Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday criticised late president Ziaur Rahman for what she said was his involvement in the Bangabandhu killing, destroying the spirit of the Liberation War and allowing the rise of fundamentalism.
"Killer Rashid, in an interview with the BBC, admitted that Zia was behind the killing [of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman]," she said at a programme marking National Mourning Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina said Pakistan had tried several times to kill the Father of the Nation but failed due to international pressure. "But it is unfortunate that some of the very people of Bangladesh, for whom Bangabandhu sacrificed his whole life, killed him."
Terming August 15 a day of stigma for the Bengali nation, she said the main purpose of the heinous killings was to destroy the spirit of independence and make Bangladesh a province of Pakistan again.
Speaking at the programme, AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam criticised those who accused the government of not being sincere enough in trying to bring back the killers of Bangabandhu.
"Actually, due to legal complications in different countries, they could not be brought back," said Syed Ashraf, who is also local government and rural development minister. He criticised the US for not handing over a condemned killer of Bangabandhu currently staying there.
On the party's internal issues, he blasted AL men for their involvement in extortion, tender manipulation and other unlawful activities.
"Not everything the newspapers are writing about your extortion is false. I will urge party men not to engage in such activities that damage the party's image," he said at the programme organised by the AL and chaired by Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, presidium member of the party.
The AL spokesperson also criticised the use of banners and festoons on different occasions for self-promotion by party men.
"These kinds of activities will weaken organisational strength as well as the hands of Sheikh Hasina," he said, asking AL leaders and activists to refrain from doing so in future.
However, there was nothing to be worried about when the AL had a pragmatic leadership spearheaded by Sheikh Hasina and thousands of devoted activists, he added.
Fundamentalist forces that Syria, Iraq and Libya are troubled with are active in Bangladesh as well and waiting for a chance to destroy the existence of Bangladesh, said Syed Ashraf.
AL leaders Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Matia Chowdhury, Mohammad Nasim, Sahara Khatun, Asaduzzaman Noor, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, MA Aziz, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Asim Kumal Ukil, Samyabadi Dal leader Dilip Barua and DU Vice Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique also spoke at the programme.