Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled out any possibility of holding election talks with BNP for bringing the party in the next parliamentary elections.
She said on Thursday that it is not the responsibility of the government to try to bring any party in election; rather it is the choice of the party concerned to or not to participate in polls.
Addressing a press conference at Ganabhaban in the capital, the prime minister said, “The parties, which believe in democracy, will take part in the election. It is their internal decision whether they will contest it or not.”
Her remarks came amid opposition BNP’s demand for arranging election talks to hold the next national election under a neutral administration.
As per the constitutional provision, the election shall be held under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.
The prime minister convened the press conference to the outcome of her Cambodia visit.
Referring to her phone call to BNP chief Khaleda Zia before the last election, Sheikh Hasina, also president of Awami League, said people witnessed her misbehaviour.
“I made a phone call for the sake of people. But the way she behaved was unprecedented,” she added.
The AL chief also said she will not take any move this time as BNP will have to participate in the election for its own interest.
Recalling the heinous activities carried out by the BNP-Jamaat combine to foil the last election, the prime minister issued a note of warning that the people would not spare those who will carry out mayhem this time.
Referring to the Election Commission’s recent statement that they are ready to hold early polls, Sheikh Hasina ruled out its possibility.
“We are not in a dire situation that we will have to hold early election,” she said.
Mentioning that the BNP chief’s corruption, revealed in Saudi Arabia, the premier said her government will bring the corrupt to book.
Newspapers reported that Khaleda Zia had wealth over Tk 500 crore in Saudi Arabia.
Claiming that her government already brought back some siphoned-off money, she said the launderers will be put on trial under the existing law.
The premier sharply criticised the media for not giving wide coverage of Khaleda’s corruption news.
“We have not unearthed the news about the huge wealth of Khaleda Zia in Saudi Arabia. Why did you not publish the news with importance?” she posed a question.
The premier raised a question whether media owners take benefits from Khaleda Zia as they underplay the news report.
“You (people) show much interest if any corruption news of our family. What is our fault? Is it that we have made the country independent? Why does Khaleda Zia get mercy all the time?” she said.
Responding to a question about Khaleda’s remark that she forgave Sheikh Hasina for everything, the premier said what is the reason behind that Khaleda Zia forgave me.
“Did she forgive me as she failed to kill me through carrying out the 21 August grenade attack?” she said.
Bitterly criticising the BNP chief, the AL president said that whether she committed a crime that she would seek apology to her.
“Why did I seek an apology to her? Rather she should seek the apology to the nation for carrying out the 21 August grenade attack and killing of ASM Kibria along with scores of other Awami League leaders,” she said.
The premier said her government did not file any case against the BNP chief rather the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government filed a dozen of cases against her.
Responding to another question about the government’s attempt to bring BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, the AL president said the government took an initiative to bring him back.
“He is a convict. So, he must be brought back to the country one day,” she said, adding that her government has been running bilateral discussions with the United Kingdom to repatriate Tarique Rahman.
About US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Sheikh Hasina said such an announcement will jeopardise peace efforts initiated by the US itself.
“There has been a UN resolution of this and none will accept the announcement,” she added.
Referring to the 2000 peace effort moderated by former US President Bill Clinton, Hasina said, “It is the United States that started the effort to end the conflict. In fact, a Nobel Peace prize was awarded for it, and now they are jeopardising it.”
Calling on the Muslim world to unite against the unilateral decision, the premier said Palestinians have the rights for their own state.