Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said people would never give their mandates to anti-liberation forces, patrons of war criminals and the corrupt as those would drive the country to destruction.
"The people of Bangladesh will never cast their votes for these anti-liberation forces, the corrupt, killers who killed people by arson attacks and patrons of war criminals. They will never be able to come to power ... people won't let them return [to power]," she said.
The PM said this while speaking at a discussion organised by Awami League marking the Victory Day and Martyred Intellectuals Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Hasina said those who wanted to develop the country and people's fate and free the country from hunger and poverty would never support those who had patronised war criminals, made them ministers and killed innocent people by arson attacks.
"No, people must not support them ... they're looters ... they had promoted war criminals and terrorists, destroyed the peace ... they had driven the country from the path of development to destruction."
The PM said people under the leadership of Bangabandhu and Awami League liberated the country.
"The country is now marching forward. It'll move on and emerge as a developed and a prosperous one."
"The people of the country are moving around the world with their heads held high, Inshallah, they will continue, this is our promise today," she said.
Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said people were reaping the benefits of the country's independence which was earned through the blood of tens of thousands of martyrs.
"During the war, the collaborators of Pakistan occupation forces had handed our mothers and sisters to Pakistanis, while more than one crore people had taken shelter in India."
The entire world, including friendly countries like India, Canada, France and Nepal, extended their support to the freedom-loving nation, she said, adding that even the Americans were in favour of the people of Bangladesh.
After independence, the PM said the Father of the Nation started the trial of war criminals and banned the political activities of the anti-liberation forces.
She regretted that the Father of the Nation was assassinated at a time when he had begun rebuilding the war-ravaged country with farsighted development programmes.
After his assassination, Hasina said Bangladesh began a backward journey as military dictator Ziaur Rahman had brought the killers, rapists, Razakars and Al-Shams of 71 to power, and even stopped the trial of war criminals and released the convicted Razakars from jail.
The PM said Khaleda Zia had gone a step further by making the Razakars members of her cabinet.
After returning to power, Hasina said her government tried the war criminals and executed the court verdicts as per her election pledge.
At the beginning of the discussion, a one-minute silence was observed in memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib and other martyrs of the August 15, 1975, carnage, and four national leaders and martyrs of the Liberation War.