Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are going to meet on the sidelines of the 4th Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) that begins on Thursday in Kathmandu, Nepal.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam came up with the disclosure at a press conference on Wednesday at his ministry.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to leave here for Kathmandu on Thursday morning to attend the two-day Bimstec summit with the theme of ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region’.
Shahriar said the heads of state or government of the Bimstec member countries will get a chance for holding bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit. “It’s expected that our Prime Minister will hold a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among other regional leaders.”
Shahriar said Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will formally inaugurate the summit on Thursday. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to address it just after the welcome address by the Nepalese Prime Minister.”
He said two important documents on enhancing cooperation and development of the Bimstec region are likely to be signed at the retreat session of the summit to be joined by top leaders of the seven member countries of the regional forum on Friday.
The Rohingya issue is also expected to come up for discussions at the retreat session, the state minister said. “If any country raises the issue Bangladesh will be happy to facilitate that.”
He, however, said there is no possibility for talks on the Rohingya issue at the main summit as political issues are not mandated to discuss there.
Besides, the state minister said the Bimstec leaders will exchange views on the different issues of regional cooperation and give various directions to strengthen it further.
Shahriar also said the leaders of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal will also assess the progress in mutual cooperation regarding the expansion of trade and investment, formation of a free trade zone, enhancing regional connectivity, alleviating poverty, checking climate change impact, increasing cooperation in power sector, and the development of culture.
He said two MoUs and Convection--one is on The Establishment of Bimstec Grid Interconnection’ and the other is on Bimstec Convention on Mutual Legal and Assistance in Criminal Matters-- are expected to be signed at the summit.
A joint declaration will be issued at the end of the summit while Sri Lanka will take the charge of the next chair of Bimstec from Nepal.
The Prime Minister is expected to return home on Friday.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) - BNP on Tuesday chalked out various programmes to celebrate its 40th founding anniversary on September 1.
The programmes include a public rally, discussion, hoisting party flag, placing wreaths at the grave of party founder Ziaur Rahman.
The programmes were worked out at a joint meeting of the party and its associate bodies at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office with its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in the chair.
After the meeting, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programmes.
As per the founding anniversary programmes, the party flag will be hoisted atop its Nayapaltan central office and all other offices of BNP across the country at 6am on September 1.
Besides, the party leaders and activists will place wreaths and offer fateha at the grave of its founder ex-President Ziaur Rahman at 11.00 am on the day.
BNP has a schedule to hold a rally at 3pm the same day either at Suhrawardy Udyan or in front of BNP office subjected to permission by the authorities concerned.
The party will also arrange a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh the following day.
Besides, the party's associate bodies and all of its units across the country will mark the day with holding various programmes, including discussion meetings.
On September 1, 1978, Ziaur Rahman formed BNP with a 19-point programme to build a self-reliant Bangladesh. BNP ruled the country for several terms.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) - Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Tuesday that the government will not interfere in the upcoming national parliamentary election.
“So we hope all parties including BNP will join the next election,” he added.
The minister made the remarks at a discussion commemorating Bangabandhu held at Aparajeyo Bangla premises of Dhaka University (DU).
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) DU unit organized the programme to observe the 43th national mourning day.
Tofail, however, cautioned that the government will take strict action if anyone resorts to destabilise the country in the name of hartal and blockade centering the upcoming election.
“We hope all parties will join the upcoming election. But BNP’s existence will be at a stake if it does not join the next general election,” said Tofail, also a leader of ruling Awami League.
Commerce minister said, “The election will be held on time as per the Constitution. The Election Commission will conduct the election with efficiency, honesty and devotion under this ruling party.”
Presided over by BCL DU Unit president Sanjit Chandra Das, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Prof ASM Maksud Kamal, BCL central president Md Rezanul Huq Chowdhury Shovon, general secretary Golam Robani and BCL DU unit general secretary Saddam Hossain, among others, spoke at the programme.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said the next election is a big challenge for Awami League, not for BNP, as people will not cast votes for the ruling party.
“Facing people is Awami League’s main challenge. They’ve started resorting to all evil designs sensing that people will boycott them. They’re importing EVMs and asking police to arrest our leaders and activists,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, the BNP leader further said, “If you want to hold a meaningful election, free all (political prisoners). It’s their (AL’s) main challenge to resist people and they won’t be able to do that.”
Fakhrul warned that the country’s people will not accept the repression and suppression on them. “They’ll surely turn around and defeat the current evil force.”
He said people will again take to the streets against the misrule and repressive acts of the government. “And then the government’s house of cards will fall apart.”
The BNP leader also hinted to announce tougher programmes in the days to come to have their chairperson Khaleda Zia freed from jail.
“We’re regularly observing various programmes demanding her (Khaleda’s) release. Tougher programmes are coming again. You’ll see such programmes at the right time,” he observed.
Replying to a question, Fakhrul said the next general election is very important one as it will determine the fate of democracy in Bangladesh.
He said the 11th parliamentary polls will not be acceptable if BNP does not join it. “So, the government has a major role in ensuring an acceptable and meaningful national election.”
The BNP leader also said the media and the civil society need to play a constructive role in restoring democracy, and people’s voting rights and holding the next polls in a credible and acceptable manner.
He voiced frustration over the role on media in strengthening democracy. “It’s regrettable that we had a press conference on an important issue yesterday (Monday). But most print media, except one or two, didn’t highlight it. We know the media are being controlled from behind the scene, but people are watching everything.”
Referring to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s remarks that BNP’s existence will be at stake, Fakhrul said BNP will not get destroyed under any circumstance as it is a favourite party of the people of Bangladesh.
“BNP has been in the current position overcoming many obstacles and adverse situations. So, this party can’t be eliminated,” he observed.
He said the government must release Khaleda Zia from jail, install a non-party polls-time administration, create a level-playing field by dissolving parliament and reconstitution of the Election Commission and deploy army to ensure BNP’s participation in the election.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said BNP’s demand for the trial of August 21 grenade attack is a ‘cruel joke’ about the barbaric and brutal killing.
“The patrons of August-21 killers want the trial of the killing. The BNP leaders want justice for the August 21-killing incident. How can you describe it? It’s a cruel joke about the barbaric and brutal killing incident of history,” he said.
Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the comment while speaking at the concluding discussion of the month-long programme of the Mourning Month of August at Mohanagar Natya Mancha. Awami Jubo League organised the programme.
On Monday, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference said, “As in the past, we still condemn and protest the brutal incident of August 21 grenade on an Awami League rally in 2004. We want the trial and exemplary punishment of those real offenders responsible for the attack to stop the recurrence of such a ruthless incident.”
Reacting to Fakhrul’s comment, Quader said it is BNP’s dirty politics. “They (BNP leaders) can kill on one hand and seek justice for it on the other and they can indulge in corruption and seek justice for it. Even, they can pretend to be innocent after being convicted.”
He alleged that Awami League’s ‘masked enemies’ are now very active to spread propaganda against the government. “We’ve veiled enemies. It’s the masked enemies, not BNP-Jamaat, are now very active. They’re spreading rumours and propaganda. Their existence is there both in the civil society and the mass media.”
Quader urged the ruling party leaders and activists to remain united as the conspirators are trying to oust the Sheikh Hasina-led government by creating chaos in the country.