It feels unfortunate to hear the leaders of the BNP, a political party led by military dictator Ziaur Rahman that emerged illegally by defying the constitution and turned Bangladesh into a place for violence and militancy, talking about morality, says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
People in Bangladesh did not even have the right to vote during the BNP’s rule, the prime minister said via video conferencing during a ‘voluntary blood donation drive’ organised by the Bangladesh Krishak League on Monday to mark National Mourning Day.
“It’s unfortunate that leaders from a political party formed illegally by a military dictator who seized power are now talking of morality. They turned Bangladesh into a country of arms smugglers, violence and militancy. They created Bangla Bhai,” she said.
Hasina highlighted the bad governance of the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islam coalition government's tenure and the ‘controversial’ elections held at that time.
The BNP's decisions led to food scarcity in the country and presented Bangladesh as a ‘beggar nation’ globally while soliciting alms, she said.
“Actually, it wasn’t begging but a business. The BNP planned to buy food, run a business and cut a commission from it.”
The prime minister blamed the BNP for being involved in arms smuggling and said one BNP leader had confessed to it themselves. The BNP used help from intelligence agencies to do these things, she said.
“One consignment of ten trucks full of arms was caught. Who knows how many consignments were smuggled.”
The BNP made Bangladesh completely dependent on other countries and destroyed the safety and security of the people, said Hasina. “During their rule, terrorism, militancy and violence prevailed in the country and Bangladesh topped the list of most corrupted nations five times. Almost every educational institution had people carrying arms there. The meritorious students were given arms and used as mercenaries, arming the whole education system. The literacy rate dropped to 45-50 percent again.”
She said no one could cast their votes in the Oct 1 election in 2001. The BNP deployed the army across the country, its goons entered every polling booth and stamped ballots, or else they simply announced the BNP candidate the winner, she said.
“People saw this in Magura, Mirpur and the Dhaka-10 polls.”
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her family are involved in money laundering and the government has already recovered the laundered money, the prime minister said. “Why do they forget this? We don’t need to report their corruption, but the American FBI has already found out about the corruption of Khaleda Zia and Tarique Zia.”
Hasina recalled the dream nurtured by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to bring happiness and positive change to the lives of the people of Bangladesh. He dreamed that Bangladeshi people could live with dignity and never need to seek alms from others, Hasina said.
“A nation of beggars has no dignity, as the Father of the Nation says. We’re working to reach that goal so Bangladesh never becomes a nation of beggars.”