If Zia declared independence, how could he suspend war crimes trail?: PM Sheikh Hasina

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today castigated the main opposition BNP for its move to describe President Ziaur Rahman as the declarer of the country’s independence saying that only the leader who earned the people’s mandate had the right to proclaim independence. new_imagealllllllllll09876.jpgShe said mere reading out the message of independence by a person does not mean that he was the declarer of independence as it requires many things, including taking preparations, before proclamation of independence. “If Zia is the declarer of independence, how could he suspend the trial of war criminals and rehabilitate them in the country’s politics,” she questioned while taking part in a discussion here this afternoon. Bangladesh Awami League organised the discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) marking the Independence and National Day-2011. Sheikh Hasina said Ziaur Rahman, after assuming power, had freed 11,000 war criminals who were detained on charges of rape, killing and arson during the country’s War of Liberation in 1971 and rehabilitated them in politics and made them members of parliament and even ministers. Sheikh Hasina said it was Zia, the founder of BNP, who also distorted the country’s history and took a total move to erase the name of Awami League from the country. The Prime Minister said President Ziaur Rahman killed hundreds of freedom fighter military officers although he came to power banking on the army. “He (Zia) did it so that the armed forces could not stand as a strong force in independent Bangladesh,” she added. Mentioning the Colonel Taher case, Sheikh Hasina said it is easily understandable how cunning Ziaur Rahman was. He (Zia) did not hesitate to kill his close friend Taher who saved his (Zia’s) life, she added. She said Ziaur Rahman took corruption and nepotism as his policy and did all to destroy achievements of independence as he did not want that the fruits of independence reach the doorsteps of the people. Referring to the recently approved Women Development Policy, the Prime Minister said a vested interest group has been spreading misleading information relating religion with the policy in a bid to gain political interest. She categorically said that her government never formulated any act in the past that goes against the Quran and Sunnah and will not frame such act in future. “We are working to smoothen and securing the life of people and improving their living standards as it is our responsibility,” she added.

On a threat given by Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini that her party will topple Awami League from power, she cited a verse of ‘Surah Al Imran’ and said only Almighty Allah can give a person honour and can take it away from him. In this context, she referred to various programmes undertaken by her previous and present governments for development of religion in the country that included making religious education compulsory in the education policy.
Refuting the opposition allegation, she said her government has been working relentlessly for ensuring social and economic freedom for the people and building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh with the spirit of the country’s War of Independence. She called upon all to supplement the government efforts to build a poverty-free “Sonar Bangla” as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Among others, Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) A K Khondakar, Awami League General Secretary and LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, former home minister Mohammad Nasim, Foreign Minister and Joint General Secretary Dr Dipu Moni, Adviser to the Prime Minister H T Imam, State Minister for Housing and Public Works Abdul Mannan Khan, City AL President M A Aziz and General Secretary Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya took part in the discussion, presided over by Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury.