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20 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Polls must even if BNP boycotts

Says PM as she vows to go by constitution
Polls must even if BNP boycotts

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asserted that the next parliamentary election would be held in due time, in line with the constitutional guidelines, no matter which party joins or boycotts it. “We can't do anything if any political party decides not to contest the polls. It's solely up to a political party whether it woulds join any election or not,” she said. Hasina, who is also the Awami League (AL) president, was addressing a press conference, organised to intimate the outcome of her just-concluded visit to Italy and Vatican City, at her official residence. In response to a query on the chance of BNP boycotting the next polls without Khaleda Zia, the PM said: “The BNP party chief is in jail in a graft case. What can we do if that party decides not to participate in the next polls without her? I can’t withdraw the case as we didn’t file it!”

“The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) during the military-backed caretaker government in 2007. A special court delivered the verdict against the BNP chief. Therefore, we've nothing to do in this regard,” she added.

Expressing her intention to hold the next election at the end of this year, Hasina said it would be held as per the timeframe stipulated by the Constitution.

She expressed hope that the people would exercise their voting right and that no one would be able to foil the elections. “Those who believe in democracy and in the Constitution will certainly join the next polls,” she said.

At the same time, Hasina accused BNP-Jamaat men of carrying out terrorist activities across the country in 2014 in the name of foiling the January 5 general election. But they had been eventually resisted by people, she added.

Responding to another question over the annulment of Section 7 of the BNP constitution, the PM criticised the BNP for dropping that section from its charter and  fr choosing Tarique Rahman, who is now in London, as the acting chairman of the party. “Yes, it's usual that a party's senior-most vice chairman will act as its chairman  in the absence of the chairperson. But their acting chairman is on the run from law and is not even in the country,” she said.

“Isn’t there any single person in the country who could be made the acting chairman of the BNP?” she wondered.

Referring to a question on the proposed Digital Security Act-2018, the PM said journalists should not worry about it. No one will be harassed if he/she doesn’t do anything wrong that would go against the act, she asserted.

“Cyber crime has now become a big problem all over the world including Bangladesh. According to CRPC, if anyone don’t commit misdeed, the act will not be misused, so why do you become afraid of the digital act?”

The premier said that her recent visit to Italy and Vatican City was very successful, particularly in the context of mounting pressure on Myanmar for speedy repatriation of the Rohingyas. She also said she drew the global community’s support for increased succor for the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals ahead of the beginning of the rainy season. She further said she asked for global cooperation for the relocation of the Rohingyas to an island designated as their makeshift abode.

 UNB adds: Responding to a question regarding repeated question paper leakage in various public examinations, the Prime Minister said there is nothing new in it. “This has been going on in the world for decades…sometimes it gets publicity and sometimes it does not, this is the reality,” she said.

In the ongoing SSC examination, she said, question papers are coming out 20 minutes before the start of the examinations. “Perhaps, this is happening when the question paper enveloped are opened before the distribution. Some people probably are taking pictures of the question papers with their mobile phones. What can be done in this situation?” she questioned.

She also mentioned that it is very hard for an examinee to take the benefit of this question leak as there are very few talented students having a photogenic memory.

“Is the minister (Education Minister) going for leaking out the question, or the secretary (Education Secretary).  It’s neither they nor the teachers are doing this. But of course there is something for which question papers are being leaked out,” Hasina told the journalists. She sought cooperation from all, including the media, in finding out the culprits.

About the ongoing Rohingya issue, Hasina said the problem has been created by the Myanmar government and it is their responsibility to solve it. “From our side, we’re holding dialogue with them. We’ve reached an understanding; we’ve formed a joint committee.”

She said Bangladesh wanted to have a solution through dialogue as Myanmar is a neighbouring country. “We want Myanmar to take back their nationals through negotiations.” But, the Prime Minister said, Myanmar side is delaying the repatriation process showing various excuses.  “When the repatriation will start, the Rohingyas will be interested to go back to their homeland.”

Hasina also mentioned that it is the matter of big concern what the he Myanmar side will be doing. In her written speech, the prime minister described her Vatican City and Italy tour has been very successful and fruitful.


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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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