Acute political rivalry in Bangladesh between two main leaders, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia continues to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the nation with plenty of poor and marginalized sections suffering from acute economic problems, including poverty and diseases for too long now.
During her recent visit to London, the opposition BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia launched a scathing attack on the governing Awami League at a meeting organized by her party’s UK chapter at Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel on November 1.
Calling the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a monster and Lady Hitler, Khaleda Zia has called for ‘national unity’ to topple the Awami League government, claiming Sheikh Hasina has established ‘monarchy’ in Bangladesh.
The former premier of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia currently stays in London with his son and family- far away from PM Hasina’s oppressive tactics against opposition leaders.
The BNP chief told the expatriate leaders and activists that she would return home soon to revamp the party for anti-government movement. The former prime minister attacked the government for the law and order situation, which she said was “worst in the country’s history”. “The people of Bangladesh are not well today. They are not in peace. Harassments are crossing the limit every day,” Khaleda said. Without naming Sheikh Hasina, she said, “Bangladesh is now a monarchy. There is Lady Hitler running this monarchy.” “Because all her soldiers, I mean the administration, are only carrying out her orders. Everything is done on her order,” she added.
Citing an interview that Hasina gave to the BBC after the assassination of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the BNP chief said, “Hasina said: ‘I’ll go to Bangladesh to take revenge, not to do politics’. She has not come to build the country. She has come to destroy it,” Khaleda said. She blamed the Awami League government for the rise of militancy. “It is Hasina who is shouting militants, militants, but why? It is to frighten the foreigners. “She wants to make them understand that militancy will rear its head if the BNP comes to power,” Khaleda, her arch political rival, said. “But you see that militancy rose during the Awami League regime. They did not arrest any militant. We arrested all of them,” she claimed.
The BNP chairperson, however, admitted that her party failed to mount a strong anti-government movement in capital Dhaka. “We could not organize the protests strongly in Dhaka . They open fire every time you hit the street.”But, she claimed, the protests in the other parts of the country were “more intense than they were the Liberation War.” She alleged the government torched vehicles during the protests but blamed it on the BNP leaders and activists. She also alleged the government killed 3,000 BNP leaders and activists, abducted 1,200, and shot dead 1,012 in so-called ‘crossfire’.
Khaleda was the chief guest at the ‘Civic Meeting’.
Khaleda slated RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed for the deaths in ‘crossfire’. “There is no account of how many people he (Benazir) has killed.” She emphasised bringing people from all parties and views to bring down the Awami League. “We’ll have to build national unity,” she said. She exchanged greetings with the supporters on Eid on Sep 24 in a programme that descended into utter chaos.
The former prime minister thinks many of the ministers “do not even deserve to be MP”. She alleged many skilled officials have been kept out of work by way of ‘nepotism in the civil administration’.
In the beginning of her speech, she praised the UK for its law and order. “I have seen many things in the past one and a half months. I am delighted. I think there are many good things to learn from their law and order… the good laws,” she said, adding that Bangladesh could implement these laws by learning from the UK.
The BNP chief is staying with his son Tarique, who is deputy chief of the BNP, and his family in London. “I have come here to spend some time with my family,” she said. But she said she wanted to return home now. “I’ve met them after a long time and they are not willing to let me go,” she said. “But you know the condition of the country. Now I need to return home,” she added. “But I need to return because they cannot take any decision if something happens,” she added.
Meanwhile, UK Awami League leaders and activists demonstrated against the BNP chief outside the hotel. The Hasina government supports India and gets some “gifts” while Khaleda opposes India for its deliberate troubles created for Bangladesh’s growth into a strong Islamic nation. PM Hasina hits that return of Khaleda t power would bolster Pakistan-Bangladesh relations, may not be well for the country.