Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday (Sep 2) said there is no doubt that the next general election will be held in a free and fair manner. She said while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban. The press conference was arranged to brief the media about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to Nepal for attending the 4th Bimstec summit, local media reports said.
“We’re working for people. If people vote us, we’ll be there in power again, otherwise not. I repeatedly said it,” Hasina said.
The PM said the election must be held (in time) and no one can resist it. “No one has the capability to foil the election.”
About BNP’s demand for Khaleda’s release, Hasina said the BNP Chairperson can be freed from jail either by the court or through presidential clemency.
“The government has nothing to do with it…she (Khaleda) has either to go to court or seek clemency from the President,” Hasina said replying to a question.
On Saturday, BNP leaders at a rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office demanded the government release their chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia to ensure the party’s participation in the next polls.
The PM said she will neither take any step for bringing BNP to the election nor obstruct it from joining the polls.
“They (BNP) are saying they won’t join the polls.“It’s their internal party decision whether BNP will take part in it or boycott it. We neither need to invite them nor obstruct them,” she said.
Recalling that the gate of BNP chairperson’s office was shut when she went to meet Khaleda after the death of her son, Hasina said: “On that day, I decided not to sit with them at all. There’s no question of holding discussions with them, no matter who says what, as I have a sense of self-esteem.”
She said her government should have arrested Khaleda Zia when her party was killing people with arson attacks. “But I didn’t arrest her at that time. I had demonstrated tolerance.”
Regarding the Bimstec summit in Nepal, Hasina said she had talks with the Myanmar President over Rohingya issue and the repatriation agreement signed between the two countries. Hasina said the Myanmar President told her that they are ready to take back those who want to go back to Myanmar.
The PM said she never wants confrontational situation with neighboruing country Myanmar. She said Myanmar never denies anything, and says it will take back the Rohingyas. But the reality is it doesn’t act accordingly.
Sheikh Hasina visited Nepal on Aug 30 and 31 to attend the two-day summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), a seven-nation economic bloc of the South Asia and South East Asia.