Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the army officials to stay alert so that no undemocratic force can capture state power using them, as a vested quarter is carrying out propaganda to create a distance between Awami League and the armed forces.
“The armed forces need to be built in such a way so that they remain respectful to democracy, constitution and democratic government,” she said at a meeting with high army officials at Senakunja of Dhaka Cantonment.
Hasina mentioned that the members of the armed forces will to resist any activity that goes against the constitution and democracy at any cost. “You need to remember that democracy in the country has been established at the cost of huge sacrifice and struggle.”
In the past, the Prime Minister said, the Army had been used by vested quarters as a tool to disrupt the country’s democratic march forward.
“The country’s development was severely hampered due to such ill-efforts.”
She termed the armed forces as the symbol of independence and sovereignty and said her government will keep this institution above any unexpected interference.
“The present government won’t allow the armed forces to be used in party interest under any circumstances,” Hasina said adding that she firmly believes that it is very much essential to keep the armed forces free from political influence to give it an institutional shape.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for maintaining the chain of command of the armed forces at all levels without any hesitation as per the existing law.
Hasina said any gap between the senior and junior officers is not expected in any way. “A close relation of mutual understanding needs to be built,” she said.
In this connection, she mentioned that attention will have to be given to the activities, movement and thoughts of the junior officers so that they do not involve in anything that is contrary to discipline.
Sheikh Hasina said the responsibility for wrongdoing of juniors falls on the command and, in this case, close and regular contacts could play a vital role.
Turning to war crimes trial, the Prime Minister said when her government has taken initiatives for completing the war crimes trial an evil force has become active to impede the trial process using religion.
“You’ve witnessed some political parties got involved in killing, vandalism, torching and attacking police and the minority people to save the war criminals,” she said.
The premier mentioned that they have become desperate to turnBangladeshinto a terrorist and militant state. “We’ll have to take decisions whether we want a militant state or democratic and progressive state.”
Hasina added that she firmly believes that the society which is inspired with the spirit of the Liberation War must resist their evil design. “No evil force could exist in the world, and I’m sure they won’t exist either,” she said.
The Prime Minister said a vested quarter is carrying out propaganda to push the country towards conflicts and division, and foil the spirit of the Liberation War. In this connection, she called upon the armed forces officers to remain alert about their plot.
Regarding the BDR mutiny, she said the same kind of mutiny was staged in 1991 when BNP was in power. “But they didn’t take any step, rather they removed the then BDR DG.”
Hasina said many BDR members who had joined the 1991 mutiny led the 2009 mutiny. “I think the 2009 BDR mutiny could have been avoided had proper action been taken against the 1991 mutineers,” she said.
About the trial of BDR mutiny, she said many people now make various comments about the Peelkhana tragedy. “But we didn’t get anybody during that crisis,” she said.
Hasina said the government has taken stern actions against the BDR mutineers. “We have also taken necessary measures so that such a tragic incident doesn’t happen in this force in the future,” she said.
The Prime Minister asked the armed forces like other organisational forces to keep vigil to face any threat; protect the constitution and thus uphold democracy. “You’ll have to keep yourselves always ready remaining united to protect sovereignty of the country democratic,” she said.
Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral M Farid Habib and Acting Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshal Abu Eshrar also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier on her arrival at Senakunja, Sheikh Hasina, who is also in-charge of the defence ministry, was received by the chiefs of the three services and Principal Staff Officer (PSO) of the Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Abu Belal Md Shafiul Haque. UNB