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30 October, 2019 01:10:58 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 30 October, 2019 12:52:41 PM


Country’s position boosted by joining NAM summit: PM

UNB, Dhaka
Country’s position boosted by 
joining NAM summit: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the participation of Bangladesh in the summit of multilateral forum NAM held in Baku of Azerbaijan has further strengthened the country’s position in the international arena. "The participation of Bangladesh in the NAM Summit was very significant considering the possibility of political polarisation of the new world order," she said.

The Prime Minister said this while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban on her Azerbaijan tour for attending the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

She said NAM is the second largest multilateral forum after the United Nations, and NAM alongside the UN has a very important role to play in resolving Rohingya crisis. Sheikh Hasina said issues on strengthening concerted efforts and multilateral diplomacy of the member countries were mainly discussed at the two-day summit. Following the stance of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which the great leader declared in the 4th NAM Summit in 1973, she highlighted Bangladesh’s voice in favour of the exploited people, she said.

"It has been possible to project Bangladesh’s achievements and its contribution to establishing world peace as well as its stance for the exploited people around the world, including the Palestinians," the Prime Minister said.

Besides, it was also possible to highlight the issues to work together by the NAM member states in facing various challenges like adverse impact of climate change and the Rohingya crisis, she said.

Terming basic principles of the NAM as a symbol of hopes and aspirations of the common people, Sheikh Hasina stressed ensuring peace and security across the globe as well as giving priority to cultural values to discard conflicts.

Besides, she urged all to work unitedly in the light of the values of the 21st century to build a peaceful and stable world.

Hasina mentioned that the issues of resolving conflicts among countries, implementation of SDGs, disarmament of nuclear weapons and freedom of Palestinian people also came up in her speech.

In her speech alongside various success stories of the country, she mentioned the Rohingya crisis and climate change as the two major challenges for Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister said she urged the international community to come forward to face the challenges. Besides, she reiterated that the voluntary return of Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine state of Myanmar with safety, security and dignity is the only solution to the crisis.

During her stay in Baku, the Prime Minister said, she also held bilateral meetings with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, President Hasan Ruhani of Iran, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad and Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on the sidelines of the NAM Summit.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malik also paid a courtesy call on her at Baku Congress Centre, she said.

Referring to her meeting with Azerbaijan President, Hasina said both sides agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in the years to come for mutual benefits. Referring to the Rohingya crisis, she thanked Ilham Aliyev for extending moral and physical support to Bangladesh on the issue, Hasina said.

The Prime Minister said she also recalled with profound respect the support of Azerbaijan as part of the then Soviet Union to Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.

About her talks with Iranian President Hasan Ruhani and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad, the Prime Minister said they highly praised Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture to give shelter to Rohingyas and provide them with other support.

They also echoed with the stance of Bangladesh saying it is Myanmar that has to resolve the Rohingya crisis, Hasina said.

The Prime Minister said Algeria President proposed opening a mission in Dhaka to boost its trade and business with Bangladesh.

On her talks with Nepalese Prime Minister, Hasina said she put emphasis on finalising the Preferential Trade Agreement with Nepal for the mutual benefits of the people of the two countries.

Issue over Menon resolved

Replying to a question, the prime minister said the issue of Rashed Khan Menon MP was over as the Awami League-led 14-party alliance resolved it following his recent remarks that people could not cast their votes in the last general election in 2018.

 “Nasim (Mohammad Nasim) bhai, coordinator of the AL led 14-party, asked me whether I’ve any opinion of my own. I told him I’ve no opinion. I don’t want to say anything against anyone, you (14-party) sit and decide what you want to do,” she said.

She said the 14-party, where the Workers’ Party is a component, sat over the issue and they took their decision.

She also said Menon expressed his sorrow and everything is normal now. “I know for doing politics, I’ve to hear many things. If I remain busy with those then when I will run the state,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, also the president of ruling AL, said Menon might have forgotten that he also elected in the same election.

“When he questioned about that election then his victory in the election comes under question. I don’t know whether he said those words after realising everything or not,” she said.

“He’s always like this…we had been doing politics since student life,” she said.

Hasina mentioned that some remarks of Rashed Khan Menon in 1970 before the then general election and during the Mujib-Indira treaty. “I’ve heard such speeches many times, with this he has done good for you (journalists), at least you got some issues to write,” she said.

Hasina said many people talk about the 2018 election. “I’ve one question. If people did not cast their votes in the election and we do not have public support, the case would have been like the February 15, 1996 election. At that time, we were engaged in movement against the voter-less election and we forced Khaleda Zia to quit.”

She said BNP could wage that kind of movement, but they miserably failed.

In the 2018 election, all the businessmen, professionals and government organisations lent their support to the Awami League, she said.

“I’ll tell you, it was the unprecedented incident in Bangladesh history,” said the Prime Minister. She went on saying, “Some 3,000-4,000 businessmen lend their support, but it does not mean that all of them belonged to Awami League, but they extended support to AL.”

“Their desire was to see us again in power then, we’re here just to run the county. We don’t collect our commission by opening Hawa Bhaban. We’ve opened the business to all,” she added.

Speaking as the chief guest at a Barisal Town Hall party programme on October 19, Menon, who served at several ministries during the ruling Awami League’s last tenure, said Bangladesh’s voters were deprived of exercising their franchise in the last parliamentary elections.

“I was elected (as a lawmaker) in the last national election. Regardless, I testify that people could not cast their votes in the election,” Menon claimed.

Nusrat Murder Case Trial

Sheikh Hasina said the complexities and quantity of cases have been increased in courts after the independence of judiciary.

She said a problem has appeared in the name of independence of judiciary, raising the backlog of cases to some extent.

Hasina said some cases previously went to the magistrate and disposed from there. “Taking all, they’re unable to tackle it (properly),” she added.

Talking about the verdict of Nusrat killing case where 16 people were awarded capital punishment, she said the verdict came in a quicker time as Nusrat herself was able to record her own statement before her death. Describing Nusrat as a very brave girl, she said her own statement was very important evidence.

In most of the murder cases, she said, lack witnesses caused serious trouble. “But in this case, public opinion was there while journalists played a big role through their continuous reporting, I appreciate their efforts…that’s why it has been possible to dispose of the case so quickly.”

She said the government would take necessary measurers so that the cases could be disposed of faster.

PM slams BNP for criticising anti-graft drive

Taking a swipe at BNP leaders for terming eyewash the ongoing anti-corruption drive, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said time will say whether it is eyewash or anything else.

“They keep calling it as eyewash; wait and watch… you’ll see whether it’s eyewash or anything else,” she said posing a question as to why she would go for eyewash.

The Prime Minister said this replying to a question at the press briefing.

Sheikh Hasina said BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and her son who are among the key corrupt have already got their punishment.

“The two (Khaleda and her son Tarique) among the real key corrupt have already got their punishment,” said the Prime Minister adding that BNP also has more small leaders who are mostly corrupt, involved in arson violence, killing people and many other crimes.

“All will have to face punishment in phases… you’ll have to wait for that. They must get it (punishment). There’s no doubt about it,” she said.

Hasina said she does not extend any favour to her party people in the ongoing anti-corruption drive rather those who are involved in the crime world are being caught. She said BNP knows it better what the ‘eyewash business’ is as the party had plunged the country into graft making it as its principle.

Replying to another question, the Prime Minister termed BNP a den of corruption and questioned how they can talk too much. “How dare they?”

In response to another question, the Prime Minister said time will say whether the anti-corruption drive would be expanded to catch people elsewhere by not confining it only to her party.

The government is not caging criminals through any selection rather it is netting whoever is found engaged in offences.

“Criminals are criminals. They don’t have any party… nothing else. Whoever commits crimes would be caught.”

Sheikh Hasina said she would not have launched this drive had there any fear in her. “I’m not the one who gets scared... There’s no word like ‘fear’ in my dictionary.”

The PM said she started the purge from home, or else, the media would say she does it to harm her political opponents.

She said BNP founder Ziaur Rahman had opened the door of corruption in the country grabbing power illegally after the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. The BNP chairperson is now in jail being convicted on corruption charges and its acting chairman (Tarique Rahman) is also corrupt.

Casino & Gambling

Responding to a question regarding Casino and gambling in the country, the Prime Minister said she asked the Home Minister to prepare a policy and select an island where the government can set up gambling facilities.

“If people have the much desire for gambling, I asked the Home Minister to prepare a policy and select an island (for this). We’ll build a gambling island,” she said. She also mentioned that one can play gambling in that island as much as one can. “We’ll be able to collect some taxes from there… at least we’ll be able to bag that tax.”





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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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