Won't allow BNP to upset this year's polls: Hasina
Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the next elections slated for December would be held in time and her government would not let ex-premier Khaleda Zia's BNP to upset the polls over her imprisonment on graft charges.
Zia, 72, was sentenced to five years in jail by a Dhaka court on February 8 on charges of corruption involving an orphanage named after her slain husband and military ruler Ziaur Rahman.
"What we could do if they want to abstain from the elections...the court has awarded her the imprisonment, we did not and (so) we can t withdraw it either, Hasina told reporters.
She said the case against Zia was lodged in 2008 by the past military-backed interim government and the independent Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) carried out its investigation.
The trial ran for long 10 years when she (she) exhausted all options to upset the process through filing over 80 writ petitions, getting the trial judges changed thrice expressing no confidence (on their neutrality) and got the hearing deferred for 109 times in the name of hearing preparedness, Hasina said.
The premier said the chief of the past interim government Fakhruddin Ahmed was a trusted bureaucrat of Zia.
Yet she was convicted of graft for embezzling money... such a crime draws punitive actions both from divinity and mundane court, Hasina said.
Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party had also boycotted the 2014 general election over the polls time interim government system. Demonstrations by Zia s BNP and its Islamist allies in 2014 and 2015 had left nearly 500 people dead.
Zia, however, appears to be seeking to contest the next polls set for December this year.
Analysts feel that the BNP is now in a political wilderness after Zia's conviction, which is likely to disqualify her from contesting elections.