PM Hasina snubs calls for talks with BNP

Ruling out the possibility of any dialogue with the opposition party, BNP, PM Sheikh Hasina said the people do not want any talks with the "killers".


File photo of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaking at an event. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

November 1, 2023

DHAKA – Ruling out the possibility of any dialogue with the BNP, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the people do not want any talks with the “killers”.

Speaking at a press conference at the Gono Bhaban, she also reaffirmed that the next general election will be held on time and no one can stop it.

The event was organised to brief the media about the outcome of the PM’s recent visit to Belgium, reports UNB and BSS.

Hasina denounced the recent “violent activities by the BNP-Jamaat” in the name of an anti-government movement.

She said the BNP has once again proved through “resorting to violence” on October 28 that it is a “terrorist” party.

The premier threatened to go tough on the BNP if it did not stop the violence. She said those who burn buses would be identified, arrested, and punished.

“I think the hands they use to set a bus on fire should be burned immediately. If this is done, they will learn a lesson, else not,” the PM said responding to a query.

Hasina said if the BNP do not stop, they will face the consequences. “These won’t be allowed to go unpunished. As a terrorist party, they need to get a good lesson.

“The BNP actually does not want an election. They want to create an unusual situation.”

Responding to a query about the proposal by US Ambassador Peter Haas on holding talks without preconditions, Hasina said, “With whom the dialogue should be held? Is Biden holding a dialogue with Mr Trump? The day Biden and Mr Trump will hold talks, I will do also.

“Let him [Peter Haas] have dinner and talks,” she said.

The AL chief blasted the international organisation of journalists for being silent over the attack on 40-45 journalists by “BNP men” on October 28.

On polls-time government, she said, “We are not going to form an election-time government. Rather, the incumbent cabinet will continue routine work to run the country during the polls. The work of the government is hindered if the cabinet is downsized.”

The PM said they followed this system in 2018 even though a polls-time cabinet was formed in 2014 comprising representatives of different political parties.

Hasina said the ministers would not be able to enjoy government’s facilities after the announcement of the election schedule as per the Representation of the People Order (RPO). “They will have to seek votes just as a candidate.”

She said Bangladesh would follow the election-time government system that of Australia, Canada, India, England and other countries with parliamentary democracies.

Blasting the BNP, the PM said they attacked the police hospital and killed people like the Israelis did in Palestine. “There is no difference between the BNP and Israel as the brutality of the attack was the same.”

She criticised the BNP for not making any statement protesting the Israeli attack on Palestine.

Hasina said the BNP would not be able to stop the next general election by resorting to violence like they could not in 2014 and 2018.

About unrest at some garments factories, the premier asked the garment workers to refrain from violence as negotiations over re-fixing their minimum wages were underway.

She said her government on three occasions raised the workers’ minimum wages to Tk 8,300 from only Tk 1,600 in just 14 years.

She said the loss of two lives was very unfortunate.

About the price hike of essentials, Hasina said she has already directed the authorities concerned to take action against the hoarders rather than against retailers.

She said the commodity prices are raised artificially. The hoarders do not want to reduce the prices even when their goods start to rot, the PM added.

Hasina termed her visit to Belgium “very successful”. “The partnership with the European Union has reached a new height during the visit.”

She said Bangladesh has been assured of cooperation so that it continues to enjoy its business facilities in the European Union.

The PM said during her visit Bangladesh signed several agreements with the European Investment Bank and European Commission under which Bangladesh would get €477 as loan and grants in renewable energy and social sectors.

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