Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused BNP-Jamaat nexus of spearheading propaganda against the country and urged expatriate Bangladeshis and particularly Awami League activists abroad to effectively counter them, as he joined overnight a community reception in Finland.
“The BNP-Jamaat clique is out to tarnish Bangladesh’s image by orchestrating conspiracies and carrying out false propaganda against the country,” PM’s speechwriter Md Nazrul Islam said quoting her as telling the reception in the Finnish capital.
He said the premier asked particularly the expatriate Awami Leaguers to “reply befittingly” to the propaganda as All European Awami League and Finland Awami League organised the community reception in her honour at Hotel Kamp in Helsinki.
Sheikh Hasina, now in Finland on a five-day tour on the last leg of her tri-nation visit that earlier took her to Japan and Saudi Arabia,, said the BNP-Jamaat were financially well off they siphoned off a huge amount of money abroad that they earned illegally.
She said they were now using the money to appoint lobbyists to conduct false propaganda against the country.
The prime minister also directed the expatriate Awami League leaders and workers to project Bangladesh’s tremendous development abroad adding “those who will be successful in brightening the image of the country will be evaluated properly in the party”.
She suggested them building up a good rapport with public representatives of the countries they were currently staying to heighten Bangladesh image, negating the propaganda.
At the outset of her speech, the prime minister extended her Eid greetings to the countrymen and expatriate Bangladeshis and noted with happiness that tens of thousands of people celebrated the Eid smoothy rejoining their near ones at their ancestral home.
She said the people were able to make almost jam-free travel on the roads in their Eid journey, while better arrangements for rail, river and air communication have been made for the home-bound passengers.
Sheikh Hasina said her government was working untiringly for the development of the country, and the people started getting its benefits.
“We’re working tirelessly to materialise Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dream of establishing a hunger-and-poverty-free Sonar Bangla” as he struggled throughout her life to bring smiles on the faces of the distressed people, she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh was turned into a food surplus country when the Awami League government assumed office in 1996 after long 21 years but when the BNP-Jamaat nexus came to power in 2001,” the country became a food-deficit county again”.
The prime minister said that the BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power at that time by giving a ’muchleka’ (undertaking) to sell Bangladesh’s gas to a country.
Referring to unbridled terrorism, militancy and corruption during the BNP-Jamaat rule, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh became champion in graft for five times when BNP-Jamaat was in power.
She said the BNP-Jamaat misrule and misdeeds eventfully invited the 1/11 political changeover installing a military-backed interim government for two years.
The prime minister recalled the expatriates’ cooperation for her return home during that interim regime and their support for the campaign to restore democracy in Bangladesh and acknowledged their contributions to the country’s economic development.
She said Bangladesh witnessed a massive socioeconomic uplift in the last 10 years that erased its image as a “country of famine, cyclone and tidal surges” as Bangladesh now appeared as a “role model of development in the world”.
Pointing out her government’s steps for expanding the social safety net programme, the prime minister said there will not be a single person to remain hungry and homeless.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is setting up 100 special economic zones across the country for industrial development and employment generation.
She mentioned that during her recent visit to Tokyo, Bangladesh and Japan signed their 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) deal involving US$ 2.5 billion for implementing four projects which will have a very positive impact on the country’s socioeconomic development.
The prime minister said the just concluded OIC Summit held in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia adopted a resolution to take the Rohingya issue to the International Court of Justice in line with her proposal.
All European Awami League President Dr Nazrul Islam, UK chapter AL President Sultan Mahmud Sharif and Finland AL President Md Ali Ramjan also spoke at the function when the premier said the government would consider a proposal for setting up a consulate office in Helsinki for expat Bangladeshis in Finland and Norway.