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8 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM

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Hasina rules out talks with Khaleda over polls

Trump’s Jerusalem announcement breach of UN resolution, she says
STAFF REPORTER
Hasina rules out talks with Khaleda over polls

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday rejected outright any possibility of initiating talks with arch-rival BNP over the next general elections. While briefing the media on her recent tour to Cambodia and its outcomes, Sheikh Hasina, also the president of ruling Awami League (AL), said all the parties can join the polls.

But, those who don’t believe in democratic system will not join the election, she said while answering to a question whether the government will take any step to bring the BNP to the election.

Terming BNP chief Khaleda Zia a ‘mean-minded person’, Hasina said she does not want to sit with her. “I think the BNP would not repeat its previous mistakes and will join the next polls to avoid abolition,” she said. “There is no use of requesting me to sit for talks with Khaleda Zia. I'm not going to pour butter in an improper saucepan,” Hasina told the briefing at her official residence Ganabhaban.

“Keeping aside all differences, I called her [Khaleda] to sit for talks for the sake of democracy, but she misbehaved with me. I don’t want to see such behaviour anymore,” she added.

Ruling AL and the country’s major opposition party BNP are at polar ends on the question of polls and under which arrangement the next election will be held.

The current government has already scrapped the provision for a non-partisan neutral poll-time government, which translates in the holding of the next election under the sway of the incumbent government.

Accordingly, Sheikh Hasina will head the government during the 11th parliamentary elections slated for late 2018 or early 2019.

The BNP has been protesting the move and demands for the installation of a non-partisan neutral government to oversee the general elections.

During the brief that lasted for an hour, the premier answered different questions from the newsmen mostly over the next general elections.

Replying to a query over holding a snap poll, Sheikh Hasina ruled out possibilities of any such election saying that no such situation has been created in the country to hold an early polls before its scheduled time.

“But election can be held anytime in the parliamentary democratic system,” she said.

When attention was drawn over a statement of BNP chief Khaleda Zia given in the court that she has forgiven Sheikh Hasina, the premier said she found the statement ambiguous.

“Who sought mercy from her (Khaleda)? Rather Khaleda should apologise for her crimes,” Hasina said.

"I'm not quite clear whether the BNP chairperson was showing or seeking mercy for her attempt to kill me launching the 2004 grenade attack and for killing over hundred people through arson attacks in an attempt to foil the January 5 election," she said.

Delivering a statement in self-defence before a Dhaka court on November 9,

Khaleda said, “I clearly announce that I have personally forgiven her [Hasina], despite Sheikh Hasina’s continuous indecent statements and vengeful behaviour against me and Shaheed Ziaur Rahman’s family members. I will not indulge in politics of vengeance against her.”

Replying to another question over BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman, the premier said the government has been trying to bring him (Tarique) back to the country.

“Tarique Rahman must face trial for his crimes,” she stated.

The premier also said that she does not want to see corrupt elements and anti-liberation forces to return to power. Referring to the cases of money laundering against Khaleda and her son, the prime minister also rang a bell of warning against any sabotage attempt in the name of movement.

Answering to a query whether the government would take any step to bring some people, including Khaleda and her family members, to justice over their alleged involvement in the ‘siphoning off about Tk 500 crore to a middle-eastern country’, the premier blasted the media for its role in downplaying the issue.

“Only a handful of media outlets have come up with reports on the issue. I want to ask why? The issue should have been reported extensively but you have chosen not to,” she lamented.

Answering to another query, Hasina said she would be in power if the people vote for her party in the next elections; but if not, she would bow out.

She, however, expressed her confidence that the people would give their mandate to the ruling Awami League for her government’s development performance.

“It’s I who introduced the slogan: ‘I will cast my own vote and vote for whomever I like’. So, if the people vote for us, we’ll be in office again; if not, we will not be here. And I have no regrets if I lose power as I have played my part,” she said.

Replying to another question over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the prime minister called upon the Muslim community across the world to be united and vocal against such an ‘unethical’ decision. It is only natural that President Trump’s announcement is not acceptable to the Muslim nations, she said.

“There is a UN resolution and in accordance of the resolution no one can make such announcement and can accept the announcement disregarding it,” said Hasina.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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