'The anti-drug drive will continue until the country gets rid of the drug abuse problem'
Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP, will be able to garner popular support in its favour if the party backs the ongoing countrywide anti-narcotics drive, said Health Minister Mohammad Nasim.
His remark comes amid criticism, particularly from rights groups, for the aggressive crackdown that has been marred by widespread allegations of human rights abuses.
"The war on drugs is apolitical. People from all walks of life support the anti-drug drive. BNP should also support it. If they do so, their acceptance with the electorate will increase," he said.
Nasim, also a presidium member of the ruling Awami League, was speaking at a press conference at party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s political office in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, yesterday.
The spokesman for the Awami League-led 14-party alliance also said their political bloc extended full support to the government for the operation “aimed at purging the country of the curse of drugs.”
The prime minister will curb substance abuse, just as she has successfully stamped out militancy and terrorism in Bangladesh, Nasim said.
"The anti-drug drive will continue until the country gets rid of the drug abuse problem.”
Over 130 people, mostly suspected drug peddlers, have been killed and over 13,000 others arrested, since the government launched the crackdown on drugs early last month.
However, replying to a question about the possible deployment of the army during the much-hyped 11th parliamentary polls due in December, he said the Defence Ministry would take the final decision in this regard as per the law.
Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda told an event that the army would be deployed during the polls and suggested BNP prepare to join the elections.
As the government turned a deaf ear to BNP’s repeated calls for dissolving parliament before the 10th general elections and holding it under a non-political administration, the Opposition and its allies boycotted the polls held on January 5, 2014 amid widespread violence and a low turnout.
Among others, Dilip Barua of Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal, Gano Azadi League President SK Shikder, and Awami League Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak, and Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap were also present at the briefing.