By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday ruled out the possibility of any mid-term election in Bangladesh, questioning the necessity of such polls.
“Has the news of the mid-term polls come floating in the Jamuna River? Is there any such problem for which the mid-term election will have to be given?” she told a press conference in New York.
The press conference was arranged at Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission to brief the media about the outcome of the prime minister’s participation in the ongoing 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka said yesterday.
The next general election in Bangladesh is scheduled to be held in 2019.
Sheikh Hasina said there is no relation between the mid-term polls and the upcoming council of ruling Bangladesh Awami League.
“You know Awami League is a big organisation. The party’s council from the grassroots to ward, union, sub-district and district levels has already been completed. Now, the central council (of the party) will be held, and the councillors will take decisions about the leadership,” she said.
The prime minister said she thinks that there is no relation between the party’s council and the national election.”It’s our routine work as the party council is held after every three years.”
Noting that the party could not hold its council during the emergency and martial law regimes, she said, “Otherwise, we tried to hold the party council regularly and we’re taking preparation in this regard,” she said.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Bangladesh ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen were present on the dais while PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press conference.
The prime minister’s entourage, including ministers, parliament members, political and business leaders, were also present.
Answering a question about opposition by BNP and some other parties to government steps on curbing terrorism and militancy and the role of the opposition parties, Hasina said the opposition party which tends to oppose every step will usually oppose everything and there is nothing to be worried about it.
“The opposition party in parliament is properly playing its due role, but you can’t expect anything, especially from those who are not in parliament and don’t believe in democracy, who burnt and killed people to death to foil the last general election, burnt the polling centres and killed an Assistant Presiding Officer, burnt people alive in buses, trains, launches and trucks,” she added.
The prime minister alleged that the BNP-Jamaat clique committed all such crimes to thwart the last general election but failed to involve the common people in their attempt to foil it.
Hasina said all should resist those culprits who are killing people in the name of religion.
She said the issues of counterterrorism and militancy came up in various functions of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly as terrorist acts are now taking place across the globe, not only in Bangladesh. Hasina said some incidents of bombing and terrorist acts continued to take place in the USA just before the current UN General Assembly.
Responding to a question about the extradition of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina said it took 31 years to try the killers of Bangabandhu.
She added, “Since we’ve held the trial, we’ll complete the rest surely.”
She said as the killers of Bangabandhu are staying in various countries, her government has been trying its best to bring back those killers and execute the verdict.
Asked whether she was writing her autobiography, Hasina said there’s nothing like that.”I always want to live as my father’s daughter.”
Replying to another question about the next US presidential election, the prime minister hoped that a new government would be there in the US that would work with Bangladesh.
Replying to another question on whether Bangladesh would have any female candidature for the secretary general post of the UN which will fall vacant in December next, Hasina said, “I’ll be a bit more delighted if any woman assumes any post, and there’ll always be affection for our own community...there’s is no doubt about it. We’re observing that there are some candidates for the post, and we’re also keeping an eye on others’ stance in this regard.We’ll take our decision in due time.”
While talking about her successful participation in the 71st session of the UN, Hasina said Bangladesh had also been able to highlight its agenda strongly in this session.”It’s my belief that our active and fruitful participation in various forums has brightened Bangladesh’s image in the international arena.”
The prime minister also urged the expatriate Bangladeshis to always keep in their mind that they are a victorious nation and they would move ahead in the global arena with dignity.”You’ll also act and co-operate so that Bangladesh’s image is brightened abroad further.”
Talking about Bangladesh’s foreign policy, the prime minister said Bangladesh believes in the policy ‘Friendship to all and malice to none’ as presented by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”Due to this policy, I think, various countries are now showing interest in Bangladesh and their leaders are visiting the country.”
Regarding John Kerry’s Bangladesh visit, Hasina said the US secretary had been in Bangladesh as part of maintaining good relations with the United States.
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