Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said BNP must account for every penny they are spending on hiring lobbyists against Bangladesh’s interests.
“Today, money is being spent on hiring lobbyists ahead of the election. We want to account them for every penny of it. They’ll have to account for every penny,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this in her valedictory speech in the winter session of Parliament she delivered joining the discussion over thanksgiving motion on the President’s speech.
She said the lobbyists had been hired to prevent the trial of war criminals, thwart elections, make elections questionable, protect militants and killers of the Father of the Nation, tarnish the image of Bangladesh, and prevent the progress of Bangladesh, not for good purposes.
Noting that tens of thousands of dollars are being spent on hiring lobbyists, Hasina questioned the sources of the money. “Where did they get the money from? Where did they get this foreign currency from? How did they spend it?” she said.
Raising the rationale of hiring PR firms by the government, she said PR firms are hired for boosting the country’s investment, export and production, as well as protection of the rights of the country and its workers.
“But what was the purpose of the BNP? The purpose is to destroy Bangladesh and mislead the people giving false propaganda and untrue words,” said the Prime Minister.
She questioned how the money went abroad and how tens of thousands of dollars were paid to foreign firms. “They must answer and they must explain,” she added.
Referring to BNP, she said they looted public money and siphoned money off the country during their five-year regime from 2001-2006. Now they are engaged in conspiracies against Bangladesh using the plundered money, she said.
The PM said today Bangladesh is advancing on all fronts. "But those who don’t like the progress, who don’t have patriotism, accountability to the people and love for the people as well as plunder public resources, can try to hire lobbyists to destroy Bangladesh and to mislead the people by giving untrue information.
EC formation law
Sheikh Hasina said they passed the most important bill (Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners Bill-22) in this session of Parliament.
“With the passage of the bill, the voting rights of people are now better protected. We’ve gone one step forward in the case of elections and we’ve made democracy stronger further. The democracy of the people will be established,” she said.
In the Bill, a total of 22 amendment proposals made by the opposition lawmakers, including Jatiya Party, BNP, Jasod, Workers Party and Ganoforum MPs were accepted, she said.
Since so many amendment motions were accepted from the opposition lawmakers, it has become a Bill made also by the oppositions, she added.
The Prime Minister said they have taken preparation to pass the Bill well before. “It was also our target to pass the Bill and we have done it. But no other party has passed the bill, she said.
She said the change in power happened peacefully just once in Bangladesh and that was in 2001.
It is the Awami League that always ensured the arrangement of election in a fair manner and established the voting rights of people in Bangladesh, she said, mentioning that different electoral reforms, including introduction of transparent ballot boxes and preparation of voter lists with photographs were made following the proposals of the party and its alliance.
The recently held Narayanganj City corporation is a proof that an election can be held in the most transparent and fair manners during the AL regime, Sheikh Hasina.
US sanction on Rab officials
About the recent US sanction on seven current and former Rab officials, the Prime Minister said the USA has resentment on those who are successful in combating terrorism and militancy, protective public lives and rights of common people.
“It seems to me that the USA, as if, has resentment on those who are successful in curbing terrorism, had been able to protect the country from terrorism and militancy, protect the lives and human rights of the common people,” she said.
Later, Parliament unanimously adopted the thanksgiving motion on the President’s speech, delivered at the outset of the first session in the new year of 2022.
The 16th session (Winter Session) of the current parliament, started on January 16 last, was prorogued on Thursday only after five sittings.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury read out the prorogation order of the President on Thursday night.