Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the next national election will be held keeping with the constitution and schedule, irrespective of which party is participating or boycotting it, reports UNB.
“It is BNP’s political decision whether they want to take part in the election or not. We have nothing to do about it,” the premier said while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.
The press conference was organized to brief reporters about the outcomes of her recent official visit to Italy and Vatican City.
Hasina said those who have faith in democracy and the voting rights of people, and have confidence and trust in people, will join the election.
She mentioned that BNP did not participate in the last general election. "If any party doesn't join it this time as well, then what can we do!"
Recalling the mayhem unleashed by the BNP-Jamaat clique during the last election, she said they could not resist the election that time. "They won't be able to resist the election this time either."
She heavily criticized BNP for dropping Section 7 from its charter and making Tarique Rahman acting chief of the party, after a special court in Dhaka sentenced Khaleda Zia to five-year imprisonment in a graft case.
“Don’t they [BNP] have any leader (except Tarique), who could lead the party, that they had to resort to a convicted, corrupt person?” the prime minister asked.
Tarique, currently residing in London, was also convicted by the same court in the case. He left the country during the last caretaker government regime.
Talking about the recent stance of BNP that it will not participate in the election without Khaleda Zia, recently convicted in a graft case, the prime minister said the verdict was not given by her.
"The court has pronounced the verdict, and the case was filed during the caretaker government," she said.
Highlights of the press conference
On the Digital Security Act
“If the provisions are not misused, there is nothing to worry about.”
On question leak
“Questions papers were leaked earlier as well, but it wasn’t publicized as much. I have learned that most questions papers were leaked 20 minutes or an hour before the exams. Tell me how talented are these students that they can solve the answers within this time?...
“I was advised to block the internet, but I don’t believe that can actually solve anything. We need to block the overall digital network to do that... Give us the name of at least one person who is leaking questions, we will surely take action.”
“The minister or secretary [Education minister and the secretary of the concerned ministry] have not leaked the questions. So why should they resign?”
On the status of Rohingya repatriation
“We are developing an island [Bhasan Char] for the Rohingyas.”
“Myanmar is our neighbouring country so we do not want to harm our relationship. Since they have created the crisis, the onus of solving it also is on them. We have been discussing and reached a consensus, a joint committee [joint working group] has already been formed. Also our foreign minister has been discussing the issue with five countries which shares borders with Myanmar.”
On Khaleda’s facilities in prison
"It’s not much, we have only allowed a domestic help. What will we do if she demands more?”
On international pressure after Khaleda's verdict
“We have not received any phone call this time. People do not make phone calls for issues relating to corruption.”
Sections of this article were first published on banglatribune.com