Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reaffirmed that the next national election will be held in due time and no one can stop it.
She denounced the recent terror acts carried out by BNP-Jamaat clique in the name of movement and said that no dialogue will be held with the killers.
“No dialogue or talks will be held with the killers and the people of Bangladesh also don’t want it… the next national election will be held in due time and none can stop it,” she said.
Addressing a press conference to brief the media at her official Ganabhaban residence about the outcome of her recently concluded visit to Brussels in Belgium from October 24-26 to attend Global Gateway Forum, the premier also said the next national election will be held following the same procedure the country followed during the 2018 general polls.
About the polls-time government, she said the full cabinet will continue working till the next election.
“The cabinet will do their routine work after announcement of the election schedule as per the RPO and the ministers will not be entitled to government facilities during their election campaign,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of ruling Awami League, castigated the recent terrorist activities of BNP in the name of movement, in which one police constable was brutally killed and other police personnel and 45 journalists were inhumanly tortured.
“They (BNP) also attacked the police hospital and killed people there like the Israeli (attack on Palestine),” she said, adding, “There is no difference between BNP and Israel as the brutality of the attack was the same.”
The Prime Minister said that BNP has proved again that it is a terrorist party by carrying out such large-scale terrorist activities.
She noted that the BNP doesn’t want an election, rather they want to create an unusual environment through terrorism. “They’re the terrorists,” she said, adding that they should be taught a lesson.
About holding their trial under special tribunals, Sheikh Hasina said, “We will hold discussions to bring those engaged in such criminal acts to book within the quickest possible time.”
“They have to face the consequences of such criminal acts if they do not stop the heinous acts,” she added.
She further said instruction has already been issued to arrest the culprits involved in the terror attacks.
Earlier, the Prime Minister in her written speech describes her Brussels visit as “very successful”, saying, “The partnership with the European Union (EU) has reached a new height during the visit.”
She said, “A new door has opened in terms of investment in Bangladesh’s renewable energy, connectivity, education and research, digital infrastructure and medical treatment equipment manufacturing under the Global Gateway.”
She took part in the plenary session of the Global Gateway Forum and urged the global leaders to stop the war and arms race and channelize the money saved from arms production for health and education of the children globally.
The Prime Minister also said that Bangladesh’s bilateral relations and the areas of cooperation with Belgium and Luxembourg will deepen and extended further.
She said Bangladesh has been assured of cooperation to continue the business facilities in the European Union during her Brussels visit.
The Prime Minister said during her visit Bangladesh signed several agreements with European Investment Bank and European Commission under which Bangladesh will get EUR 477 as loan and grants in renewable energy and social sectors.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, MP, Deputy Leader of the House Begum Matia Chowdhury, AL Joint General Secretary and Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP, PM’s Private Industries and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid were present on the dais.
Alongside them, Awami League Presidium Members Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Kazi Zafarullah were also present there.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press conference.
While talking about the function of election time-government, in replying to a query, the Prime Minister said that they will follow the same system practiced in Australia, England, Canada, India and other countries having parliamentary democracy.
In 2018, she said, they also followed the same system although a poll-time cabinet was formed in 2014 comprising representatives of different parties.
She said the daily activities (routine works) of the government will not be halted rather those will continue during the poll-time government but no minister can utilize the official facilities during the election campaign.
“We’re not going to form an election-time government, rather the existing cabinet will continue routine works to run the country during the polls,” she said, adding that work of the government is hindered if the size of cabinet is made smaller which was experienced during the 2014 election-time government.
Replying to a query at the press conference, the Prime Minister said BNP won’t be able to stop the next general election by resorting to violence as they couldn’t thwart the 2014 and 2018 polls.
“They won’t be able to stop the election in such a way (through unleashing violence). They couldn’t stop the elections in 2013 and 2018. This time, they won’t be able to do so. Insha-Allah, the election will be held in time,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said those who burn buses will be identified, arrested and punished. “I think the hands they use to set a bus on fire should be burned immediately. If so, they will get a lesson otherwise not,” she said, answering the question.
She expected that the BNP would stop the violence. “If they don’t stop, they will face dire consequences for it,” she said, adding that these things won’t be allowed to go without punishment.
In reply to another question, Sheikh Hasina said BNP has again proved that it is a terrorist party by resorting to violence on October 28. “BNP-Jamaat alliance is terrorist. BNP is a terrorist party, which they proved again,” she said, mentioning that the Canadian court earlier called them so several times.
The premier said BNP started to carry out political programmes in healthy manners (in the recent days) as the government didn’t hinder their programmes. “But, they would get nothing other than public indignation after the October 28 incident,” she said, strongly condemning the attacks on police and journalists by BNP men on that day.
She said that their (BNP) habit wouldn’t change no matter how much good behavior the government shows to them. “I think they don’t want an election, rather they want to create an abnormal situation,” she said.
Mentioning that their character is to create sufferings for the people, Sheikh Hasina said, “BNP is a terrorist organization. I think now that we should give the terrorists a lesson which they deserve. So, we’ll do it.”
Answering another question regarding the remarks of the US Ambassador for holding dialogue with opposition parties, Sheikh Hasina said she will hold talks with the opposition only if the US President Joe Biden sits for a dialogue with former US president Donald Trump.
“Those who say even after killing…, dialogue must be held. With whom to hold dialogue? Is Biden having a dialogue with Mr. Trump? The day Biden will hold dialogues with Trump, I will do it,” she added.
The Prime Minister questioned: “Dialogue with whom? Who is the opposition? Opposition parties are those who have seats in parliament. Outsiders (those who are not in parliament) are not seen as opposition parties in America either. What will they say to Trump? They are their opposition. Anyway, we are not in their system.”
In this context, she also raised questions about the incident of violence surrounding the BNP’s programme in Dhaka on October 28 and said, “Why did he (US envoy Peter Haas) not question when these people were killed? When Hero Alam was assaulted during a by-election, they demanded justice. Why didn’t they demand justice when the police was killed and journalists were attacked?”
Sheikh Hasina said that the way the police were beaten and killed, how there will be the meeting with the murderers. “What is the discussion? Dialogue with those who can kill people this way, who can destroy development activities?” she said, mentioning that even the people of his country (US) will not want dialogue with murderers rather people hate them (BNP).
She wanted to know from the journalists whether they have received any sympathy or statement from the international journalist organizations such as Reporters Without Border and others for the attack on journalists by BNP. “Ask them, why are they mum now?”
Questioning the role of various international human rights organizations regarding the incidents of October 28, she said, “Why are they silent now? Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are now silent, why? Where have their human rights feelings gone? The Prime Minister also questioned why intellectuals of the country are silent.
She opined that journalists should ask them for their silence.
Sheikh Hasina also wanted to know why the local organizations who earn by selling their intellectuality are silent now. “I ask a question through you (journalists) where have they (local intellectuals) gone? Have they become unintelligent.”
The Prime Minister asked the garment workers to refrain from violence while negotiation continues over re-fixing their minimum wages.
She said her government on three occasions raised the minimum wages to Taka 8,300 from only Taka 1,600 in just 14 years.
Sheikh Hasina expressed dissatisfaction as the workers have suddenly taken to the streets and engaged in violence and arson attacks on factories when discussion continued over raising the minimum wages from December next.
Mentioning that it’s very unfortunate that two lives were already lost there, she asked them to refrain from such activities it is they who will finally suffer due to the destruction in their workplaces.
About the price-hike of essentials, the premier said she has already directed to take action against the commodity hoarders, not the retailers.
She said the commodity prices are raised artificially. The hoarders don’t want to reduce the prices, though the commodities start getting rotten, she added.
“So, I asked for action against the hoarders, not for going to (retail) shops. I’ve already issued this directive which is being done so that the commodities can’t be hoarded,” she added.
In the function, a video was screened focusing on the mayhem unleashed by BNP-Jamaat on October 28 and 29 last throughout the country.