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Khaleda in jail for graft, PM tells parliament

'20,767 so far arrested in anti-drug drive'

July 12, 2018 00:00:00

SANGSAD BHABAN, July 11 (UNB): Pointing at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Wednesday the government did not arrest her out of any political motive but she is in jail after being convicted by the court for the embezzlement of orphans' money.

"We didn't arrest her for politics. Had we wanted so, we could've done that in 2015 and 2014. She's in jail due to a court verdict. The case proceedings continued for 10 years," she told Parliament replying to a supplementary question from Awami League MP Nurjahan Begum (Women Seat-42).

The Prime Minister said the BNP chairperson is in jail after being convicted on corruption charges for embezzling orphans' money.

"There're many seasoned lawyers and barristers in BNP. But all of them failed to prove that Khaleda Zia is innocent," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said BNP changed section-7 of the party's charter just before the court's verdict against Khaleda Zia as BNP leaders knew that she is an offender.

As per the section-7 of BNP's charter, anyone being convicted on corruption charge cannot remain in the party's leadership position.

"This is a stigma (Kolonko) for the women community as a woman means a mother. How a person being a mother steals or misuses money of an orphan. It's a shame for our women community," Hasina said.

Focusing on different measures taken by Awami League government for women's protection and empowerment, she said it was possible to carry out these development activities as the democratic process continues in the country.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been able to make huge progress and women are availing of various opportunities in all sectors due to the continuation of the government through the 2014 national election.

"Had there been no continuation of the government, the women would have been the victims of torture," Hasina said adding that many women were tortured and raped during BNP's rule from 2001 to 2006.

"I think women empowerment is possible when a democratic process continues in a country," she said.

The Prime Minister said they always want a democratic process to continue in Bangladesh and the country will march forward smoothly as it does now.

About the election system, she said more than 6,000 elections -- local government polls and by-polls -- were held under her government but no one could raise any question against any election.

In reply to another supplementary question from Jatiya Party MP Kazi Firoz Rashid (Dhaka-6), the Prime Minister said if her government returns to power through the next parliamentary elections, Bangladesh will be made a peaceful, developed and prosperous country in South Asia.

Describing various future plans for the country's development, she said they will set up a deep seaport, another nuclear power plant in the country's southern area.

Noting that now Bangladesh is constructing a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, she said she is searching for a site in the country's southern area for setting up another nuclear power plant.

Hasina said her government will turn every village into a town so that people can enjoy urban facilities staying in rural areas.

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