Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday launched a blistering attack on Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia for her remarks that the government may declare a state of emergency to cling to power.
Khaleda, also BNP chief, on Wednesday at a rally of the BNP-led 18 party alliance, said the government was desperate to remain in power at any cost. Citing rumours, she claimed that emergency would be promulgated to ensure another term.
“Why will we promulgate the state of emergency? The question of declaring state of emergency does not arise!” the premier said while giving her closing speech at the 15th session of parliament.
“My question before the countrymen is whether she [Khaleda] is enforcing [agitation] programmes in the month of victory to bring emergency in,” said Hasina, also the Awami League president.
“Those for whom she [Khaleda] wants to bring the emergency will take the benefits. She will not get benefit,” said the prime minister citing the previous emergency declared in 2007 by then president Iajuddin Ahmed, who was elected by the BNP.
Hasina urged the BNP chief to return to parliament and speak what she wanted to say. “Do not push the country towards destruction. Do not try to take revenge against the countrymen,” she said.
In her 37-minute-long speech, the premier criticised Khaleda for announcing programmes in December.
From Wednesday's rally, the opposition leader announced various programmes including a countrywide road blockade on December 9 to press home its demand for the restoration of caretaker government system.
Hasina alleged that Khaleda announced the agitation programmes in the month of victory to “save the war criminals”. “It is a shame for the nation. I leave it to the countrymen to judge,” she added.
The premier said the opposition leader “constituted the 18-party alliance with the war criminals and killers”, who were also present with her at Wednesday's rally.
Referring to the latest constitutional amendment, the premier said: “We believe in people's empowerment. We have well ensured the protection of parliamentary democracy and people's empowerment through the amendment.”
She also rejected the opposition's demand for restoration of the caretaker government system and cited some remarks the BNP chief had made earlier “against the system”.
Hasina claimed that all the elections during the present government were held “free and fair”. “The Election Commission will conduct the next parliamentary polls,” she added.
During her speech, the premier narrated her government's various development activities, and anticipated that all those activities would be stopped “if the BNP-led alliance comes to power”.
The 15th session of the parliament, which began on November 14 amid boycott by the BNP-led opposition MPs, was prorogued last night after 10 sitting days.