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) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the citizens of the country, irrespective of their religions, will enjoy their equal rights as there is nothing like ‘you and me’.
"You, the people of the Hindu community, will live here with your own rights. This soil also belongs to you…there’s nothing called you and me here, all citizens of Bangladesh have their own equal rights," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while exchanging greetings with members of the Hindu community at her official residence Ganobhaban on the occasion of Janmashtami.
“In every sphere of life -- socioeconomic, education, healthcare and religious rituals -- all have the equal rights," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as the head of the government it is her responsibility to ensure the equal rights for all. "And we’re performing our duty."
Referring to her government's philosophy of ‘religion is for individuals and festivals are for all’, she said the people of all faiths had fought shoulder-to-shoulder in 1971 and embraced martyrdom to liberate the country.
During the great Liberation War, the Prime Minister said, people from all religions under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman participated in it and sacrificed their blood for the country’s independence.
"People brought Independence in lieu of their blood…so, this country is for the people of all religions," she said.
Giving importance to maintaining communal and religious harmony in the country, Hasina said every religion preaches peace, fraternity and tolerance and it is the important aspect of religion.
Describing the leaders of the Hindu community as the sons of this soil, the Prime Minister called upon them to work together to develop Bangladesh with the Liberation War spirit.
Pointing out the law enacted by her government for the Hindu community similar to ‘heba law’ of the Muslim community, Hasina said her government has done this to facilitate the transfer of property of the Hindu community members to their close relatives without any tax.
She said the government always tried to make sure that every festival of all religions is observed in a festive mood. "This is the beauty of Bangladesh where people from all religions participated in every religious festival."
The Prime Minister extended her greetings to members of the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashtami saying Sri Krishna had preached the message of love, justice and affection which all should promote.
Hasina said Lord Krishna was born to establish brotherhood among the people through ‘Checking the wicks and nurturing the goods’.
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman, leaders of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Committee, Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee also spoke on the occasion.
Leaders of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee greeted the Prime Minister by presenting bouquets to her.
Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15, 1975 carnage.
Dhaka, Aug 12 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expressed deep satisfaction over the progress and development of the National Defence College (NDC) and Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC).
She made the appreciation at the 16th joint governing body meeting of NDC and DSCSC, held at the conference room of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Armed Forces Division of Dhaka Cantonment.
The Prime Minister attended the meeting as the chairman of Joint Governing Body of the two prestigious military institutions of the country, said a release of Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Directorate.
She welcomed the newly appointed members of the governing body and thanked the governing body for their active participation and valuable contributions during their tenure.
Sheikh Hasina urged the college authorities to be in constant pursuit in updating course curricula and modules so as to fit in local security and development needs.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for a knowledge-based civil-military leadership and the best use of national assets.
“We’re continuing the development and modernisation of Armed Forces by formulating ‘Forces Goal 2030’ in light of the policy introduced by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the two military institutions --NDC and DSCSC-- are contributing significantly by training the officer of home and abroad to take higher responsibilities. Trained officers are performing their duties successfully at home and in overseas countries including the UN Mission, she added.
Prime Minister’s Adviser (Security Affairs) Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Principal Staff Officer of Armed Forces Division, Secretaries of Public Administration, Finance Division, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Secondary and Higher Education Division, Vice Chancellors of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, National University and Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) were present at the meeting.
The Commandant of the NDC and Commandant of the DSCSC briefly highlighted the activities of their respective college.
The Governing Body reviewed the progress of previous decisions and discussed on issues in the agenda of the current meeting.
At the end of meeting, both the Commandants of NDC and DSCSC expressed their deep gratitude to the Prime Minister for her presence and providing constant support and guidance for development of both the institutions.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said her government is working for strengthening democracy in the country and accelerate its development.
She made the remarks when visiting Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland met her at her office in the city.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
The country’s GDP growth is now 7.78 percent, while the inflation rate 5.5 percent, she said adding that her government is working for women empowerment at the grassroots level and now a large number of women is participating in socio-economic development.
“We’re encouraging young entrepreneurs -- both men and women,” Ihsanul Karim quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
About the Rohingya issue, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is having discussions with Myanmar. The biggest worry for the government is safety of the displaced Rohingyas who took shelter in Bangladesh.
She said the influx of 1.1 million Rohingyas has created burden on Bangladesh and local people are also suffering as the Rohingyas occupied their lands in Cox’s Bazar.
Turning to terrorism, Sheikh Hasina said her government has successfully combatted terrorism and involved the people from all walks of life in the movement against the social menace. “It almost turned into a social movement. We don’t want to allow our children to indulge in terrorism.”
Talking about the election, she said more than 6000 elections – local body polls and parliamentary by-polls – were held during the current term of her government and all the elections were free and fair.
About sports, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh Women Cricket Team has recently clinched the Asian Championship, while the Bangladesh National Cricket Team is also doing well. The government is promoting sports as a whole, she added.
Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland stressed the need for trade facilitation among the Commonwealth countries.
She said it will have to reduce trade barriers among the Commonwealth countries and enhance the connectivity for the SMEs network.
Patricia Scotland said the Commonwealth is ready to extend cooperation in upholding the democratic process in Bangladesh.
Talking about cricket, the Commonwealth Secretary General stressed the need for creating Commonwealth Cricket Club and introduction of Commonwealth Cricket League with the participation of both male and female teams.
“We should create Commonwealth Cricket Club...and introduce Commonwealth Cricket League,” the PM's Press Secretary quoted Patricia Scotland as saying.
She said the participation of women in the Commonwealth League will enhance their confidence and determination.
Patricia Scotland highly appreciated the women empowerment in Bangladesh and said women should be involved in trade. She also suggested engaging women and girls in the SMEs.
Mentioning that the displaced Rohingyas are burden on Bangladesh, she also praised the Prime Minister for hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas calling it a 'great compassion'.
Scotland also appreciated the role of Bangladesh in combating terrorism and presented a copy of the Commonwealth Charter to the Prime Minister.
Principal Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Md Nojibur Rahman was present.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday provided Tk 10 lakh as financial assistance to the family of Joupurhat Jubo League (JL) leader Towhidul Islam Sabuj who was brutally killed by BNP-Jamaat terrorists in 2013.
Victim’s father Afzal Hossain received a cheque for the amount from the Prime Minister at her office in the city.
Sheikh Hasina also handed over cheques for financial assistance amounting to Tk 60 lakh to four other individuals.
Sabuj was the organising secretary of Matrai union Jubo League in Kalai upazila of Joypurhat.
BNP-Jamaat terrorists armed with lethal weapons, including knives and pistols, stormed his house around 7:30am on April 7, 2013 and set the house on fire after vandalising and looting it.
Later, they picked up Sabuj and killed him beating him in broad daylight. They also cut his tendons to confirm his death.
Sabuj's family is facing financial crisis as his brother Rezwan Hossain, 25, died in cardiac arrest in 2016.
Besides, the Prime Minister gave financial assistance of Tk 20 lakh each to former national footballer Jalal Uddin Molla for meeting his treatment costs and Shabrina Khatun, wife of late Upazila Nirbahi Officer Ramizur Rahman Molla, for meeting education costs of her children.
Sheikh Hasina also provided Tk 10 lakh each to Farzana Yeasmin Merry, wife of late BCS cadre Mohammad Nazrul Islam for meeting livelihoods and educational costs of her children as well as Sultanara Begum, wife of freedom fighter Amir Hossian.
Jalal Uddin Molla hails from Boalia upazila in Rajshahi while Shabrina from Boraigram in Natore, Merry from Motijheel AGB Colony in the capital and Sultanara Begum from Madaripur.