Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday insisted that her government would not move away from its position on holding the next parliamentary election in line with the constitution of the country.
“Everything will happen according to the constitution. I’ll not budge on this,” Hasina said rejecting the demand of reinstating the caretaker government system.
The Supreme Court termed caretaker government illegal and the parliament passed 15th amendment to the constitution abolishing the CG provision, she said at an emergency press conference at her official residence, Gono Bhaban, in the afternoon.
“So, what’s the reason of inviting trouble to people’s lives demonstrating for reinstating the provision?”
Continuing the demand for restoring the caretaker government is tantamount to disregarding the judgement of the higher court, she said.
Asking all to respect the constitution while making such demands, Hasina said, “The constitution doesn’t come out of the blue. We got it through much sacrifice during the War of Independence.”
The prime minister called the press conference to unveil a success in decoding the genome of local jute species.
Beginning at 4:12pm, the briefing continued for nearly one and an half hours.
The PM repeatedly referred to the constitution when journalists asked questions regarding different quarters’ doubt about holding the next Jatiya Sangsad election considering the opposition’s stance that it would not participate in the polls if it is not held under a caretaker government.
As a journalist pointed out the CG restoration demand, Hasina said: “Do you want unconstitutional governments again? Do you want martial law? How come you forgot what happened in 2007 and 2008?”
When a journalist pointed out to BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s remark that the country’s future would become uncertain if the ninth parliament is dissolved by October 25, Hasina termed the fear unfounded.
“There will be no constitutional crisis. But they (opposition) want it happens. They want to create constitutional crisis,” she alleged.
Mentioning that 5,763 elections to different local government bodies and by-polls were held during her government to elect 63,941 people’s representatives, the premier told journalists, “You could not say anything about the elections.”
“Through the elections, we have proved that we believe in democracy,” she went on to say.
Hasina, who heads the ruling Awami League, said the country is going towards the advancement. “The businessmen are doing business smoothly.”
She claimed that they had taken actions against corruption. “We have not created corruption; we have dug in corruption. But we have ultimately been blamed of corruption.”
The prime minister blasted the private stations for criticising the government. “We had first given licences to private television channels in our 1996-2001 tenure. It has been a style to lambasting the Awami League through talk shows in the televisions.
Mentioning that her government has taken different initiatives in the welfare of journalists, she announced that they would create a welfare fund for all journalists of both the print and electronics media.
About war crimes trial, the premier said, “We had pledged to hold the trail of war crimes. The trial proceedings of the war criminals are going on.”
After the press conference, Hasina was due to meet the party’s central working committee (ALCWC) members to decide the party’s next course of action in the wake of a political stand-off mainly over the opposition demand of restoration of the caretaker government system.
The ALCWC is the highest decision making forum of the AL.
The political stalemate arose mainly after the government had abolished the non-partisan caretaker government (CG) system by amending the constitution in June 2011.
Since then the main opposition BNP has urged the government on every possible occasions for reinstating the CG system what they termed for holding the next general elections in a free and fair way.
The party also observed different anti-government programmes including countrywide hartals to drum up support for their demand.
Terming the opposition’s demand as illogical, the prime minister, on the other hand, urged the opposition leaders to join the House and discuss the “polls-time government” method.
People from all walks of life including the civil society, intelligentsia and different political organisations have urged both Awami League and BNP to reach a consensus over the next parliamentary election.
Meanwhile, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir Saturday said his party deems it unlikely that it will reach a consensus with the ruling party over the next parliamentary elections.
Fakhrul said if the government and the opposition failed to reach a consensus, the country would face anarchy, and the ruling party would be blamed for it.
The country’s future would be uncertain after October 25, he said. “The prime minister has said the ninth parliament will be dissolved by October 25, and according to the constitution experts, there are no instructions in the constitution for doing so.” It would create a constitutional crisis, he added.
Meanwhile, the AL advisory council, think-tank of the party, in a meeting Saturday also advised the party president not to consider any dialogue proposal from the BNP if it contradicts the constitutional provisions about holding the national polls.