Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday raised a question about the motive for Jatiya Oikya Front’s announcement of continuing movement despite talks with the ruling Awami League-led alliance.
“They announced action programmes when dialogue is on. They have joined talks and at the same time announced movement. What kind of talks is it?” she said.Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, raised the question while addressing a discussion held at Krishibid Institution, marking the Jail Killing day.
The premier said she cannot understand the role of Jatiya Oikya Front, a combine of new political parties, including the BNP. “I don’t know how the nation will take their move.”
Amid the Election Commission’s preparations for announcing schedule for the next parliamentary polls, the Awami League started holding talks with political parties on November 1.
On the same day, an EC delegation led by Chief Election Commissioner KM Nural Huda met President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban.
Emerging from the meeting, the CEC told reporters that they will take a decision on announcement of the polls schedule on November 4.
The prime minister said at the Saturday discussion that she is holding discussions with political parties on polls for the greater national interest.“Ahead of the polls, Oikya Front gave me a letter seeking time for talks and I accepted their proposal. Despite busy schedules, we’re holding talks. And we’ve already sat with Oikya Front and Jukta Front and will sit with others,” she said.
“The dialogue has been held in a healthy environment. We’ve assured them of meeting some of their demands,” she added.
The premier said despite BNP insulting her repeatedly, she agreed to sit for talks with leaders of that party for the greater interest of the people and for a participatory election.
“We can’t forget the insults. We’ve decided to go for the talks taking into consideration our responsibility to hold a free and fair election,” she added.
“We want to hold an election in a peaceful atmosphere so that people do not face any trouble or incidents like arson or bomb attack. We want people of the country to live in peace and exercise their franchise peacefully to form a government of their choice,” the premier said. The Awami League termed fruitful the talks with Oikya Front while the BNP, a major component of the alliance, are unhappy with the outcome of the dialogue.
Oikya Front leader Dr Kamal Hossain also said they did not get any specific guidelines at the talks for solution to the ongoing political tension over the next polls.
They also announced continuing with their movement to realise its seven-point demand, including release of Khaleda Zia and dissolution of parliament for a credible election.
During the dialogue with Oikya Front leaders, the ruling side led by Awami League president Sheikh Hasina termed some of their demands unconstitutional.
Khaleda Zia has been suffering jail term after a Dhaka court sentenced her to 17 years’ imprisonment in two corruption cases filed during the last army-backed caretaker government regime.
Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman has also been awarded imprisonment for different terms in several cases, including the August 21 grenade attack case.
Addressing the discussion organized the Awami League, the premier said she urged the Oikya Front leaders to give her a list of political prisoners.
“We have not arrested anyone on political grounds. If we wanted, we would have arrested Khaleda Zia in 2015 for burning people to death. So, we didn’t arrest anybody on political grounds,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina claimed that her government did not make any interference in the case against Khaleda Zia.
“The case continued for 10 years. If the government had any evil plan, such a long time would not be needed to dispose of the case,” the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina also said her government does not have any role over the release of Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.
“Country’s judiciary is independent. Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman have been sentenced by court,” she said.
The premier claimed that both Khaleda Zia and Tarqiue Rahman have been proved corrupt internationally.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has given deposition against Tarique for his corruption. It is also ready to give deposition against Khaleda Zia in several cases,” she said.