Mentioning that the government always welcomes any peaceful democratic movement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said it will not tolerate any destructive activity aimed at realising illogical demands.
“Awami League is a democratic political party. We’re respectable to the Constitution. We believe in the rule of law. We believe that people’s mandate is the only way to bring any change in power. We welcome any peaceful democratic movement. But, we won’t tolerate any destructive activity aimed at materialising illogical demands,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the statement while addressing the nation marking the first anniversary of her current government formed through the December 30, 2018 general election.
State-owned Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television simultaneously broadcast her address from 7:30pm. Private television channels and radio stations also aired the Prime Minister’s speech.
Sheikh Hasina formed the government for the third consecutive term following her party Awami League’s landslide victory in the 11th parliamentary election. The new cabinet was formed on January 7, 2019.
In the past, the people of the country saw arson terrorism and killing people in arson attacks by BNP-Jamaat in the name of movement. “The recurrence of those destructive activities won’t be allowed on Bangladesh’s soil again,” she warned.
Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, in her about 30-minute speech called upon corrupt people to correct themselves. “I work for the general people, for the sake of people’s welfare. I won’t hesitate to take any step.”
Hasina said the ongoing drive against corrupt elements will continue. “I want to warn again—whoever the corrupt, whatever strong they are, they won’t be spared.”
The Prime Minister called upon the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to bring those involved in making illegal wealth to book whoever that person is. “It has to be ensured that the rights of the common people cannot be snatched by anyone,” she said.
Hasina said the participation of people is important to check corruption. This menace will automatically be eliminated if people become aware.
The Prime Minister also said the drive against militancy, terrorism and drugs will continue. “We want to establish a peaceful society, where there’ll be no envy and hatred. People from all religions and caste and creed will live in peace. All are performing their religious rituals with due dignity,” she said.
Parliament & Govt
Hasina said the government has taken all sorts of initiative to make Parliament effective while participation from the ruling and opposition parties makes it lively.
She said Awami League has been in charge to run the government since 2009 in a row. “We’re running the government adopting a specific goal. And that’s the economic freedom of the common people, improving their lifestyle, and establishing everyone's basic rights.”
The Prime Minister said the government is always cautious about what it wants to do for the people of the country and what it has done for them. “You’ll also evaluate. But we don’t believe in crunchy pledges. We only speak about our capability to implement.”
She mentioned that there has been a huge difference between what was 10 years ago in Bangladesh and the one today. “The living standard of people has developed and the purchasing capacity increased. The people of this country had forgotten to dream of something positive. Now they can dream of. Now they can dream of living in a beautiful way. We’re working to materialise that dream,” she said.
She said the economy of Bangladesh now has got a solid ground where small shocks cannot stand in its way of this advancement. “Now, Bangladesh is among top five countries in the index of economic progress.”
Hasina also said the prices of all the essential items were normal except that of imported onion at the end of the year.
The Prime Minister said the main aim of the government is to create employment opportunities for the youth and it has set a target to create 1.5 crore jobs.
She said the process to establish 100 economic zones are going on. Meanwhile, setting up of industries and mills in 15 economic zones has started.
“Huge local and foreign investors are coming to these economic zones for investment. Works are in progress to construct more than two dozens of hi-tech parks and IT villages across the country,” she said.
Hasina said a process is also on for strengthening all the forces of the country according to the Armed Forces Goal 2030. “We’re doing whatever is needed to make the armed forces capable for facing attack and aggression from external enemy.
Mentioning that the police and all other law-enforcement agencies have made remarkable success in containing militancy in the country, she said the people of the country are grateful to them. “We’ve taken appropriate steps to increase the capability of the law-enforcement agencies.”
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas. AP file photo
Foreign Policy & Rohingya Crisis
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh follows the footprints of the Father of the Nation to maintain relations with other countries and that is ‘friendship to all and malice to none’.
“We give the highest priority to maintain good relations and cordiality with neighbours. We want to resolve the bilateral problems through dialogue. This is not our weakness, this is our tactics,” she said.
For this, the PM said, Bangladesh did not step into the trap of Myanmar although there were various types of provocation. “We didn’t divert our attention from the path of resolving Rohingya problem through discussions.”
Hasina said a case has been filed with the International Court of Justice. “We hope, we’ll be able to have a clue for a permanent solution [to the Rohingya crisis) from this court.”
In the last one year, she said, the government has tried to give its best for the people of the country. “We won’t claim that we’ve been cent percent successful in all sectors. But we can say with all firmness that we didn’t keep any stone unturned. We’ll move ahead taking lessons from the past mistakes and experiences,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said there will be new challenges and those will be faced with cooperation from all.
Talking about the unwanted incidents in some educational institutions last year, Hasina firmly said the government did not pamper anyone involved in those incidents.
“Administrative and legal actions have been taken against those involved in the incidents. Vested quarters had tried to cash in through creating anarchy by spreading rumours. With the help of people, we’ve taken quick preventive steps. We’re always alert about such rumours,” she said.
The Prime Minister admitted that dengue created panic across the country last year. A good number of lives were lost although the government had taken all kinds of measurers.
“I’m directing all concerned to take all-out steps to prevent the spread of Aedes mosquitoes beforehand.”
Hasina said all her works and activities are common people-centric, and she has the full confidence in the people of the country.
“The people of Bangladesh are uniquely laborious and empowered with innovation. They can adapt to any situation. The general people are happy with a little thing. The Father of the Nation throughout his life had struggled to realise the rights of these people and bring smile to their faces. As his daughter, the only aim of my life is to blossom the smile further on their faces. Keep trust in me. I want to live on as one of you.”
Nation of Heroes
The Prime Minister said Bangalees are the nation of heroes as the people of the country snatched their independence sacrificing lives of 30 lakh martyrs. “Such a nation in the world can never lag behind, and we aren’t lagging behind. Bangladesh is moving on the highway of development with an impetuous speed,” she said.
She urged all irrespective of their party affiliation and opinion to take a vow on the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation to build a hunger- poverty- and illiteracy-free and non-communal Golden Bangladesh as dreamt by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.