly session.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, state minister for foreign affairs Shariar Alam, members of PM’s entourage, permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN Abdul Momen and press secretary to the prime minister Ihsanul Karim were present.
Beyond the prime minister’s UN visit, the press conference was dominated by questions of expatriate journalists on current political and local issues.
Terming her visit to New York as a successful one, the prime minister said the UNGA has adopted the crucial post-2015 agenda, a very ‘pro people’ goal for sustainable development of the nations particularly poor ones. Besides, she held very successful bilateral meeting with India, Japan, the Netherlands and China.
Acknowledging the risk of international terrorism and militancy in Bangladesh, she said those people who plunged the country into politics of killing and coup have connection with international terrorism.
Hasina said Bangladesh reeled on conspiratorial politics of killing and coup after 1975. The government is implementing various programmes to free the nation from terrorism and militancy, she said.
“Certainly the war criminals and killers of Bangabandhu would try to create an unstable situation in the country and they are ceaselessly trying to do this. Against their evil practice, the government is making all efforts to keep a peaceful situation in the country,” she said.
Pointing out the recent murder of an Italian national in Dhaka, the prime minister said the government is trying to find out the culprits of the heinous murder. In this regard, she said, a BNP leader who is delivering misguiding statements on the sad murder would be interrogated, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, some stray incident always happen not only in Bangladesh but everywhere in the world. Even in New York City, she said two Awami League leaders were killed in broad daylight.
She said the government is taking all ample measures to contain terrorism and militancy. But BNP-Jamaat alliance denied taking part in the election and choose the path of killing people. BNP and Jamaat started politics of killing from February 2013 and they continued it till 2014. And again they started resorting to terrorism from January to March 2015.
Bangladesh would of course try those people who are responsible for burning people alive, no killer would be able to escape. “We will bring them to book whatever might be their position,” she said.
Replying to a question, the prime minister said, under the parliamentary system, the second largest party in parliament is the opposition party. It is the democratic system. “But in our country we have another party which didn’t contest the last election and stepped in militant and homicidal activities.”
She said they sometimes show their existence by setting fire to transports, and killing people alive, even children and women. “So if you believe in democracy, particularly parliamentary one, you should accept the second biggest party in the parliament as the opposition party.”
In the context of Bangladesh, “BNP and Jamaat are political parties, but they are militant and terrorist organisations. People would decide which will be the opposition party,” Sheikh Hasina said.
She said there are some people in Bangladesh who are out to create an abnormal situation by killing people. “The killers of course would try to create the abnormal situation.”
About the reported link of IS with the killing of Italian national in Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said a message from Chicago claimed linked of IS with the killing. But anybody from Bangladesh didn’t claim it so far. Our intelligence has no information like that.
Sheikh Hasina said there is certainly a strong force behind the killing. So they want to create a situation.
Sheikh Hasina said terrorism and militancy are not only happening in Bangladesh, it’s a global phenomenon.
The prime minister said Bangladesh believes in peace and certainly not in militancy. “We don’t want emergence of militants in Bangladesh. We are really very sad for the murder of a foreign national. It’s a pathetic incident.”
Sheikh Hasina expressed her surprise as some diplomatic missions in Dhaka gave ‘red alert’ to their nationals after the murder of Italian citizen in Dhaka. There is no justification of red alert, she said we saw no such red alert when Nazmul was killed in NY, she said.
“The US government didn’t announce a red alert when two Bangladesh nationals were killed in New York few years ago. Other diplomatic missions also didn’t issue any such alert to their citizens. I don’t know why diplomatic missions in Dhaka did this,” the PM said.
Hasina said, “I don’t see any reason for issuing the red alert to their citizens, I saw suspicious activities of a BNP leader after the murder. I think the clue of the murder would be revealed if the BNP leader is interrogated. I’ll take the measure after returning home”.
“We are still not clear why the Australian Cricket team is not coming to Bangladesh. However, both sides are discussing with the matter,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said in the past we have witnessed similar situation. Pakistan and India team played in Bangladesh. Even world cup cricket was hosted in Bangladesh. “It’s absolutely a matter of Australia why they suddenly decided not to visit Bangladesh,” she said.
Bangladesh hosted a number of sports events in the past with complete security and no untoward incident was happened. “Untoward incidents have taken place in many countries, but not in Bangladesh. Our law and order enforcement agencies and all concerned have enough expertise to ensure security of the players and our people are also very much conscious about this,” she said.
About the religious freedom, the prime minister said Bangladesh constitution allows equal rights to every citizen. People of every faith would observe their religion independently. Islam also says that, she said.
The prime minister said, “If anybody denies observing the religious rites it is his/her matter. But none can hurt the sentiment of the theists. If anybody does not have faith in religions, he/she would not observe. But, it’s unacceptable to hurt the religious sentiment of others. No should do this. In my eyes it’s the worst task”.
Sheikh Hasina said the government is trying to find way to stop such religious by taking measures in this regard. Otherwise such incident would continue, she said. Hurting the religious sentiment of others is a violation of constitutional rights of a people. We must have to take measures to stop degrading the religion. Otherwise such things will continue to occur, she added.
In reply to a question, the prime minister said the court will decide whether Begum Zia and her son Tarique would be punished or not in the corruption and grenade attack cases. However, she said, she is always in favour of punishment of the perpetrators.
Source: Prothom Alo