Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) - Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Tuesday that the government will not interfere in the upcoming national parliamentary election.
“So we hope all parties including BNP will join the next election,” he added.
The minister made the remarks at a discussion commemorating Bangabandhu held at Aparajeyo Bangla premises of Dhaka University (DU).
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) DU unit organized the programme to observe the 43th national mourning day.
Tofail, however, cautioned that the government will take strict action if anyone resorts to destabilise the country in the name of hartal and blockade centering the upcoming election.
“We hope all parties will join the upcoming election. But BNP’s existence will be at a stake if it does not join the next general election,” said Tofail, also a leader of ruling Awami League.
Commerce minister said, “The election will be held on time as per the Constitution. The Election Commission will conduct the election with efficiency, honesty and devotion under this ruling party.”
Presided over by BCL DU Unit president Sanjit Chandra Das, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Prof ASM Maksud Kamal, BCL central president Md Rezanul Huq Chowdhury Shovon, general secretary Golam Robani and BCL DU unit general secretary Saddam Hossain, among others, spoke at the programme.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said the next election is a big challenge for Awami League, not for BNP, as people will not cast votes for the ruling party.
“Facing people is Awami League’s main challenge. They’ve started resorting to all evil designs sensing that people will boycott them. They’re importing EVMs and asking police to arrest our leaders and activists,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, the BNP leader further said, “If you want to hold a meaningful election, free all (political prisoners). It’s their (AL’s) main challenge to resist people and they won’t be able to do that.”
Fakhrul warned that the country’s people will not accept the repression and suppression on them. “They’ll surely turn around and defeat the current evil force.”
He said people will again take to the streets against the misrule and repressive acts of the government. “And then the government’s house of cards will fall apart.”
The BNP leader also hinted to announce tougher programmes in the days to come to have their chairperson Khaleda Zia freed from jail.
“We’re regularly observing various programmes demanding her (Khaleda’s) release. Tougher programmes are coming again. You’ll see such programmes at the right time,” he observed.
Replying to a question, Fakhrul said the next general election is very important one as it will determine the fate of democracy in Bangladesh.
He said the 11th parliamentary polls will not be acceptable if BNP does not join it. “So, the government has a major role in ensuring an acceptable and meaningful national election.”
The BNP leader also said the media and the civil society need to play a constructive role in restoring democracy, and people’s voting rights and holding the next polls in a credible and acceptable manner.
He voiced frustration over the role on media in strengthening democracy. “It’s regrettable that we had a press conference on an important issue yesterday (Monday). But most print media, except one or two, didn’t highlight it. We know the media are being controlled from behind the scene, but people are watching everything.”
Referring to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s remarks that BNP’s existence will be at stake, Fakhrul said BNP will not get destroyed under any circumstance as it is a favourite party of the people of Bangladesh.
“BNP has been in the current position overcoming many obstacles and adverse situations. So, this party can’t be eliminated,” he observed.
He said the government must release Khaleda Zia from jail, install a non-party polls-time administration, create a level-playing field by dissolving parliament and reconstitution of the Election Commission and deploy army to ensure BNP’s participation in the election.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said BNP’s demand for the trial of August 21 grenade attack is a ‘cruel joke’ about the barbaric and brutal killing.
“The patrons of August-21 killers want the trial of the killing. The BNP leaders want justice for the August 21-killing incident. How can you describe it? It’s a cruel joke about the barbaric and brutal killing incident of history,” he said.
Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the comment while speaking at the concluding discussion of the month-long programme of the Mourning Month of August at Mohanagar Natya Mancha. Awami Jubo League organised the programme.
On Monday, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference said, “As in the past, we still condemn and protest the brutal incident of August 21 grenade on an Awami League rally in 2004. We want the trial and exemplary punishment of those real offenders responsible for the attack to stop the recurrence of such a ruthless incident.”
Reacting to Fakhrul’s comment, Quader said it is BNP’s dirty politics. “They (BNP leaders) can kill on one hand and seek justice for it on the other and they can indulge in corruption and seek justice for it. Even, they can pretend to be innocent after being convicted.”
He alleged that Awami League’s ‘masked enemies’ are now very active to spread propaganda against the government. “We’ve veiled enemies. It’s the masked enemies, not BNP-Jamaat, are now very active. They’re spreading rumours and propaganda. Their existence is there both in the civil society and the mass media.”
Quader urged the ruling party leaders and activists to remain united as the conspirators are trying to oust the Sheikh Hasina-led government by creating chaos in the country.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the citizens of the country, irrespective of their religions, will enjoy their equal rights as there is nothing like ‘you and me’.
"You, the people of the Hindu community, will live here with your own rights. This soil also belongs to you…there’s nothing called you and me here, all citizens of Bangladesh have their own equal rights," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while exchanging greetings with members of the Hindu community at her official residence Ganobhaban on the occasion of Janmashtami.
“In every sphere of life -- socioeconomic, education, healthcare and religious rituals -- all have the equal rights," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as the head of the government it is her responsibility to ensure the equal rights for all. "And we’re performing our duty."
Referring to her government's philosophy of ‘religion is for individuals and festivals are for all’, she said the people of all faiths had fought shoulder-to-shoulder in 1971 and embraced martyrdom to liberate the country.
During the great Liberation War, the Prime Minister said, people from all religions under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman participated in it and sacrificed their blood for the country’s independence.
"People brought Independence in lieu of their blood…so, this country is for the people of all religions," she said.
Giving importance to maintaining communal and religious harmony in the country, Hasina said every religion preaches peace, fraternity and tolerance and it is the important aspect of religion.
Describing the leaders of the Hindu community as the sons of this soil, the Prime Minister called upon them to work together to develop Bangladesh with the Liberation War spirit.
Pointing out the law enacted by her government for the Hindu community similar to ‘heba law’ of the Muslim community, Hasina said her government has done this to facilitate the transfer of property of the Hindu community members to their close relatives without any tax.
She said the government always tried to make sure that every festival of all religions is observed in a festive mood. "This is the beauty of Bangladesh where people from all religions participated in every religious festival."
The Prime Minister extended her greetings to members of the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashtami saying Sri Krishna had preached the message of love, justice and affection which all should promote.
Hasina said Lord Krishna was born to establish brotherhood among the people through ‘Checking the wicks and nurturing the goods’.
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman, leaders of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Committee, Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee also spoke on the occasion.
Leaders of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee greeted the Prime Minister by presenting bouquets to her.
Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15, 1975 carnage.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – The leaders of Jukta Front and Gano Forum sat in a meeting here on Tuesday night and discussed various issues for foraging a greater national unity ahead of the next general election.
The meeting began around 8pm at Gano Forum president Dr Kamal Hossain’s Bailey Road residence and continued till 9:45pm.
Apart from Kamal Hossain, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, its general secretary Abdul Manna, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rob, its general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna and pro-BNP intellectual Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, among others, joined the meeting.
Contacted, B Chowdhury’s press secretary Jahangir Alam said Jukta Front presented a seven-point proposal on which the national unity will be forged.
He said the meeting accepted the proposals and agreed to make the unity based on those.
The proposals include forging a unity of all like-mined, non-communal, democratic and pro-liberation parties except Jamaat-e-Islami and other anti-liberation ones, in the national interests, ensuring freedom of speech, press freedom and freedom of association and meetings, establishing the rule of law, ensuring the independence of the judiciary and holding a neutral and acceptable election.
It also proposed ensuring a balance between parliament and the government to stop political obstinacy, announcing an election roadmap through discussion with political parties before the announcement of the election schedule, dissolving parliament and revoking the cabinet, and not arresting activists of any political party until the end of the polls and releasing all the students and political prisoners before the announcement of the election schedule.
Earlier on August 20, Dr Kamal Hossain and Jukta Front leaders had a meeting at B Chowdhury’s Baridhara residence.
The Kamal Hossain-led Gano Forum and newly formed Jukta Front, led by B Chowdhury, have long been trying to forge a national unity to hold the next polls in a fair and credible manner and bring a positive change in politics.