Days before Bangladesh goes for 11th general elections, scheduled to be held on December 30, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused opposition BNP leaders of trying to sabotage the polls with the help of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.
“Why only blame Pakistan and ISI? If at all we have to blame, we should blame the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The BNP is taking bribe and money from the ISI to destroy the democratic structure of the country. There is no love for the country and its people. They do not want the country to make any progress,” Hasina told in an exclusive interview to Zee Media.
While Sheikh Hasina is seeking to return to power for a third consecutive time, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia who is serving a 10-year jail sentence on corruption charges has been barred from contesting the polls. Zia’s BNP and other opposition parties had boycotted the earlier general elections held in 2014 and the ruling Awami League won with almost more than 150 seats being uncontested.
Sheikh Hasina also took a dig at the main opposition party in Bangladesh saying that the BNP leaders were charged with committing war crimes in 1971.
“In 1971, they were defeated in the country. They have been charged with war crimes and grenade attacks in the country. People rejected them and brought us to power. They killed our people and intellectuals. People of Bangladesh have not forgotten those days. They are extremely cautious about whom to vote and they are going to reject BNP,” added Hasina who is also the head of Bangladesh Awami League.
Jamaat-e-Islami, which was opposed to Bangladesh’s 1971 independence from West Pakistan, is a crucial ally of BNP and is contesting from 25 seats in the parliamentary polls on the symbol of BNP. Most of the senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, who sided with Pakistani troops in carrying out atrocities and genocide in then East Pakistan, were executed in the past five years after being convicted by special tribunals on 1971 war crimes charges.
The Prime Minister affirmed that Bangladesh believes in zero tolerance for terrorism in the country. She even backed India’s policy on Pakistan of no dialogue and deliberations till it puts an end to cross border terrorism.