Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm conviction that Bangladesh will never bow down to any pressure rather the country will move ahead with the strength of people.
“Bangladesh will never bow down to any pressure . . . We will move on with the confidence we have. And I will march ahead with the strength of our people,” she said.
The premier made this remark at a press conference at the Shapla Hall in the Prime Minister’s Office here.
Replying to a query regarding human rights, she questioned, “Who will teach us human rights which gives shelter to murderers?”
She continued: “And a country where, shooting incidents are constantly taking place in schools, students are being killed, people are being strangled by the police under their feet on the streets, will they teach us human rights?”
She said some people of the country do chorus dance with their words but Bangladesh will continue its forward marching with its own confidence and the strength of people.
Answering another question regarding “participatory election”, Sheikh Hasina said when a party participates in an election, it must have trust on the people that they have to show that they will win the election and who will be the head of their government.
“People consider it from the beginning. It not only happens in our country, but also across the world,” she said, adding that “Who will be shown as their (BNP) leader that they will participate in the election.”
She continued “Are they shown the fugitive (Tarique Rahman) as their leader? And he becomes a British citizen abandoning the citizenship of the country.”
She went on saying how much money can be invested to get easily the British citizenship.
The Prime Minister suggested to the journalists to find out how a convict became a British citizen and “if you unearth it, everything will come out”.
“So, how could they (BNP) participate in the election with him (Tarique Rahman), and what is the fault of democracy here?” she said, mentioning that their party is still in a state of disarray, which has practically no organizational activities now.
Besides, the remaining is left-wing political parties which become smaller and smaller through continuous splitting and now sometimes lean towards the right-wing while sometimes left-wing, she observed.
“So, who (parties) are there (to compete with us),” she questioned.
She insisted on forming a strong party and then invite to the field of election. “Let’s meet in the field and people will choose.”
Sheikh Hasina said “My words are clear, see there was a chance to become Prime Minister for me, but I have never been the Prime Minister availing such opportunity.”
She said that she could have been Prime Minister in 1991 as the then President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed had asked her to form a government with the coalition of Jatiya Party and Jamaat, but refused saying him that “I don’t want to come to power in such a way.”
“As I didn’t get majority so I didn’t go to power,” she said, adding that “I will go to the government when I will have absolute power. My desire to form a government is to develop my country.”
She urged all to recall the scenarios of the country in 13 years back.
The Prime Minister said that her government during 1996 to 2001 had set up the basement of the development of the country and later Bangladesh witnessed championship in corruption five times, looting, terrorism, militancy, Bangla Bhai in 2001-2006 in the regime of BNP and then emergency (caretaker government).
“Actually eight years were spoiled from the life of the Nation,” she noted.
Recalling the situation before the national election of 2001, the Awami League President said the United States had placed a proposal to her that Bangladesh has to sell gas to India.
“But, I clearly told them Bangladeshi people are the owners of the gas. So, when the necessity of my country will meet, development of the country will happen, and reserves of gas for 50 years will be ensured then I will sell the additional gas,” she said.
To the end, she mentioned that she urged the US energy secretary to conduct a survey on gas and make sure of the reserve for Bangladesh.
“It was my fault that I wanted to protect the assets of my country. That is why I was prevented from assuming power,” she said, adding that “I didn’t aim to assume power and become the Prime Minister anyhow.”
She also said that she doesn’t want to stay in power snatching vote of people.
Sheikh Hasina said she is the person who outbursts against military dictators, carried out movement, embrace jail, repression, bomb, grenade attack etc. “The development of the country has been possible as I am able to protect the democracy and maintain its continuation.”
Urging all to see the changes in the country since 2009, she said there is no benefit in crying for them (BNP).
She also questioned “Is there not a single qualified leader of BNP in Bangladesh so that they can make him chairman of the party.”
The head of government said Awami League is one of the oldest parties in this subcontinent, which was formed through mass people.
But, where are the birthplaces of the rival parties of the Awami League, she said, adding that both BNP and Jatiya Party were formed by military dictators through coups and martial law.
Senior Awami League Leader Amir Hossain Amu, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus were present on the dais.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press conference.
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