PM deceives quota reformists by false promise: BNP

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Friday alleged that prime minister Sheikh Hasina breached her promise to abolish the quota system in public jobs as she said on Thursday it is not possible to reform the freedom fighters' quota due to a High Court verdict, reports UNB.

"The prime minister or the government is trying to back off from its promise (to revoke quota). It's not acceptable at all. If there's any barrier to cancelling the quota, you (PM) can surely remove it through the High Court," said BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed.

Speaking at a discussion, he further said, "The prime minister has actually breached her commitment, and the people of Bangladesh and our generation will remember it."

Swadhinata Forum, a pro-BNP platform, organised the programme at the National Press Club.

On Thursday, Sheikh Hasina told parliament, "There is a High Court verdict for maintaining the freedom fighters' quota. How can we violate the High Court verdict? ... We can't do this."

"I (PM) had earlier spoken of cancelling the entire quota system. But there's a verdict of the High Court in this regard. If I defy the verdict, I'll face contempt of court," she added.

Reacting to the PM's comment, Moudud, a former law minister, said he has no knowledge about any verdict of the High Court on freedom fighters' quota. "Even then, if there's any verdict, it's not about keeping quota for the grandsons and granddaughters of the freedom fighters."

He said the government can move the High Court to reassess its verdict if it is sincere to keep the prime minister's promise.

The BNP leader criticised the government for what he said arresting and repressing those involved in quota-reform movement. "I was shocked to hear the prime minister's speech in parliament as she talked about punishing them."

He warned that the government must face trial someday for repressing those demonstrated seeking reform in the quota system.

Moudud said their party will come up with alternative action programmes in due time to ensure the fall of the current 'autocratic regime'.

Earlier at a press conference, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the prime minister deceived students through her 'false' commitment to revoke the entire quota system in the face of their movement.

"Why did she talk about cancellation of quota in the face of a serious movement by students despite having the court's verdict? Didn't she think about freedom fighters before making such a commitment?" said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.

He also said the prime minister's any announcement for the nation is tantamount to a law.

"The demonstrating students sought the reform in the quota system, not its cancellation. It's now clear from the PM's yesterday's (Thursday's) statement that she resorted to deception to confuse the students by giving them a false hope," Rizvi added.