Minus-two plotters still active: PM
She asks BNP to stop bid to ‘save’ war criminalsKhadimul Islam
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Friday, warned the people that the quarters who had wanted to execute the ‘minus-two formula’ advanced by the last military-backed caretaker government, were still active and often trying to resurface.
‘I urge the countrymen to stay alert so that no quarters can snatch their constitutional rights… People will vote anyone they want to power,’ she said in an address to the nation marking the completion of four years of the Awami League-led alliance government.
Hasina, also president of the Awami League, in her 30-minute address, beamed live by televisions and radios, urged the opposition to shun the path of confrontation and work for the people.
The prime minister’s address coincided with the day of an extra-constitutional takeover amid a deepening political crisis six years ago on January 11, 2007 that subsequently attempted to implement a ‘minus-two’ formula, designed to banish the chiefs of Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party from politics.
‘The three-month caretaker government held on to power for two years and tried to stay in power for ever. They implicated political leaders in false cases to implement the minus-two formula,’ she said.
Referring to the January 11, 2007 changeover, Hasina said that fundamental rights of the people were suspended, army were deployed across the country and harassment after arrest of teachers, students and political leaders were rampant after the declaration of a state of emergency.
She urged the countrymen to give the Awami League another chance to govern the country for continuation of the economic growth.
‘To attain the target [of development], continuation of the government is necessary. You [people] should give us that chance to keep alive the bright prospects which has been created for economic freedom of Bangladesh,’ she added.
Hasina assured the countrymen that the voting rights of the people would remain guaranteed at the hands of AL and recalled that her party leaders had endured torture and were killed in protecting the people’s democratic right to vote.
‘An environment has also been created so that the Election Commission could work with full independence and neutrality alongside ensuring financial autonomy of the commission, increasing its manpower according to the demand along with launching election offices at the district and upazila levels,’ she said.
The prime minister also said that necessary measures had been taken so that the administration and the law enforcement agencies remained under the Election Commission during the polls while necessary appointments and transfers could be made as per the desire of the commission.
Hasina said that the present government could say proudly that most of her election pledges had been fulfilled despite various hurdles and limitations. ‘In some cases, we’ve even surpassed our targets,’ she said.
She also urged the opposition party, particularly Bangladesh Nationalist Party, not to side with those who had committed crimes against humanity, and vowed to complete the trial of war criminals. ‘Do not try to protect war criminals. The nation will not forgive you if you do so,’ she cautioned.
Hasina said that the relations between the war criminals and BNP were not new. ‘BNP’s founder Ziaur Rahman had freed the war criminals from jail and rehabilitated them in politics after imposing martial law in 1975,’ she said.
The prime minister, however, did not say anything about the opposition’s key demand for a non-party caretaker government.
Hasina said her government had taken steps to strengthen all democratic institutions, including the Election Commission, the Information Commission and Human Rights Commission, for sustainable democracy.
Referring to elections at different tiers of local government and by-elections held in last four years, she said no one could raise questions about the polls. The voters cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice and none interfered,’ she added.
She also gave a list of the successes achieved by her government in different sectors after January 6 in 2009, after its landslide victory in the December 2008 elections.
About the government’s handling of corruption, Hasina said that the Anti-Corruption Commission had been strengthened and it had been working independently. She said the ACC could now summon ministers, advisers, lawmakers and secretaries, question them and even file cases.
She said that to address all irregularities, the culprits in the Hallmark Group and Destiny Ltd scams had been arrested while the drive was still on and would continue against various other irregularities and corruption.
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