Govt wants all parties to join nat’l polls: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government wants all political parties to join the next parliamentary election, but it was up to them whether they would take part or not.
"A political party is to decide whether to participate in the election or not. We can't impose anything on them … Yes, we definitely want all parties to join polls," she said.
The premier was speaking at a press conference at the Gono Bhaban yesterday. The event was organised to inform the media about the outcome of her recent official visits to the UK and the USA.
Hasina said the Awami League along with its allies made all improvements and reforms to the country's electoral system. "If anyone doesn't join even after that, what can we do?"
She said the AL will never take power by rigging votes and it didn't do so in the past.
Referring to BNP, she said they blamed the government when they lost the national election in 2018 after nominating700 MP hopefuls in 300 constituencies.
Hasina, also the AL president, said her party came to power time and again working for the people and winning their hearts.
She said her party's triennial council will be held in December and the party started preparing for the 12th parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held late 2023 or early 2024.
The PM said the AL is now perhaps the only party in the country that always abides by its charter.
Replying to a query about any possible surprise in picking the AL leadership in the party's next council, she said, "I would no longer be the president of the Awami League if a single councillor does not want it."
The PM said she has been following this principle since the AL made her the president in 1981.
"It's true it has been a long time. I expect that the party will have a new leadership," she said.
Talking about the US sanctions on Rab, Hasina questioned the motive behind Washington's move.
She lauded the elite force's role in curbing terrorism in the country.
"We've curbed terrorism with them in this country. What does the imposition of sanction on them mean? [Is it] to support the terrorists? My question is whether the USA is unhappy about curbing terrorism," she said.
The PM said the Rab was formed at the US's recommendation. The US provides them with everything including training, arms, helicopters, and even digital and ICT systems.
"Whenever the US imposes sanctions or raises any allegation, I would like to say that they [Rab] have conducted their activities as per the training they received."
She said if any member of the law enforcement agencies, including Rab and police, commits any offence, the person is put on trial in Bangladesh. But if US police members kill anyone as per whim, they are not always tried, the PM added.
Trial was held in connection with only one incident in the US after people had waged a movement against it, she said.
The premier said some people provide false and fabricated information about the human rights violations to the US, and some of them, who left Bangladesh, are misguiding the US after committing crimes at home.
The US sanctioned Rab and seven of its serving and former officials in December last year accusing the force of grave violation of human rights, an allegation Dhaka has vehemently denied.
Talking about Rohingya repatriation, she said Bangladesh has conveyed its concern over Rohingya repatriation to the UN as not a single Rohingya was sent back to Myanmar though five years have already passed after their mass exodus from Rakhine State.
Hasina said the UN is sincere in resolving the issue, but the military junta of Myanmar does not pay heed to it.
Responding to another query, the AL president said BNP was rushing to foreigners as they did not have confidence in the people. "If they have confidence, they don't need to rush to the foreigners."
About the allegations of enforced disappearances, she said military dictator Ziaur Rahman had introduced the politics of killings and disappearances.
The PM assured the countrymen that there was nothing to be worried about as the country's economy was quite strong.
Mentioning that the government has stressed the need for making the economy vibrant overcoming all challenges, she said they've put emphasis on mitigating people's sufferings.
Hasina said she urged the expatriate Bangladeshis in the US to convey her messages to their family members and relatives at home to ensure the maximum utilisation of every inch of land for agricultural production.
About the UNGA, the premier said Bangladesh's participation in this year's assembly was very successful.
She said Bangladesh joined all important UNGA meetings actively which strengthened its position further in multilateral forums.
At the beginning of the press conference, Hasina read out a written statement regarding her engagements in the UK and the US.
The PM returned home early Tuesday after completing her 18-day visit to the UK and the US.