No pressure on MPs to take oath
- Many int’l agencies, NGOs do not want relocation of Rohingyas to Bhasanchar.
- Worries about terrorism, militancy are there, but we’re always alert.
- Govt will ensure punitive actions against the killers of Feni madrasa girl Nusrat.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said it is not her policy to divide any party or do anything that leads to a split in a party.
She was addressing a press conference at the Gono Bhaban yesterday about the outcome of her recent official visit to Brunei.
Regarding the oath of BNP lawmaker-elect Zahidur Rahman against the party’s decision, Hasina said there was no pressure from the government on the elected MPs to take oath.
“Why should we put pressure on them? They have already said the people of their own constituencies are mounting pressure on them... they took the oath on their own,” said Hasina, also the Awami League president.
Her comments came hours after BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said his party was not worried over Zahid’s oath-taking as he did it “under pressure from the government”.
“Zahidur Rahman has taken oath violating the party’s decision. He committed a serious offence and we will surely take organisational actions against him,” he told reporters after placing wreaths at the grave of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman in the capital’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar together with leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal.
He further said, “Undoubtedly, there is a pressure from the government [to take oath]. The BNP is a party of the people. It hardly gets affected by any decision of an individual or a quarter. We’re not worried about the matter and there is no indiscipline in our party.”
Zahid on Thursday became the first among the six BNP-MPs elect to have taken oath.
Earlier, the BNP had rejected the December 30 polls results alleging widespread irregularities and decided not to join the 11th parliament.
Yesterday, Hasina firmly said her party has enough manpower and followers, and it does not need any more. “The Awami League itself is enough to ensure the welfare of people.”
She said every party has its own characteristics and they are very much independent to make any decision as the country has a multiparty democratic system.
“The BNP is a political party. Whatever it does is the party’s own political decision. Any other party cannot impose its decisions on them,” the PM said.
About the parole of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, the premier said one has to apply first to be granted parole. “No one has applied for that so far.”
Regarding the killing of Feni madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi, Hasina said the government would not let anyone involved in the crime get off scot-free.
She said such an unjust act was not acceptable. “I don’t want the culprits to belong to my party or any other one.”
Replying to a question on relocating Rohingya refugees to Bhashanchar Island from Cox’s Bazar, the PM said although the Rohingyas wanted to go there, there were people in many agencies who did not want this to happen.
“This is because the people of those agencies and NGOs go there for volunteering. I think the problem lies there. Let me tell you something openly. It is very much easy to go to Cox’s Bazar; it has beautiful places to stay. They go there to carry on humanitarian services, but they take care of their own purposes in a greater way,” she said.
In this connection, Hasina said the government prepared the Bhashanchar Island to provide shelter to 100,000 Rohingyas with better facilities and scope of earning their livelihoods.
The PM expressed fear that unemployed Rohingya youths might be drawn into militant activities.
She said something was always there to be worried about the rise in terrorism and militancy in the country.
“But we are always on alert. Our intelligence agencies are working nicely. I held a meeting with the heads of all the agencies and forces last night [Thursday night].”
Hasina said the government was taking appropriate and effective steps. She also put emphasis on finding out the roots of terrorism and militancy across the globe.
She said people from the religious minority communities were living in peace although 90 percent of the country’s population is Muslim. “Even the religious festivals are celebrated by the people from all religions and that’s the unique character of Bangladesh.”
She said the people of all religions celebrate Pahela Baishakh together. “We have been able to maintain communal harmony in the country and this has to be maintained.”
Responding to another question, the AL chief said she does not see any “intruder” and “opportunist” in her party.
She said she had to go into retirement. “The next leadership will be picked by the party. I am not the one to decide on that. The Awami League as a political party will choose its leader, or the people will pick their leader. How can I say who will be the leader?”
In this connection, Hasina mentioned that she never thought of being the president of the AL, but the party made her the chief.
She expressed deep shock at the tragic death of Zayan Chowdhury, eight-year-old grandson of AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim. The schoolboy was killed in a terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Strongly condemning the attacks, the PM called upon all to mobilise public opinion and take effective measures against terrorism.
‘VISIT TO BRUNEI BOOSTED TIES’
The premier said her April 21-23 visit to Brunei has taken the relationship between the two countries to a new height.
Hasina said she had a bilateral meeting with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
She said she placed specific proposals for cooperation on various sectors, including exchange of high-level visits, trade, investment, food, agriculture, fisheries, energy, ICT and air connectivity.
Welcoming the proposals, the Brunei Sultan pledged to work together to implement those.
Hasina said the two sides agreed to actively consider the possibility of a preferential trade arrangement and conduct a joint feasibility study to this effect.