Zia, Ershad, Khaleda ‘did the same thing’: Hasina slams BNP, Jatiya Party

Sheikh Hasina has lashed out at the BNP and the Jatiya Party in a sharp reaction to criticisms of her government about democracy, judiciary and education,

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 3 July 2021, 09:46 PM
Updated : 3 July 2021, 09:46 PM

The prime minister pointed out that both the BNP and the Jatiya Pary had their origin in military rule while the Awami League was born with the plan to liberate the Bengalis.   

She also recalled the rules of Ziaur Rahman, the founder of the BNP, HM Ershad, the founder of the Jatiya Party, and the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

“Zia, Khaleda Zia, Ershad – all flowers of the same stalk. They did the same thing,” Hasina said in parliament on Saturday.

“What do those, who were born from the pockets of military usurpers, understand about democracy? What will they teach us about democracy?” she asked in her closing remarks of the budget session.     

Recalling how the Awami League and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the nation in the struggle for independence, she said the party survived bids to destroy it because its roots were strong.

Bangabandhu, the founding father of the nation, was assassinated along with most members of the family in the Aug 15, 1975 carnage, four years after independence. His daughters Hasina and Rehana survived the massacre as they were abroad.

Zia then grabbed power to become the first military dictator of the country. He later formed the BNP.

After Zia’s assassination in a coup, the then army chief Ershad became president. To legitimise his rule, he formed the Jatiya Party.

Khaleda ruled the country as prime minister in two terms from 1991 and 2001 after Ershad was deposed in a movement led by herself and Hasina to restore democracy.

Hasina was elected prime minister in 1996 and then returned to power in 2009. She has been heading the government for the record third consecutive term.

“The Awami League has stayed on in power because it formed government in a democratic manner. And the country has developed because the Awami League continued in power,” Hasina said.

“And those who usurped power spent the time making money and living a luxurious life out of fear that they will lose power.”

Late Ershad’s brother GM Quader, now the chairman of the Jatiya Party and the deputy leader of the opposition in parliament, had hit out at the government over the appointment of judges.

“I want to remind you how General Ershad sacked judges. Justice Kamal Uddin Hossain was hearing a case when he was sacked from the office of chief justice. He (Justice Kamal) did not even know that he had already lost his job,” Hasina said.

The situation was “worse” during the BNP government, she added. “They appointed a judge with fake certificates and got caught red-handed. And another judge was seen discussing a verdict intimately with the general secretary of Chhatra Dal (BNP’s student wing).”    

“The BNP also set an example by raising the age of a judge to give him the opportunity to become the head of the next caretaker government.”

The prime minister said courts came under bomb attacks from militants during the BNP’s tenure but the Awami League took steps for the development of the judiciary.

“And now they (BNP) lecture us about the judiciary and appointment of judges.”

The prime minister slammed the BNP and the Jatiya Party for expressing concern about the education sector.

“What had happened during their rule? Murders, bombings, shootings, session logjam were common at the universities. The Awami League put an end to these after coming to power.”

She said Bangabandhu’s self-confessed killers Khandaker Abdur Rashid and Syed Faruque Rahman had said in an interview with the BBC that they could never conspire to murder Bangabandhu without the support of Zia.

Zia followed in the footsteps of Pakistani General Ayub Khan to usurp power, Hasina said.

“Bangabandhu made Ziaur Rahman deputy chief of the army so that he could keep his family together. After the killing of Bangabandhu, Zia became the army chief and president.”

“Ayub Khan did the same thing. Iskander Mirza (former president of Pakistan) made Ayub Khan army chief, and then Ayub Khan dumped Iskander Mirza to become president. Zia followed in the footsteps of Ayub Khan and declared himself president.”

Hasina said Zia ordered the killings of Awami League leaders and officers of the armed forces who had fought in Bangladesh’s Liberation War.

“The families did not even get the bodies (of those were killed).”

“The killings continued night after the night. There were 10 hangings per day on orders from Zia. That Zia, wearing the uniform, started doing politics and launched a party. This is what the BNP is.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher