Vol. 5 Num 559 Thu. December 22, 2005  
Front Page

PM warns against anarchy
Asks a 'particular leader' to restrain tongue or face sedition charge

In an oblique reference to the opposition leader, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday warned her of sedition charges for "creating anarchy" in the country.

"Restrain your tongue" don't make any flaring remarks, refrain from creating anarchy, else sedition charges will be brought against you," she said.

Without naming anyone, the BNP chairperson also asked the particular 'leader' to abstain from issuing "provocative statements".

The government cannot be toppled by creating anarchy and blasting bombs, and any such bid will be thwarted with an iron hand, the prime minister told a huge public rally in the city's Paltan Maidan.

The rally organised by the ruling BNP turned into a human sea with party activists and supporters coming in thousands from across the country.

Khaleda expressed her government's firm resolve to rout militancy and said the militants will be put on trial under the Speedy Trial Act. She said anyone trying to create trouble will be dealt with accordingly and nobody will be spared.

She asked the opposition to keep away from the path of conspiracy and destructive politics, and get involved in the roadmap of development.

The PM said elections will be held in time and according to the constitution. "If people vote for you, you will come to power," she told the opposition parties.

BNP has come to power winning a two-third majority and the democratically elected government will not be confused by anyone's provocation, she said.

The BNP chairperson urged the nationalist forces and those who believe in Islamic values to get united to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh.

Listing her government's development programmes in the last four years, Khaleda urged the people to strengthen BNP to continue the development activities. She also appealed to the people to once again give their mandate for BNP.

The past Awami League government's "misrule", the opposition's "destructive politics", suicide bombing, and the government's endeavour to root out the militants featured prominently in her 50-minute speech.

She was critical of the opposition in a large part of her speech.

The prime minister asked the people to be cautious about the conspiracy of the country's enemies, without specifying who are the enemies.

Leaders and activists from the capital and 64 districts travelling by bus, launch and train began to assemble at the Paltan Maidan since the morning.

By the time the meeting began in the afternoon the Paltan Maidan and its surrounding areas got submerged by thousands of BNP leaders and activists.

The slogan-chanting BNP supporters thronged the meeting venue in small processions carrying the portraits of party founder late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman as well as the national and party flags.

Slogans like "Resist militants and save democracy", "Khaleda Zia, you move on, we are behind you", "People are the source of power and BNP is the torch-bearer of development" were painted on the chest and back of some activists.

They were also carrying sheaves of paddy, BNP's election symbol, and holding banners, placards and festoons. Many of the processions also included musical bands.

Referring to the ongoing bomb attacks, the prime minister urged people to help arrest the extremists. "It is not possible to install CCTV (closed-circuit television) everywhere in the country, people are our CCTV."

Urging the people to remain alert about the militants she said the people must inform the police whenever they come across any militants.

"Don't give them shelter... One can't become martyr and cannot go to heaven by killing people. They are enemies of the nation, country, democracy and Islam...they are terrorists, they want to destroy the country," she said.

Khaleda said the militants have no faith in Islamic values and they want to disturb peace and discipline in the country. "The government will not spare anyone of them."

She thanked the Alems (Islamic scholars) for their role in combating the militants. She also appreciated the police, Rapid Action Battalion, BDR, Ansar and intelligence agencies' performance in the battle against the extremists.

She said those who are carrying out bombings using the name of Islam have actually taken side against Islam. "They are giving false interpretation of Islam and misguiding people. It's a sin," she said.

The prime minister also requested all political parties, social institutions and cultural organisations to become more active on the militancy issue.

Those who are conspiring and not joining in the national dialogue do not want democratic practices to take a firm root, the prime minister said.

"Everybody else is united today except for them. Pirs, ulema, and people irrespective of their religion and origins are united with the government to maintain democratic practices, development process, peace and to root out terrorism. We have already made much progress and hope to be successful," she said.

"Everybody has taken part in the national dialogue, political parties, professionals' bodies, business leaders, except the main opposition. They even did not receive the invitation of the government, what kind of party it is!"

Criticising the oppositions, the premier said they are hatching conspiracy against the country as they do not do politics for the people.

They did not do any development work, destroyed the economics and could not ensure public security.

"People will never again vote for them no matter how big a coalition they form. The result will be zero. People have no faith in them," she said.

On the oppositions' ultimatum, she said it will not be able to force the government to step down.

"I have heard they have issued another ultimatum. We will remain in power until our tenure and meet you again here."

The oppositions have gone mad seeing BNP's development programmes, they now want to split the coalition at any cost, she said.

Without mentioning any name, the prime minister said those who want to see Bangladesh remain dependent on others are conspirators. "We have faith in Allah. People are the source of our power."

Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman said as long as Sheikh Hasina remains the opposition leader democracy cannot be established in the country.

Over the last four years the country's economy has grown much stronger and foreign investment is increasing, he claimed.

BNP Secretary General and LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan said it does not matter if a particular party does not take part in the national dialogue; the government taking the people along with it will root out the militants.

"And you will be identified as the accomplices of the militants," he told the opposition.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain claimed that BNP alone has been able to hold a rally with ten times more people than that of the 14-party opposition combine's rally at Paltan Maidan.

Environment and Forest Minister Tariqul Islam said when AL was in power they had patronised the bombers. No bombers were brought to justice during their rule. "It is Khaleda Zia who has declared a war against the militants."

The rally was also addressed, among others, by BNP's senior leaders Moudud Ahmed, KM Obidur Rahman, Khandakar Mahbubuddin Ahmed, Ashraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Selima Rahman, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Harris Chowdhury, Amanullah Aman, Barkatullah Bulu and Abdus Salam.

Senior ministers, state and deputy ministers, lawmaker, BNP standing committee members M Shamsul Islam, MK Anwar, Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman, central leaders Mafiqul Hasan Tripti, Emran Saleh Prince were also present.

A bird's-eye view of the BNP's grand rally in Paltan Maidan in the capital yesterday. PHOTO: Amran Hossain