News & Politics
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said free and fair elections are held only during Awami League's tenures.
"Only during AL governments, you can see free and fair elections," she told BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg in an interview aired on Sunday.
Sheikh Hasina, now in London, said there was no democracy or democratic rights in Bangladesh after the assassination of her father along with 18 family members in 1975.
She said military dictators ruled the country for a long time directly or indirectly and overtly or covertly after the assassination.
The military rulers formed political parties and they never reached out to people and asked for votes. "They used the army, administration and everything just to remain in power," the premier told BBC.
Responding to a question regarding the British high commissioner's call to her government to conduct a free and fair election in Bangladesh, she said that she strives to ensure a democratic system and free, fair elections.
Asked about the allegations of enforced disappearance, Sheikh Hasina said anyone can make allegations but it needs to be assessed whether the claims are true.
"How many people disappeared in your country and other countries? ...you can't judge. In these issues, I think all information needs to be collected first and then they can accuse," she said.
Asked about her personal memories with the late Queen Elizabeth II, the Bangladesh PM said she met and talked to the late queen at every Commonwealth summit and other events she attended after becoming Prime Minister.
The queen always remembered her, PM said. Whenever the late queen didn't see her at programmes, she would enquire about her, Sheikh Hasina said.
Hasina said when she was young, she first saw the queen in 1961 during her visit to the erstwhile East Pakistan, using binoculars through the window of her father's office.
"When she visited the then Pakistan, that means East Pakistan in 1961, I had the opportunity to see her. We were very young. We went to my father's office because we knew that she (Queen Elizabeth) would be passing through that (nearby) road. We, all of us - the whole family - were waiting at the window with binoculars so that we could see her more," she said.
"When I became Prime Minister, I met her at every programme. I attended about seven Commonwealth summits. So, every time I had the opportunity to talk to her and meet her," she said.
The PM said, Elizabeth II was the queen of the United Kingdom, but she was also leader of the Commonwealth. "So, as a member of Commonwealth, she has a great value to us," she said.
"We love the Queen. She was so affectionate. I am lucky that she always remembered my name. I have come here to pay my respect to her," said Hasina.
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