Dhaka, Sept 2 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said there is no doubt that the next general election will be held in a free and fair manner.
“There’s no doubt the election will be free and neutral… we’re not here to rig votes,” she said while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban.
The press conference was arranged to brief the media about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to Nepal for attending the 4th Bimstec summit.
“We’re working for people. If people vote us, we’ll be there in power again, otherwise not. I repeatedly said it. I mean what I say,” Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said the election must be held (in time) and no one can resist it. “No one has the capability to foil the election.”
About BNP’s demand for Khaleda’s release, Hasina said the BNP Chairperson can be freed from jail either by the court or through presidential clemency.
“The government has nothing to do with it…she (Khaleda) has either to go to court or seek clemency from the President,” Hasina said replying to a question.
On Saturday, BNP leaders at a rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office demanded the government release their chairperson Khaleda Zia to ensure the party’s participation in the next polls.
The Prime Minister said she will neither take any step for bringing BNP to the election nor obstruct it from joining the polls.
“They (BNP) are saying they won’t join the polls.“It’s their internal party decision whether BNP will take part in it or boycott it. We neither need to invite them nor obstruct them,” she said.
Recalling that the gate of BNP chairperson’s office was shut when she went to meet Khaleda after the death of her son, Hasina said: “On that day, I decided not to sit with them at all. There’s no question of holding discussions with them, no matter who says what, as I have a sense of self-esteem.”
She said her government should have arrested Khaleda Zia when her party was killing people with arson attacks. “But I didn’t arrest her at that time. I had demonstrated tolerance.”
Regarding the unelected polls-time government or caretaker government, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh has a bad experience about it. "Once they sit in power, they don't want to leave; we had this experience in our country."
She said Bangladesh will follow the system practised in India and Britain.
"Only during a mid-term election, Parliament dissolved and the election is held within next 90 days of the dissolution of Parliament," she said.
Hasina said this system had been incorporated in the 1972 Constitution of the country and it has been reincorporated in it after the High Court verdict.
As per the constitution, the election will be held after five years generally. Three months before completion of the five-year term, the election will be held, she said.
In the Constitution, Hasina said, it has been made mandatory to sit in sessions of Parliament after every 60 days except the three-month period of the election time.
"Parliament will be there, but not functional. This has been done to ensure the vacuum during the transitional period from one government to another," she said.
About Rohingya issue, the Prime Minister said Myanmar has committed a horrible thing by carrying out falsehood releasing fake photos in social media over Rohinga issue.
“They’ve committed a terrible work. They’ve tarnished their own image with this. They’ve destroyed their position at international stage,” she said.
She said the same propaganda with fake photos was also carried out by BNP-Jamaat in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Bangladesh. “My question is whether they (Myanmar) learnt the tactic from our BNP-Jamaat.”
During the Bimstec summit in Nepal, Hasina said she had talks with the Myanmar President over Rohingya issue and the repatriation agreement signed between the two countries.
Hasina said the Myanmar President told her that they are ready to take back those who want to go back to Myanmar.
The Prime Minister said she never wants confrontational situation with neighboruing country Myanmar.
She said Myanmar never denies anything, and says it will take back the Rohingyas. “But the reality is it doesn’t act accordingly.”
Responding to a question about the new government in Pakistan under the leadership of former cricketer Imran Khan, the Prime Minister said he hit many sixes in the field, now it is time to see whether he can hit those sixes remaining in power.
"We’ll be glad…He’s a player, he has the sportsmanship spirit, if he seeks cooperation, we’ll extend that. We’ll do that keeping in mind the general people of that country," Hasina said.
Replying to another question, she said the government has brought the killers of Bangabandhu under the purview of law. "But, the investigation to detect the conspiracy and conspirators was not done… their trial didn’t take place but that should be done."
She also mentioned that there were some research works at the international level about the matter, there’re some reports, too. "Maybe time will come when everything will surface," she said.
The Prime Minister visited Nepal on August 30 and 31 to attend the two-day summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), a seven-nation economic bloc of the South Asia and South East Asia.