Dhaka, Bangladesh
Continuity of govt thru fair polls, PM hopes

Continuity of govt thru fair polls, PM hopes

News Desk Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Wednesday there will be fair and neutral election in 2018 and Awami League will return to power with people's mandate for continuity of government. Focusing on different measures taken by the Awami League government for women's protection and empowerment, she said it was possible to carry out these development activities as the democratic process continues in the country. The Prime Minister told lawmakers that Bangladesh has been able to make huge progress and women are availing various opportunities in all sectors due to the continuity of government through the 2014 national elections. "Had there been no continuation of government, the women would have been the victims of torture," Hasina said, adding that many women were tortured and raped during BNP rule from 2001 to 2006. "I think women empowerment is possible when a democratic process continues in a country," she added. The Prime Minister said they always want a democratic process to continue in Bangladesh and the country will march forward smoothly as it does now. About the election system, she said more than 6,000 elections -- local government polls and by-polls -- were held under her government but no one could raise any question over any. Pointing at BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government did not arrest her out of any political motive but she is in jail after being convicted by the court for embezzlement of orphans' money. "We didn't arrest her on political grounds. Had we wanted so, we could've done that in 2015 and 2014. She's in jail due to a court verdict. The case proceedings continued for 10 years," she told the parliament, replying to a supplementary question from Awami League MP Nurjahan Begum (Women Seat-42). The Prime Minister said the BNP chairperson is in jail after being convicted of corruption for embezzling orphans' money. "There're many seasoned lawyers and Barristers in BNP. But all of them failed to prove that Khaleda Zia is innocent," she added. Sheikh Hasina said BNP changed section-7 of the party's charter just before the court's verdict against Khaleda Zia as BNP leaders knew that she is an offender. As per the section-7 of BNP's charter, anyone being convicted on corruption charge cannot remain in the party's leadership position. "This is a stigma (Kolonko) for the women community as a woman means a mother. How a person being a mother steals or misuses money of an orphan. It's a shame for our women community," Hasina said. In reply to another supplementary question from Jatiya Party MP Kazi Firoz Rashid (Dhaka-6), the Prime Minister said if her government returns to power through the next parliamentary elections, Bangladesh will be made a peaceful, developed and prosperous country in South Asia. Describing various future plans for the country's development, she said they will set up a deep seaport, another nuclear power plant in the country's southern area. Noting that now Bangladesh is constructing a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, she said she is searching for a site in the country's southern area for setting up another nuclear power plant. Hasina said her government will turn every village into a town so that people can enjoy urban facilities staying in rural areas. In response to a question from Tarikat Federation MP MA Awal (Laxmipur-1), the Prime Minister said 20,767 people have so far arrested during the ongoing anti-drug drive and placed them on trial. She said huge narcotics, arms and ammunition, and drug carrying vehicles were seized since May 18, 2018 during the ongoing anti-drug drive. "So far 15,333 cases have been filed in connection with drugs. A total of 20,767 accused were arrested and put on trial. Some 1,289 people were sentenced with different jail terms through mobile courts," Hasina told the House. (Inputs taken from agencies)

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