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PM urges not to instigate propaganda hindering constitutional process

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 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the pro-democratic and rule of law-believing political parties and organizations not to   instigate the propaganda being hatched on the social media to hinder the country’s constitutional process.
 
“I am urging the political parties and organisations, believing in democracy and the rule of law, not to favour and provoke any weird idea that can impede the country’s constitutional process,” she said.
 
The premier also sought countrymen’s vigil so none can snatch away the people’s rights as she made a televised address to the nation marking the fourth year completion of Awami League (AL) government’s current tenure.
 
She asked all to remain alert as the anti-liberation forces, power grabbers, looters of people’s wealth and parasites are out to create instability to capture power from backdoor and impede democratic process while the national election will be held at the yearend or beginning of the next year.
 
“They have hired intellectuals and statement mongers at home and abroad in an attempt to mislead the people by giving false and fabricated information on social media. So, don’t be misled by their falsehood,” she said.
 
 
The prime minister hoped a free, fair and  neutral  election will be held, saying her government will provide all required cooperation to the Election Commission (EC) to this end.
 
She said her government has enacted a law for the first time to form an election commission through a search committee and gave the commission complete economic freedom to hold  a free, fair election.   
 
Sheikh Hasina, also President of the AL, said her party is pro-people and believes in people’s power, adding, “The AL will continue its noble duty of building the country if voted to power. Otherwise, we will stand in general people’s queue. But, we will continue to serve  the people whatever our position is.”
 
The premier, as well, alerted all as none can create any anarchic situation and damage lives and properties of the masses in the name of movements.
 
She however termed the five years tenure of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government in Bangladesh’s history as ignominious as they assumed power through farcical election in 2001.
 
“The countrymen have never witnessed    such misrule of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government establishing the culture of murder-disappearance, rape, looting, communalism and militancy that set a milestone,” she said.
 
After completion of the tenure, they tried to cling to power instead of handing over it peacefully and attempted to hold a farcical election with 1.23 crore fake voters, she said. “But they failed to do so due to the people’s uprising,” she added.  
 
The AL assumed power after winning two-third seats in the national election held on December 29 in 2008, she continued.    
 
Sheikh Hasina said the AL government has been running the country for 14 years in a row since 2009 after being elected through people’s mandate and the country has progressed much during the period.
 
She also described her government’s measures to ensure country’s development in every sector such as communication, education, health, investment, industrialisation, agriculture, generating employments and giving people the social protection.
 
“You (the people) will compare what we could give the country and its people for the last 14 years,” she said.
 
The prime minister said the people are now getting the benefit of her government’s long term plans referring to the “Vision 2021”, “Vision 2041” and “Delta Plan-2100”.
 
She said they have built “Digital Bangladesh” alongside achieving other targets including transformation of Bangladesh into a developing country in line with the “Vision 2021”.
 
“Our country has progressed a lot. But, we have to march further ahead. Our target is to achieve a developed and prosperous Bangladesh. Our next target is to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ after making a ‘Digital Bangladesh’,” she said.
 
She said her government has taken measures to prepare the youths with proper training as worthy for the fourth industrial revolution.
 
As part of the initiative of transforming Bangladesh into a “Smart Bangladesh”, she said her government is working to ensure use of robotics, official intelligence, nano-technology, genetic engineering and digital devices in making smart government, smart people, smart industries and business establishments, health, education, commerce and agriculture.
 
 “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to build a “Sonar Bangla” free from exploitation and deprivation. Let’s to fulfil his dream by building a happy-prosperous and non-communal Bangladesh,” she said.
 
The premier went on saying that the target of the “Vision 2041” is to establish Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country in the world map while the Delta Plan 2100 is aimed at ensuring Bangladesh’s sustainable growth.
 
“The image of Bangladesh has become brighter from brighter in the world for the last 14 years. No one considers Bangladesh as a country of flood, drought and disaster. Bangladesh is now a country of promising economy and role model for development,” she said.
 
Bangladesh has played a vital role in different international forums as it is an active member of over two dozens of the United Nations organisations and elected member of the UN Humanitarian Council for the fifth time, she said.  
 
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh established an emblem ensuring peaceful co-existence with the neighbouring countries referring to enclave exchange with India implementing land boundary agreement and achieving rights on 118813 square kilometres of marine areas from India and Myanmar maintaining friendly relations.
 
“We have set a starry example of humanity at the globe by sheltering 11 lakh of Rohingyas,” she said.
 
The prime minister however greeted the countrymen at home and abroad on completion of the fourth year of her government’s current tenure and wished them Happy New Year.
 
Sheikh Hasina said they have made unimaginable development of Bangladesh including making the country self-reliant in food production, signing CHT Peace Treaty, Ganges Treaty, initiating the trial of the Bangabandhu killing case and jail killing case after rescinding the indemnity ordinance following getting the scope of running the state in 1996 after 21 years through people’s mandate.
 
The prime minister said her government assumed power for the second time in 2009 and since then they have been running the state for the last 14 years in a row.
 
In her address, she presented comparative statistics between the developments carried out by her government and the BNP-Jamaat alliance government and said where Bangladesh was 16 years back and what is its position now in the socio-economic indexes.
 
The per capita income, poverty rate, GDP growth, GDP size and budget was respectively 500 USD,  41.5 percent, 5.4 percent, 60 billion USD and TK 61,057 crore during the FY 2005-6 and now it stands at 2824 USD, 8.1 percent (before Corona virus pandemic) 460.75 billion USD and TK 6,78, 064 crore, she said.
 
The foreign currency reserve was 3 billion US Dollar  in FY 2005-06 while it increased to 48 billion US Dollar  in mid of 2021 and now it declined to 34 billion US Dollar  due to increase of import expenses because of the global economic recession and increased inflation rate steaming from the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, she said.
 
But, the current reserve is enough to meet import related expenses, she also said.
 
The power generation capacity in the last year of the BNP-Jamaat alliance was only 3,600 MW which is now increased to 25,826 MW , she said, adding that the AL government has reached electricity to every house.
 
She said a revolution has been made in the communication system in the last 14 years by building bridges on the major rivers including the Padma, Jamuna, Teesta, Payra, Meghna and Gomoti, constructing flyovers such as Hanif Flyover, Tejgaon-Moghbazar-Malibagh Flyover and Kamlapur-Shahjahanpur Flyover in Dhaka, Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Flyover and Bahadderhat Flyover in Chattogram, inaugurating Dhaka Metro Rail, aimed at building uninterrupted rail and road communications in the riverine Bangladesh.

The South Asia’s first underwater tunnel named “Bangabandhu Tunnel” in Chattogram will be opened soon while the work is progressing to complete the construction of country’s first nuclear power plant at Ishwardi in Pabna, she said, adding that Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was launched to the orbit in 2018.
 
She also mentioned that 100 bridges and 100 roads were opened in last November and December respectively, saying 718km highways have been made four lanes and above since 2009 to 2022 while 13,303 bridges were built or rebuilt and 21,267 metre culvert was constructed.
 
She added: “The greatest and largest achievements of the country including establishing an independent and sovereign Bangladesh have been attained at the hand of Bangladesh Awami League and the Awami League government,”.  

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Politics

Vast majority of Bangladeshis want good relations with neighbours: FM tells South Asia Correspondents

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Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said the vast majority of the people of Bangladesh now understand that it should have good relations with neighbours – for its own prosperity as well as that of the region.

He said his party (Bangladesh Awami League) is painted as a ‘pro-Indian’ party but AL is a pro-Bangladeshi party.

“There are anti-Indian elements. We specifically see this issue during elections. But the anti-Indian sentiment is gradually diminishing in Bangladesh,” he told the members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia during an interaction in New Delhi on February 9.

The Foreign Minister said the tablet or capsule of blaming Awami League as a pro-India party does not work anymore like the past.

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“Today, the vast majority of the people understand that for the prosperity of Bangladesh and the region, neighbours should have good relations,” he said while responding to a question.

Asked about balancing relations, the Foreign Minister said Bangladesh-India relationship is not comparable to any other relations.

“Bangladesh’s relations with India are bonded by blood and shared sacrifice during the War of Liberation in 1971,” Hasan said.

He said although China is not Bangladesh’s immediate neighbor but it is a neighbor and a development partner of Bangladesh.

The Foreign Minister said they face a lot of challenges due to the wave of fake news. He said this is a problem even in Europe and shared how fake news was spread during Covid-19.

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He mentioned that this is an area where all need to work together. “We can work together to fight against fake news.”

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Last national election was open for all AL members for sake of democracy: PM Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (9 Februay) said if she did not allow her party members to take part in last month’s election as independent candidates the democracy of the country would have been snatched away.

“If the election was not open for all (AL members), then not only the election would have been stained, the democracy of the country would have been hijacked too,” she said.

The prime minister was delivering her introductory speech at the extended meeting of Awami League at her official residence Ganabhaban.

This election was important to maintain the country’s status as a developing country, she said.

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“We should not forget the election manifesto that we announced before the election to retain this achievement. Every year during the budget formulation we follow the election manifesto,” she said.

Hasina, also the chief of ruling Awami League, said that her party has also opened the upcoming upazila elections for all her party members to make it participatory.

“It will also be scrutinised how much work has been done for the common people in the last 15 years while in power, and who could not deliver. Through it we will see who is accepted by the people,” she said.

She issued warning against any sort of confrontation in the upcoming local government elections.

“We do not want any kind of confrontation. Stern actions will be taken against the individuals responsible for it no matter who they are,” she said.

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Claiming that the 12th parliamentary election was free, fair and impartial, Hasina said that those who want to dispute the election, they must give clear evidence.

She said that elections have been held in many developed countries of the world, but these are yet to be accepted by their opponents.

“Even the post-election violence has resulted in murders. But the election in Bangladesh was very fair. Public administration, the armed forces, law and order enforcement and all those involved in the election have performed their duties impartially,” she claimed

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Political crisis nearing climax: Rizvi

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The BNP today said the country’s long-standing political crisis is now nearing its climax as people are taking to the streets risking their lives to resist a one-sided election.

“The chief election commissioner surrendered to Sheikh Hasina instead of protecting the interests of the people and taking proper steps to ensure a free, fair, and participatory election,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the party, said in a virtual press conference.

The BNP leader alleged that the EC announced the schedule for the next election ignoring the continuous movement for free and fair elections.

Rizvi also alleged that the commission announced the election schedule on the instruction of the government, ignoring the appeals of the country’s civil society, the international community, and foreign diplomats.

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“When the CEC announced the schedule, he should have also mentioned the time of voting, whether it will be at night, or during the daytime, or early morning.”

The BNP leader said the government has established a regime where those who demand free and fair elections are being attacked.

He said their ongoing movement to restore the power and rights of the people will be a warning for all the autocrats.

Rizvi said the BNP leaders and activists are being arrested indiscriminately. “If they [law enforcers] can’t detain them, they are arresting their fathers, fathers-in-law, younger brothers, and even women in the house.”

He said law enforcers arrested more than 12,900 leaders and activists in 289 cases across the country since October 28.

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