Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned that the BNP and its allies will face harsh consequences if they harm people in the name of movement.
She made the remark during a media conference at her official residence Gonobhobon in the capital yesterday, organised to make the outcomes of her recent visit to Italy public.
Referring to what she said were “killings” by the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance in the name of resisting the January 5 election, Hasina said: “We were going through a transition at that time [January]. An interim government was in power. They [BNP-Jamaat alliance] will not be able to do what they did back then. I can give that assurance to the people of the country. Just let them harm a single person of my country [and they will see what happens].”
Assuring that the government would stand beside them, the premier urged the people of the country to resist anyone who tried to “create mayhem.”
In reply to a query about BNP’s longstanding demand for a political dialogue, Hasina said it was not possible for her to sit with people, who she said had killed Bangabandhu and plotted the August 21 grenade attack.
“Why are you repeatedly asking for a dialogue? Will you be able to sit with those who killed you family members?...Please, do not add salt to injury by proposing a dialogue,” she shot back at the reporter.
“What did the BNP give you? Why are you showing sympathy to them? Why are you [journalists] so eager about a dialogue?
“The BNP do not believe in democracy and I think the reporter who asked for a dialogue is no different. On one hand, you demand trial of war criminals and on the other you show eagerness about a dialogue with the BNP, who sheltered the war criminals,” the premier said.
She also claimed that the recent elections of Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury as the chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury as the president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union have proved that the international community had extended full support to the government.
“Global leaders have no objection with the January 5 poll as none of the democratic countries has raised any question,” she said.
She said: “The recent election of Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) chairperson and Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP as the president of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) have proved that they have extended their support to the Awami League government.”
Regarding the shutdown called by some Islamic parties demanding Latif Siddique’s arrest, Hasina said: “As a responsible government, we have willingly taken every possible step against him...We would have arrested him if he were within our reach. How can we arrest a person who is not in the country?...There is no logic behind the hartal...We have issued a show-cause notice to him and he has replied. Our party [Awami League] will make a decision in this regard on Friday [today].”
When reminded that the hartal coincided with BNP chief Khaleda
Zia’s scheduled appearance before a court in corruption cases, the premier said: “If she is not guilty then why is she scared of facing the court?
She must give up the mentality of a fugitive.”