No politics of vengeance
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said if voted to power, she would come out of the “poor political culture” and introduce a new trend in politics, seeking no vengeance on those who treated her and her family members unfairly.
“I believe enough is enough. The people of Bangladesh don't want to hear any of this [vengeful politics] any more. That's why I want to initiate that change today by saying something very emphatically. I declare in unequivocal terms that I forgive those who treated me and my family unfairly in the past and continue to do so now,” Khaleda said.
The main opposition party chief was addressing a crowded press conference held to dish out the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance's proposal for the polls-time government. Top leaders of the alliance were present at the press conference at The Westin hotel.
During her 40-minute speech, the former prime minister also spoke of changing confrontational politics and her plan to combat militancy, if elected.
“Today, I stand before you with the call for that change. Of course, there will be political differences between us. We must change the way we debate these differences and insist on civil discourse rather than personal attacks.
“I assure you that I will look ahead and focus on the business of providing a brighter and more secure future for Bangladesh. I do not have time and will not spend time focusing on the past and on retaliation. I hope we can all work together to build a prosperous, peaceful and secure homeland for the future generation."
She said it was time to bring in a new political trend in the light of the expectations and aspirations of the nation.
"The time has come to change and improve the political culture….. I welcome ideas and the participation of all those who have been against me in the past."
Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's comment that militancy will rise if the BNP comes to power, Khaleda said people knew full well that militancy and terrorism took its root during the past Awami League rule.
“I want to categorically state that Bangladesh is an important partner in the international fight against militancy. My government initiated this cooperation. We will not only continue the current level of this cooperation, but will explore ways and means to expand it with other countries and institutions as an active member of the coalition for the war against terrorism.”
She also affirmed her commitment that Bangladesh territory would never be used for domestic, regional, international or any other form of terrorism.
About her plan to work with the neighbouring countries, she said, “If we form the government in future, we will reach out to our neighbours and expand upon current relationships as well as explore new ways to establish closer relations in political, financial, security, cultural and social sectors.”
Khaleda added that her party would adopt policies that ensure domestic and regional peace, stability and security. "Our government in the future will work to ensure that Bangladesh and all our neighbours positively contribute to a peaceful and secure global society."
About her past government's mistakes, the BNP chief said: “To err is human and I have no hesitation to admit that we have made mistakes in the past.
“At the same breath I would like to say that we have learnt from those mistakes. We are better prepared to take Bangladesh towards a brighter, more stable, and prosperous future. I agree with the adage – if you fail to learn from history, history will repeat itself. We will therefore not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Khaleda also promised of ensuring higher standards of living for the next generation through initiating sustainable development policies.
“No one political party has a monopoly on good ideas. For Bangladesh to reach its true potential and for our citizens to prosper, we need and must have the active participation and benefit of ideas from all political, ethnic and religious segments of society.”
She also said her government would be a government of talent and of national unity.