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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Foreigners intruding in guise of relief workers: PM

WT24 Desk

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government is aware of intrusion of many foreigners into Bangladesh under cover of relief workers, UNB reports.

Such intrusion, she added, might lead to trafficking of children and women, sexual abuse, terrorism and many other social problems.

“The government is issuing special-category visas for relief workers to address the problem,” she said when Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae met her at her hotel suite in Toronto on Monday.

The prime minister urged the envoy to bring it to the government’s notice if there is any difficulty in getting visa by foreign relief workers for working in Rohingya shelter camps. “The government is cautiously dealing with the matter as many foreign nationals are working in the Rohingya camps after coming to Bangladesh with tourist visas,” she said.

The prime minister’s press secretary Ehsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

He said Bob Rae informed the prime minister that he has prepared a report on his visit to the Rohingya shelter camps in Bangladesh made in November 2017.

During the visit, Bob said, he himself saw the situation and conditions Rohingya Muslims were facing fleeing violence in Myanmar.”Hosting more than one million people is a big challenge,” Bob Rae observed, saying they are closely working with the Bangladesh government to address the Rohingya issue.

The press secretary said Sheikh Hasina and Bob Rae discussed the sufferings Rohingya might undergo during the coming monsoon as the area they have taken shelter is prone to natural calamities, including mudslide and flood.

The prime minister informed the envoy about Bangladesh’s disaster management preparedness, saying a trained group of people along with law enforcement agencies, border guards, army and political party workers is ready to tackle any situation.

Later, deputy premier of Saskatchewan and trade and export development minister Gordon Wyant, QC and immigration and career training minister Jeremy Harrison made met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her hotel room.

They discussed matters relating to trade and investment and recalled Canada’s very special trade relations existing with Bangladesh for many years.

They congratulated the prime minister for Bangladesh’s economic successes in recent years under her dynamic leadership, showing keen interest in enhancing the trade relations and technology transfer, particularly green technology.

Sheikh Hasina recalled the historical relations between Bangladesh and Canada since Bangladesh’s independence and said the two countries have many scopes to further strengthen cooperation in various areas, particularly in education and nursing sectors.

Later, a business delegation, led by president and CEO of Commercial Corporation of Canada, made a courtesy call on the prime minister. The delegation was included a number Bangladeshi-origin Canadian businessperson.

The prime minister urged them to invest in Bangladesh taking the opportunities of the country’s very liberal trade regime. A trade delegation from Bangladesh would soon visit Canada to explore the trade and investment potential, she said.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, the prime minister’s principal sectary Md Nojibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Board (Bida) Kazi Md Aminul Islam, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haq and Bangladesh high commissioner to Canada Md Mizanur Rahman were present.

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