No early polls, no talks: Hasina tells press in New York

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled out the possibility of any midterm election in Bangladesh and holding any dialogue with the BNP as nothing wrong has happened in the country after the January 5 election.

She also dismissed the allegation of an entente between her government and Jamaat-e-Islami that was made following the recent Supreme Court verdict commuting Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s death sentence to imprisonment unto death.

“Why there should be a midterm election? What are the problems for which we should go for a midterm election and for whom? Is it to put the party in power that was created by usurper Ziaur Rahman?” she questioned.

The PM was responding to questions from Bangladeshi journalists living in New York. Bangladesh permanent mission to the UN organised the press conference at its office on Friday.

On dialogue with BNP, now out of parliament after boycotting the January 5 polls, Hasina said as per parliamentary form of democracy, she has nothing to do with a party which is not in parliament.

When a reporter pointed to having a dialogue with the opposition party, she said, “Opposition party! Which is the opposition party? What does it mean by opposition party in a parliamentary democracy?”

Without naming any party, the PM added: “It [boycotting the election] was their decision, not mine. What can I do as they decided not to contest the election?”

About the Supreme Court verdict against Sayedee and the allegation of her government’s entente with Jamaat, she said if there was any entente (between the two parties), how that person could have been put on trial. “It’s the court that takes the decision whether there’ll be a capital punishment or not,” she added.

The judiciary in Bangladesh, said Hasina, is completely independent. “We can’t interfere in the judiciary. If the independent judiciary delivers its verdict, how there could be an entente?”

She said it is the Awami League government that has put the war criminals on trial. Some other parties rather made the war criminals ministers and allowed them to fly the national flag on their vehicles, noted the PM.

“Let BNP be put on trial first as they helped war criminals getting established in the country,” she mentioned.

On the recent remark of BNP chief Khaleda Zia asking the ruling party leaders, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to get ready with their passports and visas so that they could flee the country hurriedly to avert public wrath, Hasina said she never fled the country.

The PM said Bangladesh is her birthplace while Khaleda was born in a tea garden of Shiliguri, India. “So I don’t need a visa, she [Khaleda] needs it.”

Regarding corruption, the premier said international vested quarters had tried to prove that her government was corrupt. “I’m talking about the Padma bridge project. The World Bank stopped funding saying that there was a huge corruption in the project. But I challenged that there was no corruption.”

Describing Bangladesh’s advancement in various sectors during the AL rule, she said had there been any graft, the country would not have been able to march forward. “Had there been corruption, how could we increase power generation from 3200MW to 11,700 MW?” she questioned.

Source: The Daily Star