Coming down heavily on the chief justice for comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she was not at all scared of “such a threat and this was not tolerable either”.
“This is very disgraceful that Bangladesh has been compared with Pakistan. This is not tolerable at all,” she said.
The PM was speaking at a discussion at the city's Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh, marking the gruesome grenade attack at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.
“Why will Bangladesh be compared with Pakistan? Why will a comparison be made with the Pakistani prime minister? There will be no use issuing such a threat to me,” she said without naming the CJ.
The PM made the comments referring to some statements made by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha during the hearing of a case in the Supreme Court on Sunday.
Hasina said it could not be acceptable that a Pakistan court removing its PM through a verdict would be used as a threat in Bangladesh.
She said people have the strongest power in Bangladesh and it has been enshrined in the constitution.
“People's court is the biggest court; no one can ignore it... I'm lodging my complaint with this court.... I want justice from people's court.”
The premier said that usurping state power would not be allowed further in Bangladesh and if anyone tried to do so, he must face trial according to article 7 of the constitution.
The higher court was suddenly making “some political comments and issuing threats”, she added.
Citing the SC observations that “lawmakers were criminals” and there were businessmen in parliament, the PM said, “Doing business is not a sin. What's the problem if any businessman becomes an MP?”
Mentioning that the president, as per the constitution, appoints the PM and the CJ, Hasina said the CJ was trying to snatch the president's power. “How can he take away the constitutional power from the president while he himself has been appointed by the president?”
About the Supreme Judicial Council, she said the CJ chose the system introduced by Ziaur Rahman who had grabbed power illegally.
“The chief justice doesn't like some articles that were in the original constitution, but he likes the Supreme Judicial Council which was introduced by Ziaur Rahman through some martial law ordinances.”
Hasina criticised Sinha for blocking the Anti-Corruption Commission's probe against Justice Joynal Abedin for giving “a false report on the August 21 grenade attack as ordered by the then BNP government”.
The PM said, “When the ACC sought to conduct an inquiry, the chief justice issued a letter stating that the probe can't go ahead. How could he say that being the chief justice? Saving a corrupt person and pampering him are not the tasks of the chief justice. This is showing negligence towards the constitution.”
About the 16th amendment verdict, she said she was doubtful whether the other judges of the Appellate Division of the SC had the scope to freely give their opinion. “The chief justice might have not given them that scope.”
She said there were many “irrelevant issues” in the verdict. Those issues should be placed before the nation because those could mislead the people, she added.
About the SC observations on the reserved seats for women MPs, the PM said the CJ might have forgotten the appointment process. “He was appointed by the president who is elected by lawmakers. He should have resigned from his post before making any comment on the election process of the women MPs or after delivering the verdict.”
Mentioning that there were many “contradictions” in the judgment, she said she was reading it and taking notes. “I'll speak about those in parliament.”
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Awami League leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, the PM placed wreaths at a makeshift memorial for those killed in the August 21 grenade attack. The memorial was set up by the AL in front of the Krishibid Institution.
Cabinet members, PM's advisers, senior leaders of the AL and 14-party combine and family members of the martyrs and those injured in the Aug 21 attack were present.
After the programme, Hasina met some relatives of the victims.