EC formation thru’ search committee
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the new Election Commission will be constituted through a search committee to be formed by the president.
She was addressing a press conference at the Gono Bhaban yesterday, arranged to inform the media about the outcome of Bangladesh's participation in the 76th United Nations General Assembly session.
The tenure of the incumbent EC will end in February next year and the next commission will holdthe 12th parliamentary election, scheduled to be held in 2023.
The PM said the BNP wants to make the next general election controversial knowing that there is no chance for them to win it.
"They know they don't have any possibility of winning the election. So, their effort is to make it controversial, create confusion among people and harm people by any means."
Questioning BNP's leadership, she said one (Khaleda Zia) is convicted of misappropriating orphans' fund and another (Tarique Rahman) is a fugitive convicted in the August 21 grenade attack and 10-truck arms haul cases.
"They are still there in the leadership. If this is the case, under which consideration would people vote for them?"
Referring to the 2014 general election, Hasina alleged that BNP had made frantic efforts to make it questionable and committed many misdeeds, including arson attacks, to thwart the polls. "Since the election was held [successfully] and then there was stability, it has made it possible to ensure development of what you are witnessing today."
Stating that BNP had no complaint about the 2008 general election, the PM questioned why they could not win that polls.
She mentioned the development activities carried out by her government and questioned who would vote for BNP and why.
Pointing at journalists, she said, "Ask who would vote for them. I asked all journalists first to question their conscience: who and with what hope will vote for BNP and others and why?"
Talking about the Rohingya issue, Hasina said international pressure on Myanmar would continue for a permanent solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis as the issue was widely discussed in the 76th UNGA session.
"The issue of the Rohingya crisis and its permanent solution was discussed elaborately in the UNGA session which I believe will [help] continue global pressure on Myanmar for taking back their Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh," she said while reading out a written statement at the press conference.
The premier reminded the world leaders that the cause of the Rohingya crisis is in Myanmar, and the solution also lies there.
Calling upon the international community to take constructive steps in this regard, she said, "Only a safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation [of Rohingyas] to their homeland can be a permanent solution to this crisis."
The PM said keeping Rohingyas in Bangladesh has apparently become a business for some organisations.
"I'm very sorry to say it seems that keeping refugees has become a business for some organisations. If they [Rohingya] are not here, they [NGO officials] will lose jobs," she said.
If Rohingyas stay in Bangladesh, some people would be benefited, she said, adding that they don't have much concentration on their repatriation.
"Some [organisations] are sincere and we get good response from them. There're others who just hear it [about Rohingyas]. The problem is here."
The PM questioned international organisations as to why they are not mounting pressure and do not act for their repatriation as Rohingyas are damaging the environment of the host country.
She voiced concern that Rohingyas are indulging in misdeeds, including terrorist acts, women and children trafficking and drug peddling.
Replying to a question over frauds by some e-commerce firms, including Evaly and E-orange, Hasina said the government continues to do what's necessary on its part.
She said investigations were underway to find out where they took or deposited the money, and the government would return it to the people once the probes were completed.
"Those who swindle people for making money taking advantage of their tough time must be punished."
The PM also said journalists also had the responsibility to find out the fraud firms when things started unfolding. "If you do so, then people will be alert."
Hasina said she had been to the US to attend the UNGA session by a Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft so that the national carrier gets the money at this tough time caused by the pandemic.
"It'll, in fact, strengthen the government's effort to resume Biman's flight operation on Dhaka-New York route. I went to the US by the latest and advanced aircraft, 'Dreamliner', of Biman."
She said her government collected a good number of the latest aircraft for Biman, but many of those sit idle as flights on many routes were suspended due to the pandemic. Besides, Biman has to count maintenance costs even when the aircraft sit idle.
The PM said an effort from the government was underway to resume Dhaka-New York flights.
Hasina said the universal accessibility and availability of Covid vaccines and sustainable recovery from the pandemic naturally dominated the UNGA discussion.
Besides, issues like climate change, women's empowerment, equality and inclusion, racism, sustainable development goals, disarmament of nuclear weapons etc also came up for discussion, she added.
She said she urged the rich countries to finance and transfer technology freely for sustainable adaptation to the countries at risk of climate change for reducing their damage caused by the pandemic.
The premier said she participated in several bilateral meetings on the sidelines during the UNGA session.
Hasina said as the president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable-20 Group of Ministers of Finance, she briefed the world leaders on the activities of Bangladesh's "Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan-Decade 2030".
She said she was conferred upon with "SDG Progress Award" by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) on September 20 for Bangladesh's highest success in attaining SDG during the 2015-2020 period.
"This award is a global recognition of Bangladesh's steadfast development even during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that's why I dedicated this award to the people of the country in my thanksgiving speech," the premier said.
KILLINGS DURING ZIA'S REGIME
About the killings of military officers during the regime of military dictator Ziaur Rahman, Hasina said measures should be taken to form a commission to hold trials of the killings of military officers and soldiers during Zia's rule.
"As a demand has been raised in this regard [formation of a commission], I think a step should be taken to this end," she said.
Expressing resentment over not raising the demand for constitution of such a commission much earlier, the PM said mass awareness about the tragic incidents should be built.
She said the trial of the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his other family members was held as she was able to come to power.
Hasina said the BNP also did not hold the trial of Zia's killing. Rather, they illegally hanged 11 military officers for mutiny, she said, adding that she had lodged a protest against the camera trial and demanded unearthing the real matter behind the heinous act.
Some journalists attended the press conference at the Gono Bhaban while others were connected to the event virtually from the Prime Minister's Office.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Information Minister Hasan Mahmud were present at the Gono Bhaban.