The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Saturday ruled out any possibility of dialogue with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to overcome the present political impasse saying that she could not sit for talks with ‘a leader of militants’.
‘She [Khaleda] is now a leader of militants…No dialogue is possible with a militant leader whose hands are stained with blood and smell of burnt people,’ she said at an anti-violence grand rally of Peshajibi Samannay Parishad at the Krishibid Institute auditorium in the capital.
The prime minister made the remarks in reply to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson’s three-point demand, including an immediate dialogue for holding a fair and inclusive election under a ‘government acceptable to all’ to resolve the prevailing crisis.
Khaleda Zia placed the demands at a news conference at her Gulshan office on Friday.
Sheikh Hasina said that Khaleda Zia was now frequently pushing her demand for a dialogue though she had rejected such offer for dialogue before the January 5 general elections.
‘I phoned her to sit for a dialogue but she [Khaleda] replied using abusive words. I went to her office to console her at the death of her son [Arafat Rahman] but she kept the door locked…Should dialogue be held in the air?’ she said.
The prime minister described the closure of door for a state prime minister as ‘grave audacity’ and said that she could have taken an immediate action for showing such audacity but restrained herself simply on humanitarian ground.
She said the heads of state must abide by the laws first but Khaleda Zia despite being a former prime minister was not showing respect to the country’s laws. She was still staying in her office instead of appearing before court in the corruption cases, the prime minister said.
Hasina advised her arch political rival to surrender before the court which had issued a warrant for her arrest, otherwise she reminded Khaleda that the government would be compelled to carry out the court order.
‘I would like to advise her [Khaleda] to surrender to the court. It is going to be her ultimate destination. That [jail] is the right place for her. If she does not go [to the court], the government would have no way but to comply with the court order,’ she said.
The prime minister said that her government would do whatever was necessary to rid the people of the difficulties they were enduring only for Khaleda Zia’s activities.
She termed ‘blatant lies’ Friday’s statement of the BNP chairperson and said everyone knew that Khaleda was burning people to death but she was now trying to shift the blame.
‘She is in the habit of lying. Had [Adolf] Hitler been alive today he might have called Khaleda his mother for her lies,’ the prime minister quipped.
As for the disappearance of BNP joint secretary general Salah Uddin Ahmed, Hasina said it was the BNP chairperson who should answer where she had trafficked Salah Uddin as the police were searching for him.
‘Salah Uddin used to issue statements from underground. But everyone knows that he issued the statements from the office of Khaleda Zia, so it is only Khaleda who could answer whether she has trafficked him from her office along with eight sacks of wastage,’ she said.
The prime minister said that the BNP chairperson had failed to wage movement as people ignored her frequent calls reminding Khaleda that the Awami League had built up a successful movement and toppled the then BNP government on March 31, 1996 as people had spontaneously participated in that movement.
‘Nobody responds to whatever programme she [Khaleda] announces. Even her party activists are not with her. People do not like her violence and killings,’ Hasina said.
The prime minister said that everyone, including ‘north and south quarters’ – a reference to the army and foreign quarters – frustrated the BNP chairperson who had expected them to help her usurp the state power.
She said that the movement of Khaleda Zia aimed to hinder the progress of Bangladesh which had become a role model for development.
Reacting angrily to Khaleda’s terming the present government ‘illegal’, Hasina said it was the seizure of power by Ziaur Rahman which was ‘illegal’ and the very birth of BNP was ‘illegal’. ‘How could Khaleda Zia term ‘illegal’ a government which has come to power with 40 per cent voters in the January 5 election and won recognition of all foreign countries?’
The prime minister said Ziaur Rahman was involved in the killing of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members in 1975 and Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman had plotted the bloody August 21 grenade attacks. ‘The recent conspiracy to kidnap and kill [Sajeeb Wazed] Joy [prime minister’s son] proved once again that they have continued hatching plots to kill my family members,’ she added.
The prime minister urged the professionals to unite against the ‘atrocities’ of Khaleda Zia and sought their cooperation in the government’s efforts to curb terror acts.
Peshajibi Samannay Parishad president AFM Mesbahuddin, also former High Court judge, presided over the rally addressed by the prime minister’s media adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury and attorney general Mahbub-e-Alam.
In a press conference on the day, Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam urged Khaleda Zia to stop killing people and withdraw the blockade and hartals to let people heave a sigh of relief.
‘A congenial atmosphere would be created if you [Khaleda] stop killing innocent people and withdraw the blockade and hartals. In such an atmosphere a dialogue can take place,’ he said at the press conference at the party president’s Dhanmondi office.
Syed Ashraf came up with the remarks while giving the AL’s formal reaction to the BNP chairperson’s statement on Friday, in which she demanded dialogue to hold an early and inclusive election under the non-partisan government.
Source: New Age