Patrons of militancy must face trial: PM

New Age Online
sheikh hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a meeting of leaders and activists of greater Washington chapter of Awami League at Ritz Carlton hotel in Virginia on Wednesday. – Focusbangla photo

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has said those who patronise militancy in the country by supplying money and giving order, protected war criminals and burned down innocent people by petrol bombs must face trial.
About the civil law suits against Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat leaders, she said, ‘these are not political cases… these are cases of burning people,’ she said speaking at a meeting of leaders and activists of greater Washington chapter of Awami League at Ritz Carlton hotel in Virginia Wednesday afternoon.
Sheikh Hasina said the persons who are guilty must be punished. Those who nurtured offenders, made war criminals ministers should also face trial, she said amidst slogans of hundreds of party followers in support of the trial.
She also ridiculed the BNP leadership for relying on foreigners and giving complaints frequently without any substance about country’s politics and said they have no confidence in the strength of the people.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina who stepped into 70 on Wednesday and observed her birthday without any pomp and grandeur said she learnt the lesson in her childhood from her late lamented parents to sacrifice for others’ wellbeing. Members of her family never celebrated their birthdays in a luxurious fashion when people of Bangladesh had to struggle for food and shelter in those days.
She also offered her deep condolence for the sad demise of eminent poet Syed Shamsul Haq whom she visited at hospital in Dhaka before her coming to New York.
‘I don’t like to cut cake to celebrate my birthday…My only motto is to complete the unfinished task of Bangabandhu to bring smile to the downtrodden and exploited masses,’ she said.
She also recounted the sacrifice of her mother in absence of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to organise Awami League, face cases filed by the Pakistani regime and steer the movement for independence.
The prime minister also recalled how Sheikh Mujibur Rahman reconstructed the war ravaged Bangladesh and rebuilt economy in the post-independence era and realised recognition of Bangladesh by OIC and Commonwealth countries.
She said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had initiated the demarcation process of lands and enclaves between Bangladesh and India through signing the Mujib-Indira Agreement and settlement of maritime boundary with Myanmar and India. Moreover, it was him who bought gas fields after the independence from the then Shell Oil Company as a far sighted step to build Bangladesh.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman laid the foundation of all basic work starting from infrastructure to economy and framing the constitution in just three and half years of his government. ‘Had he been alive Bangladesh could have set up an example in the world,’ she said.
The prime minister flashed back on her painful experience of her life after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and her family members on August 15, 1975 and said she had led a refugee life for nearly six years abroad.
She said, after returning to Bangladesh in 1981 as the president of Awami League, the ordeal did not end as she had to face various obstruction by the military junta of General Zia as well as internal strife from her own party.
‘Always Awami League leaders and workers stood beside me in my difficult time. Big leaders make mistake but grassroots workers do not,’ she said amidst cheers from her followers.
Referring to the capture of power illegally and formation of BNP by General Zia, she said Zia violated the army rules and the constitution. The party that was formed through illegal way cannot do well for the people; she said and alleged that Zia’s son (Tarique) laundered money which was proved through FBI investigation.
‘We do not traverse through dishonest ways. We don’t think of making our own fortune. Our thoughts always guide us how to do wellbeing of the people,’ she said.
On the rule by the post-75 rulers, the prime minister said the Zia, Khaleda and Ershad regimes were the weakest governments and those regimes never ever dared to raise the issue of implementing the Land boundary Agreement with India or to resolve the maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar.
‘They were only busy with make their own fortunes,’ she said, adding their policy was to make the nation beggar and economically crippled.
Amid slogans and clapping, the prime minister said it is her government to resolve the exchange of enclaves after long 68 years with India and demarcated the maritime boundaries with the two neighbors of India and Myanmar peacefully in the international court, creating a history in the world.
The prime minister mentioned how her government attained self-sufficiency in food, resolved the nagging power crisis, planned to set up nuclear power plant and provides medicare to the poor through community clinics and drives the country towards the path of digitalisation.
She also narrated the story of her challenge to the World Bank about its allegation of corruption in the Padma Bridge project, saying that the bank failed to show any evidence of corruption and her government started construction of the bridge from its own fund.
‘Whenever I faced difficulties I got the support of the people for whom I’ve dedicated everything,’ she said.
The prime minister advised the expatriates to remain careful against the backdrop of violent extremism that claims many lives of Bangladeshis in the USA. ‘The killing of Bangladeshi expatriates here is not acceptable….terrorism is everywhere, so remain careful,’ she said.

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