Dhaka – Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia on Sunday urged the government to form anti-terrorism unity burying political divisions to restore peace and democracy in Bangladesh.
“None of the achievements of us will last if we failed to curb militancy,” Khaleda, also a former prime minister, told a press conference organised a day after the military troops stormed a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone and recovered bodies of 20 hostages killed by suspected Islamists.
The troops also killed six terrorists who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone Friday night.
“It is not important who will remain in office or who will go to power. We will not be there one day, but the country, the nation will remain and we need to work for that,” she said.
“So, let’s forget all the divisions and forge anti-terrorism unity soon to build up a peaceful, secured democratic Bangladesh,” she added.
The BNP chairperson said the entire country is at stake as criminals are attacking imams, priests, fathers, bloggers and working class people.
“Religious minorities are being attacked. Our religious harmony is being destroyed. None is safe today. This fear, this killing holly should be stopped. Bloodshed should have to be stopped. We have to be united. People have to be united,” she said.
Khaleda thanked the world community who expressed shock at the Gulshan terror attack and offered assistance for Bangladesh.
“I hope that they will continue their assistance to counter terrorism respecting our state’s sovereignty.”
She said that the existing problem is not a mere law enforcement problem, it cannot be addressed only by the law enforcement agencies.
“The problem is deep rooted. The crisis will be worsened if the anti-terror activities are turned to harass the political activities,” she said.
Khaleda said absence of democracy, autocratic ruling, intolerance, absence of rule of law, economic deprivations and lack of quality education are the reasons of uprising terrorism.
“It is not possible to eradicate terrorism from the society if the reasons were not addressed adopting short and midterm steps. I think without peoples’ participation, it would not be possible to face this national crisis.”
Khaleda alleged that the Gulshan Restaurant terror attack is not only an attack on a restaurant rather it is an attack on national security, peace, stability and confidence of Bangladeshi people.
The terror attack projected the weakness of the country’s security system.
“We were familiar with the criminals’ clandestine attacks but their activities are not covert anymore. We are concerned deeply.”
Khaleda thanked the armed forces for proving their ability and necessity once again in the national crisis and thanked naval force, air force, police, RAB, BGB, Fire services and intelligent officials and media people who worked in the crisis.
She condemned the killing and offered shock at the families of the deceased and also expressed sympathy to the injured.