Military intervention impossible: Hasina reminded Khaleda
23 February 2015, Nirapad News: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday reminded Khaleda Zia that there is no chance of military takeover in Bangladesh. Hasina warned the former Prime Minister: “There’s provision for capital punishment, those you are waiting for are aware of the consequences.”
Khaleda’s party, which boycotted the 2014 general election, is enforcing a violent blockade across Bangladesh demanding a snap election under a ‘neutral government’. The prime minister has already eliminated the possibility of talks with the agitating BNP-led coalition to end current political deadlock.
“She is hoping for a military intervention. She thinks someone in uniform will put her in power,” the prime minister said, taking a dig at the BNP chief. “She (Khaleda) doesn’t believe in democracy,” Hasina said of her bitter rival on Sunday.
Bangladesh has faced several military coups since independence. The military, too, has ruled out an intervention after some quarters spoke of the likelihood of a takeover. “Everyone knows what happened to Zia, Ershad, Moeen Uddin, and Fakhruddin. I don’t think anyone will make the same mistake.”
Hasina, speaking at a discussion in Dhaka, referred to the 15th Constitutional Amendment that closes out unauthorised takeovers. Khaleda’s husband and former military ruler General Ziaur Rahman, who came to power through a coup, was killed in a revolt in 1981. Zia was the founder of the BNP.
Another former army chief HM Ershad, founder of Jatiya Party, was toppled in a mass uprising in the early ‘90s. He has served time in jail in several corruption cases.
The last instance of army intervention was in 2007. Both Awami League Prime Minister Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia were arrested at the time.
Former chief of the army-backed caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed is currently living in the US. Then army chief Moeen Uddin Ahmed is in the US, too.
Sheikh Hasina criticized a section of civil society who had been pressing for a dialogue with the BNP. Without naming anyone from a 13-strong committee of ‘concerned citizens’, the prime minister recalled, “They lobbied a lot when we were in power to be cabinet secretary. We granted their wishes. They have become part of the civil society after retiring and now are giving us lessons.
“There’s a garments businessman. He talks a lot about the sector. He, too, has become one of the 13 members.”
The committee, led by former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, named former advisor SM Shahjahan, Jamilur Reja Chowdhury, Akbar Ali Khan, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Rokia Afzal Rahman, M Hafiz Uddin Khan and CM Shafi Sami, lawyer Shahdeen Malik, Policy Research Institute’s Director Ahsan Mansoor, SUJON General Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder, columnist Syed Abul Maksud and business leader Anowar-ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez.
The prime minister compared the violence unleashed during the BNP-led alliance’s agitation with that of the Pakistan occupation army. “The only thing they do is kill people in bombing and arson. They’ve started a mass killing like that of 1971.” Hasina criticised the BNP’s issuing statements from undisclosed locations and calling shutdowns. “She is at her office while some of her men are in hiding. They are calling general strikes in hiding.”
The prime minister came down hard on Khaleda for calling shutdown amid the ongoing SSC examinations. “She is calling shutdowns along with blockade since the SSC exams started to prevent the examinees from sitting the tests. “She sent her granddaughters abroad but didn’t think of others. “She does not think of anyone else other than herself,” the prime minister said of the BNP chief.