Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the people will decide who would form the next government in Bangladesh.
"The issue of election is democracy... It is the own decision of a party if it will take part in it or not," she told a crowded press conference at Ganabhaban in Dhaka Wednesday afternoon in an apparent reference to BNP.
She said: "I cannot interfere in any party's (internal) decision, (and) I cannot tell anyone that I will take you to the jail, if you skip the polls... So it fully depends on them."
The prime minister's comments came in response to a question that whether the government would take any initiative to bring the BNP in the 11th national election, during the press conference organized to brief the media about the outcome of her recent visits to Saudi Arabia, the UK and Australia.
Hasina, also the Awami League chief, added that the re-election of her party to power was the people's will, and, "if people think the development spree should continue and they do not want to see the destruction similar to 2001, they will surely vote for Awami League this time as well.”
‘Tri-nation visit brightened Bangladesh's image’
Talking about her visits to Saudi Arabia, the UK and Australia, Hasina described them as very important and said she believed the trips brightened further Bangladesh's image in the international arena.
The prime minister had attended the concluding ceremony of a joint grand military exercise named "Gulf Shield-1" in Saudi Arabia's Dammam at Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's invitation.
She said her UK visit to join the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was of high importance from the perspective of member countries and particularly Britain against the backdrop of Brexit.
She said the Rohingya crisis had drawn extra attention in the summit and it called for a halt to all violence, restoration of normality and accountability of the perpetrators for gross violations of human rights in Myanmar's Rakhaine state through an independent investigation.
The prime minister said her Australian counterpart Malcom Turnbull's invitation took her there to join the Global Summit of Women 2018 where she was conferred with the Global Women's Leadership Award for her leadership in expansion of women education and creating women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and the Asia-Pacific region.
At the function, dedicating her award to the women of the world, she had called for mobilizing a new global alliance to promote women rights and empowerment, and placed a four-point proposal.
The premier said Turnbull also highly appreciated Bangladesh's role in sheltering the Rohingyas during a bilateral meeting.
Talking about the Rohingya crisis, the prime minister admitted that there would be economical pressure on Bangladesh due to the over one million refugees from Myanmar currently living in Bangladesh.
"For that, we have taken a Tk2,500 crore project, and we have already started the work. But we are getting support and cooperation from all, and that is why there will be no big problem for us," she said.
She, however, also admitted that as this issue was now at the beginning and for that all were coming with assistance.
"It will be deemed down in the course of time, and the pressure will be mounted on us. But we are taking preparation gradually for that situation," Hasina said.
She added that the government’s ultimate target was to repatriate the Rohingyas to their homeland as soon as possible.
Regarding the recent visit of a United Nations Security Council delegation in Bangladesh, she said they were very much positive about the Rohingyas and their repatriation.
The prime minster also said some UNSC permanent members also expressed their willingness to construct homes for the Rohingyas after their repatriation to Myanmar.