Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said there was no scope of dropping the provision for presidential clemency for convicted war criminals.
She made the remark addressing a press conference at the PM’s official residence Gonobhobon organised to make the outcomes of her recent United Arab Emirates (UAE) visit public.
She also blasted the European Union (EU) for expressing concerns over the death sentence handed down to war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami.
Hasina said the EU expressed concern when the [Bangladesh] government tried war criminals, who had committed crimes against humanity, at a time when some of its member countries had also been holding trials for human rights violation during the Second World War.
“Why did they [EU] not express concerns when Israelis were killing women and children in Gaza?” Hasina said in reply to a question from a journalist.
Asked whether there was any thinking about the demand for amending laws to erase the provision for presidential clemency for convicted war criminals, Hasina said there was no scope for it.
The PM did not make any clear comment when a journalist asked her about the BNP’s demand for a mid-term election.
Hasina said: “What would have happened if there was no election [on January 5]? [Do not forget that] we had to recover from the 1/11 shocks...Since we have already had an election, there will also be another election, that too will be arranged at the fixed time. It does not matter who understands what. A government has the power to hold an election anytime. Let people understand whatever they want. I cannot explain anything.”
Referring to her much publicised telephone conversation with BNP chief Khaleda Zia, the PM said her previous government did everything possible to bring the opposition to the election.
“Even I called Khaleda Zia. They [BNP] refused and tried to foil the poll by creating mayhem across the country,” she said.
UAE visit outcomes
Refuting BNP’s claim that her UAE visit has failed, the PM said it was an observation from a party that had failed everywhere.
“They failed to participate in the last election....They tried to foil the poll but failed....They threatened launching a movement but failed....So, it is natural that they will see everything as failure,” she said.
“They turned the country into a failed state but our government is taking country forward. Let them continue to find the government’s flaws and let me take the country forward,” she said.
She claimed that her UAE visit had been successful because the middle eastern country had agreed to reopen Bangladesh manpower market soon.
She said the government would send female workers to the UAE free of cost. “So, there is no need to give money to the brokers by selling valuable assets.”
In response to a separate query, the premier said she would say goodbye to politics after the turning the country into a middle income one.
“I firmly believe that we will become a middle income country before the 2021 time frame that we have set,” she said.
JMB in West Bengal
Regarding the suspected operation of banned Islamist militant outfit Jama’atul Mujhideen Bangladesh (JMB) in India’s West Bengal, Hasina said the government in India and Bangladesh had been working on it under an agreement on information exchange.
“There were militant activities here, but our government drove them out. Now they have taken shelter in India. Both governments have been exchanging information in this regard,” she said.