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We'll never bow down to any pressure: PM

Published : Thursday, 23 June, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 471

We'll never bow down to any pressure: PM

We'll never bow down to any pressure: PM

Expressing her firm confidence Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Bangladesh will never bow down to any pressure rather the country will move ahead with the strength of  the people.
She said, "Bangladesh will never bow down to any pressure . . . We will move on with the confidence we have. And we will march ahead with the strength of our people."
She was speaking at a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday on the contemporary issues including the inauguration of much-hyped Padma Bridge and the ongoing devastating flood situation in the
country.
Replying to a query regarding human rights, she questioned, "Those who give shelter to murderers, will they teach us human rights?"
"In the country where shooting incidents are constantly taking place in schools, students are being killed, people are being strangled by the police under their feet on the streets, will they teach us human rights?" the Prime
Minister added.
She said some people of the country dance to the tune of their words but Bangladesh will continue its forward march with its own confidence and the strength of the people.
Answering another question regarding "participatory election," Sheikh Hasina said when a party participates in an election, it must have trust of the people that they have to show that they will win the election and who will be the head of their government.   
"People consider it from the beginning. It not only happens in our country, but also across the world," she said, adding, "Who will be shown as their (BNP) leader that they will participate in the election."    
She continued, "Aren't they showing the fugitive (Tarique Rahman) as their leader? Hasn't he become a British citizen abandoning the citizenship of the country."    
She went on to say, "How much money needs to be invested to get the British citizenship so easily."   
The Prime Minister suggested to the journalists to find out how a convict becomes a British citizen and "if you unearth it, everything will come out."    
 "So, how could they (BNP) participate in the election with him (Tarique Rahman), and what is the fault of democracy here?" She said, mentioning that their party is still in a state of disarray, which has practically no organizational activities now.     
Besides, the remaining are left-wing political parties which became smaller and smaller through continuous split and now sometimes lean towards the right-wing while sometimes left-wing, she observed.     
"So, who (parties) are there (to compete with us)," she questioned.
She insisted on forming a strong party and then invite it to face election. "Let's meet in the field and people will choose."
Sheikh Hasina said, "My words are clear, see there was a chance to become Prime Minister for me, but I have never become the Prime Minister availing such an opportunity."       
She said she could have been the Prime Minister in 1991 as the then President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed had asked her to form a government with the coalition of Jatiya Party and Jamaat, but I refused saying him, "I don't want to come to power in such a way."     
"As I didn't get majority so I didn't go to power," she said, adding, "I will go to the government when I will have absolute power. My desire to form a government is to develop my country."       
She urged all to recall the what the country was 13 years back.       
The Prime Minister said her government during 1996 to 2001 had set up the base of the development of the country and later Bangladesh witnessed championship in corruption five times, looting, terrorism, militancy, Bangla Bhai  in 2001-2006 during the regime of BNP and then emergency (caretaker government).      
"Actually eight years were spoiled from the life of the Nation," she noted.
Describing the Padma Bridge as the symbol of national pride, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said none can raise question about the standard of the bridge which is set to be opened on June 25.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said new economic zones and high-tech parks will be built around the Padma Bridge. As a result, domestic and foreign investment will be attracted and the pace of industrialization of the country will accelerate. The Padma Bridge is a major link to the Asian Highway. So the role of this bridge in regional trade is immense. Moreover, the tourism industry will also expand on both sides of the Padma.
The Prime Minister said the Padma Bridge will alleviate the long sufferings of the people on the one hand and the economy will be vibrant on the other. The bridge is expected to contribute 1.23 per cent to GDP growth and reduce poverty by 0.84 per cent annually.
She said at a Cabinet meeting on July 9 in 2012, we announced the construction of the Padma Bridge with our own funds. International financial institutions were also told that we will not take money from them for the Padma Bridge. Then everybody saw that how a class of intellectuals and economists in our country had resorted to fabricated criticism.
Replying to a question, she said Bangladesh got back its dignity due to the construction of the country's longest bridge with its own funds in a brave move after the World Bank withdrew from the project.
From the very outset, various quarters from within the country, particularly the MD of a "certain bank", had tried to undermine the initiative, Hasina said.
"There were a few people from our country [who sought to undermine the project], especially one person who doesn't have an iota of patriotism. I didn't know they were capable of doing such a thing. I was shocked to see that the post of MD in a bank could be so important."
"Some people wanted to exert their influence but we didn't allow that to happen. They wanted us to authorise an incompetent contractor but we didn't agree."
The World Bank later filed a case against Bangladesh in a Canadian court but failed to prove the allegations of corruption.
"The Canadian court made it clear that the allegations were false and fabricated," said Hasina.
"I thank them (the World Bank). Since that incident took place and we constructed the Padma Bridge from our own fund with courage, today Bangladesh has got back its dignity," said Hasina.
Mentioning that the bridge has been constructed maintaining the highest standards, the Prime Minister said that no compromise has been made on the quality of construction work of Padma Bridge. This bridge is built with the latest technology and materials in the world. The piles of this bridge have been laid up to a maximum depth of 122 meters. Sophisticated technology has been used to prevent earthquake damages.
The Prime Minister said residential and commercial plots have been allotted to the landless and affected families. Additional assistance, homestead development assistance has been provided. Various career-oriented and income-generating trainings have been imparted to them to improve their quality of life.
Regarding the construction of second Padma Bridge, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she will consider constructing a second Padma bridge on the Paturia-Daulatdia end of the Padma River if the cost of the Padma Bridge at Mawa-Jazira was recouped .
Regarding the flood situation in different districts of the country, the Prime Minister said, "I want to assure the people of the flood-hit areas that the government is by your side. We have taken the highest initiative to alleviate the sufferings of the people."
"I personally visited the flood affected areas of Sylhet, Sunamganj and Netrokona districts yesterday (Tuesday). Maximum measures have been taken to alleviate human sufferings. 1,285 shelters have been opened in the flood-hit Sylhet region. 300 medical teams are working. Till yesterday (Tuesday), 900 metric tons of rice, Tk 3 crore 35 lakh in cash, 55 thousand food packets have been distributed in 11 flood-affected districts," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said, "The most important thing right now is dry food and pure drinking water. We are making arrangements for them. The leaders and activists of our party are also delivering dry and cooked food to the homes of the affected people as much as possible."
Expressing hope that the situation will improve a lot in a day or two, the Prime Minister said the water level in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts has started decreasing. I have instructed local administrations to undertake up programmes of repairing houses and rehabilitating agriculture when the flood waters move away. Specific preparations are being made for the work of different ministries.
Senior Awami League Leader Amir Hossain Amu, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud and Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus were present on the stage while Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press briefing.







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