Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Jatiya Sangsad that none of the seasoned lawyers of Bangladesh Nationalist Party could prove its chairperson Khaleda Zia innocent during the 10-year trial in the case of embezzling orphans’ money.
Hasina made the remarks replying to a supplementary question from treasury bench member Nurjahan Begum during the prime ministers’ question-answer session.
Hasina said that Khaleda was convicted by the court for corruption, misappropriating orphans’ money after the trial in the case continued for 10 years.
‘We did not arrest [Khaleda] politically... we could have done that in 2015, or in 2014. But we did not do so,’ the prime minister said.
She pointed that the section 7 in BNP’s constitution, which mentioned that anyone charged with corruption could no longer remain in the party’s leadership, was dropped before the verdict against Khaleda was delivered.
‘Because they [BNP leaders] knew she [Khaleda] was the offender,’ said Hasina, ‘It is a stigma for the whole women community that a woman, being a mother, misappropriated orphan’s money.’
In her question, Nurjahan asked whether BNP’s recent threat that the next general election would not be allowed to be held without jailed Khaleda Zia was tantamount to snatching voting rights of the people and inviting evil powers.
The prime minister said that women’s development, empowerment and protection were possible when a democratic trend was maintained in the country.
Hasina said that her party wanted continuation of the democratic trend and continuation of the government for maintaining the pace of development.
Focusing on measures taken by Awami League government for women’s protection and empowerment, she said that it was possible to do those development activities as the democratic process continued in the country.
She said that Bangladesh could gain huge development and its women community got opportunities in all sectors due to the continuation of the government through the 2014 national election.
If there was no continuation of the government, women would be victims of torture, she said adding that many women were tortured and raped during the BNP tenure from 2001 to 2006.
In reply to another supplementary question from Jatiya party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid, the prime minister said that if her government retained power through the next parliamentary elections, Bangladesh would continue to be a peaceful, developed and prosperous country in the South Asia.
Mentioning future plans for the country’s development, she said that they would set up a deep seaport and another nuclear power plant in the country’s southern area.
Referring to the ongoing construction of a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, she said that she was searching for a site in the country’s southern part for setting up another nuclear power plant.
Hasina said that her government would turn every village into a town so that the people could enjoy urban services staying in the villages.
Replying to a question from Tarikat Federation MP MA Awal, the prime minister said that a total of 20,767 accused were arrested during the ongoing anti-drug drive.
She said that huge narcotics, arms and ammunition, and drug carrying vehicles were seized since May 18 during the anti-drug drive.
So far, 15,333 cases were filed in connection with drugs, she said adding that 1,289 people were sentenced to different jail terms through mobile courts.
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