Chattogram, Feb 18: Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said introducing a universal pension scheme for the people aged above 60 is the brainchild of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“No political party, including BNP, has ever demanded for this.
Even the civil society or those who make bigger talks on television screens after midnight or those who try to impart knowledge to the nation didn’t demand the issue,” he said.
He said this while exchanging views with journalists on contemporary issues at Chattogram Circuit House.
Hasan, also Joint General Secretary of Awami League (AL), said Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to transform the country into a social welfare state.
He said BNP has been ringing the farewell bell of the AL government at their Naya Paltan office since twelve years.
“People will decide how many years the government will serve them.
The people elected us in the last two elections and gave us the responsibility to run the government,” he said.
Mentioning that the country has witnessed unprecedented development under the dynamic leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the minister hoped the people will again cast their votes in favor of Sheikh Hasina in the next election and give the responsibility to her to run the government.
Chairman of Chattogram Zila Parishad and President of Chattogram North District Awami League MA Salam and General Secretary of Chattogram City AL and former City Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin were present on the occasion.
Responding to a question of journalists over the demand of SUJAN for publishing the names of 10 people recommended by the search committee for the formation of the next Election Commission, Hasan Mahmud said: “Who is this SUJAN?”
SUJAN is an NGO and even this NGO has no branches or units in the country, he mentioned.
SUJAN is an NGO with some special individuals and they raise funds from various organizations, even once SUJAN took fund from the EC, he said.
Former Chief Election Commissioner has also raised questions about that, he said, adding:”My question is that why SUJAN is giving advice in that way and why media is giving special coverage on it”.
“It’s up to the search committee to decide whether it will publish the 10 names or not. Who is the SUJAN to demand it? Is SUJAN a stakeholder in terms of holding election? It’s not,” Hasan added.
He said the initiative which has been taken to form the next EC is very much transparent, participatory and incredible manner.
Dr. Hasan said the government is providing various allowances to three crore people of the country through social safety net including old age, widow and deserted woman allowances.
In Bangladesh there is allowance for deserted woman, though there is no such allowance even in Europe, he added.
Responding to another question, Hasan said that according to the constitution, there must be an election-time government.
The incumbent government, which was elected in the last election, will act as the election-time government in the upcoming election in accordance with the constitution, he added.
He said elections are never held under the government rather elections are held under the Election Commission.
During the election period, no minister including Prime Minister has the power to transfer even a constable of police, he said.
Then the government can only do routine work, he said, adding that therefore, according to the constitution, there is no scope to form a government with participation of all parties during the election, he said.
BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed told a recent news conference that the AL government is now isolated from the rest of the world, their farewell bells have started ringing.
Hasan said BNP is now dreaming of hatching conspiracy against the government. If they can be able to get a statement from anywhere in favour of Khaleda Zia, they become delighted.
“Let them (BNP) keep ringing the farewell bell . . . the people are with us,” he added.