Friday, June 14, 2024

Oppn must withdraw hartal for talks, says Hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, on Sunday, tagged withdrawal of hartal, with her offer to the opposition for a dialogue on poll-time government.
“The door for a dialogue is still open. But you have to withdraw the hartal. You have to commit to the nation that you would not play with the lot of the people, by calling hartal again,” the Premier said, while addressing a rally at Suhrawardi Udyan, marking Jail Killing Day.
Referring to her all-party poll-time government, the Prime Minister urged the opposition leader to place a list of opposition nominees for the poll-time cabinet, along with the desired portfolios.
She also directed her party activists to remain alert, so that ‘BNP-Jamaat’ activists are not able to unleash terror in the country, in the name of a movement.
Reiterating her firm stance to hold the next general elections under an all-party election-time government, the Prime Minister said, “Sit for talks and discuss the formation of the all-party government and tell which ministries do you (Khaleda) want?”
“We want to hold the next parliamentary polls under an all-party government, to make it free, fair and acceptable to all, so that no one can raise any question about the elections,” Hasina, also the president of the ruling Awami League, said.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated that the next general elections must be held in line with the country’s constitutional provisions, in due time, to continue the development of the country. “No one should be able to foil the elections,” she added.
She noted that by calling hartals, the opposition leader would gain nothing except the lives of the ordinary people.
The mammoth rally, that started at 2pm, turned into a human sea. AL leaders said several hundreds of buses, carrying party activists to the rally, could not reach the venue, due to huge traffic congestion.
Claiming that the next general election will be held in a free, fair and credible manner, the Premier said that over 5,777 elections have been held transparently under the supervision of the present government. “No one has been able to raise any question over the credibility of those elections,” she added.
“BNP-backed candidates recently won five city corporations elections, which proved that the government is able to hold free and fair elections, and, similarly, the next general election would also be free and fair, under the present government,” Hasina pointed out.
Terming the present Election Commission as stronger than any other commission in the past, the Premier said that the Election Commission was formed taking opinions from all political parties, including the main opposition BNP, after a search committee was formed under an initiative of late president Zillur Rahman.
About the ongoing war crimes trial, the Prime Minister said that her government is committed to try and execute war criminals, as this was an electoral pledge of the Awami League. In the meantime, several verdicts on war-time offences have been pronounced and BNP chief Khaleda Zia wanted to save war criminals who were found guilty.
Referring to the much-talked about 1/11, the Prime Minister alleged that BNP chief Khaleda Zia was responsible for creating 1/11 in the country, in a bid to gain power through the back-door.
“Why do you want a caretaker government? Have you forgotten the situation of 1/11, would you like to go to jail again?” Hasina asked Khaleda.
About the opposition’s 48-hour ultimatum, and Hefazat-e-Islam’s Dhaka blockade programme on May 5 and 6, the Prime Minister said, “We had offered the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia the chance to sit for a dialogue, to resolve the political stalemate, but, she issued a 48-hour ultimatum. And, now, when I invited her to dinner at Ganabhaban, she gave calls for 60-hour hartals. Actually, she doesn’t want a dialogue.”
At the same time, Hasina alleged that the BNP-Jamaat-Shibir and Hefazat men burnt hundreds of copies of the Holy Quran, on the night ofMay 5, apart from setting fire to the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, on the directives of Khaleda Zia.
“Those who indulge in politics in the name of Islam, how can they serve the religion by burning copies of the Holy Book, and setting fire to mosques,” she asked.
Hasina alleged that the Opposition chief, her son, Tarique Rahman, and her cabinet members, had plotted to kill her, by hurling grenades at a rally in the city’s Bangabandhu area, on August 21, 2004. The BNP-Jamaat government had conspired to kill her on several occasions, but they did not succeed. “If the Almighty Allah wants to save someone, no one can kill him/her,” Hasina said.
Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, the deputy leader in Parliament, presided over the rally, which was addressed, among others, by AL advisory council member Suranjit Sengupta, LGRD minister Sayed Ashraful Islam, agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, Tofail Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, environment minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, food minister Dr Abdur Razzak, and Mahbubul Alam Hanif.

-With The Independent input

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