Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said in parliament that despite being a woman and mother, BNP chief Khaleda Zia embezzled orphans' money, which is “shameful and a stigma” for country's women.
While replying to lawmakers' queries, she also said Khaleda was not arrested due to political reasons; she is now in jail following conviction by the court after 10 years of legal battle in the case.
“We didn't arrest her for political reasons. If we wanted to, we could do it in 2015 or 2014. She is in prison due to a court verdict,” she said in reply to a question from Awami League lawmaker Nurjahan Begum (women's seat-42).
The prime minister said there are many seasoned lawyers and barristers in BNP, but none of them could prove Khaleda Zia's innocence.
She said BNP amended Section-7 of the party's charter just before the court's verdict against Khaleda Zia as BNP leaders knew that she is guilty.
As per the section, anyone being convicted on corruption charge cannot hold the party's leadership position.
Pointing to the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the PM said, “It is a stigma for the country's women... How could a mother steal or misuse the money of an orphan? It is shameful for us, women.”
Hasina said her government always wants a democratic process to continue.
About the election system, she said more than 6,000 elections -- local government polls and by-polls -- were held during the current tenure of her government but no one could raise any significant question against any election.
In another reply, the PM said a second nuclear power plant will be constructed in the country's southern region. “I have already collected photographs of different chars in southern region.... And I asked for more.”
She also mentioned various mega projects including construction of an international airport, deep sea port, Asian highway and inclusion in the Trans-Asian Railway.
In a scripted answer, the PM said a huge quantity of illegal drugs, arms and ammunitions were recovered during the anti-narcotics drive going on across the country since May 18.
She said 15,333 cases were filed so far and 20,767 people arrested in drug-related cases. Moreover, 1,289 people were given jail sentences by mobile courts during the drive, the PM said.
Focusing on different measures taken by her government for women's protection and empowerment, Hasina said it was possible to carry out these development activities as the democratic process is continuing in the country.
She said Bangladesh has been able to make huge progress and women got opportunity in all sectors because of the continuation of the government through the 2014 election.
Replying to Jatiya Party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid (Dhaka-6), Hasina said if her government assumes power through the next election, Bangladesh will become a peaceful, developed and prosperous country in South Asia.
She said her government will turn every village into a town so that people can enjoy urban facilities staying in rural areas.