Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she expects constructive opinion and judgment of the media about the government’s activities, BSS reports. Wholesale criticism only helps the anti-liberation forces, she said. “Criticism will help us to stand corrected. But I expect you will not do anything which will strengthen the hands of anti-liberation forces who even didn’t want our nation’s freedom,” she said.
The PM made the remarks while speaking at a gathering of editors, columnists, writers and participants of television talk shows at Gono Bhaban yesterday. She invited them to exchange greetings on the occasion of the Bangla New Year 1422. “We want to move the country forward. I want your cooperation in this regard, and it is very important for us. Of course, you will criticise our lapses and flaws. But, it should not be for wielding the anti-liberation force to bark against us,” she said.
Hasina, also chief of the ruling Awami League, said her government had come to power to serve people, not to make its own fortunes. The government has targeted 2021 as it marks the golden jubilee of the independence, she said, adding, “By this time we want to make Bangladesh a middle income country.” The present government has only three years and nine months time in hand. There are lots of work to be done within a very short time. All development work should be taken to a particular stage before the next general election slated for 2019, she told her audience.
The PM said her government was confronting many obstacles created by the anti-liberation forces as it had started the trial of war criminals. After the brutal killing of Bangabandhu, the country virtually went under the control of anti-liberation forces. She said, “The work we have started, including the trial of war criminals, must be completed. Two verdicts have been implemented and we hope that we would be able to complete others defying all obstacles.”
Terming honesty the main strength of her government, the PM said a vested quarter had tried to tarnish the country’s image over the Padma Bridge issue. “We have accepted the challenge and decided to construct the bridge with our own resources.” Extending her New Year’s greetings to everybody, Hasina said a vested quarter was out to brand this celebration as a culture of the Hindus. But they forgot that it was the Mughal Emperor Akbar who first introduced the celebration of Bangla New Year, which was fit for the culture, custom and heritage of the Bangalees of the subcontinent.
She reminded that in 1993, the then government prevented people from celebrating the Bangla New Year and Shatabdi Baran programmes at Suhrawardy Udyan due to lack of knowledge about how the celebration had begun. “We had to fight with the then government to celebrate Pahela Baishakh,” she said. “Pahela Baishakh is an indigenous culture which combines every people irrespective of their religion, cast and creed,” Hasina said, adding that people of every religion celebrate the event with festivity while they remain busy with ritual during religious festivals.
The government is extending administrative and financial support to every upazila to celebrate the Pahela Baishakh, she said, adding that there was no logic to stop the practices of culture and literature on religious hypothesis. Welcoming the spontaneous participation of people of all walks of life in Pahela Baishakh celebrations, Hasina said the government had undertaken foolproof security measures at the programmes. Talking about the political situation, the PM said, “The country would have developed faster if we had not experienced vandalism in the name of political movement of the BNP and Jamaat.”
Pointing out her government’s liberal policy on the mass media, she said her government after assuming power in 1996 allowed private television channel with an aim to invigorate the sector. “Now as many as 41 private television channels are on air where our talented artistes, poets, technicians have found jobs contributing to enrich our art, culture and the media,” she said. Hasina criticised some international human rights organisations for their stance against the death penalty of war criminals of Bangladesh.
“It’s a ‘complex philosophy’ that human rights organisations speak for the violators of the human rights and remain silent about the human rights of the victims.” She also said the death penalty was not prohibited in the world. But they cried against the execution of the verdict against the people responsible for war crimes in Bangladesh. “In that case how relatives of the victims would get justice for the killings of their near and dears,” she asked?
About the fairness of January 5, 2014, elections, the PM said many countries even the USA had records of electing many candidates unopposed. There were also records of below 40 percent turnouts. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique, noted academician Anisuzzaman, eminent writer Selina Hossain, Editor of the daily Samakal Golam Sarwar, among others, attended the function.