by Staff correspondent,
Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has categorically said the next general election, slated for voting in early next year, will be free and fair despite the fact that a section has been hatching conspiracy against Bangladesh.
“My power is only my people – nothing to happen to us whatever pressure is given. We will do whatever is required for the welfare of the people,” the prime minister told a news conference organized on her recent visit to Qatar.
Prime returned home from Doha on March 8 after attending the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC5: From Potential to Prosperity).
During her news conference, Hasina answered a number of questions than included politics, economy and diplomacy.
To a question on whether her ruling Awami League party would hold talks with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the prime minister replied in the negative.
The talks in the past did not yield any fruit, rather the BNP made the election questionable by boycotting the polls, Hasina said referring to a previous dialogue.
She reiterated that there has been no chance of vote rigging during the Awami League regime.
To question whether she is feeling any foreign pressure over the next general election in the context that the BNP has been lobbying foreigners and publication of an advertisement with the statement of 40 global personalities regarding Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, the prime minister said she does not bow to any pressure.
In this context, she said her government had constructed the Padma Bridge with its own finance, confronting all the hurdles, adding, “I have endured that pressure.”
She said numerous phone calls were made by ambassadors to foreign minister and from different countries to keep a person managing director of a bank though Bangladesh’s existing laws do not permit him to stay on that position after 60 years of age.
She questioned why a person wants to stay as managing director violating the country’s law and what his benefit is. “There might be one benefit of staying at that position — is acquiring a lot of money and laundering that,” she said.
About publishing an advertisement in the Washington Post in favour of Dr Yunus, Hasina questioned why an advertisement was published in a foreign newspaper in favour of a person who is famous as well as a Nobel laureate.
The Prime Minister said she could not do anything as the head of the government as there are laws and courts to deal with labour rights and tax evasion.
“If anyone breaches the laws, the court will look into the matter and what can I do as the head of the government?” she said expressing doubt about the intention of the advertisement published before the next general election.