In a televised address to the nation in the evening marking four years of the Awami League-led coalition government, she asked people to be vigilant about their Constitutional rights and asked the opposition to reject the path of confrontation.
“The world is now saying that the present government’s massive development works are taking Bangladesh towards progress.
“To achieve our goals, it’s essential to maintain continuity of the government. And it’s you (the countrymen) who can give us the chance,” she added.
She commented that by giving her party another mandate, the people would be able to carry on the works for securing economic freedom.
The Prime Minister started addressing the nation at 7pm and state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Bangladesh Betar (Radio) aired the 29-minute speech.
Hasina said that the country would emerge as a poverty- and hunger-free, happy, prosperous, justice-based and non-communal ‘Digital Bangladesh’ on the back of the massive development activities taken up by her government.
She urged the opposition to do away with the politics of confrontation and said, “Don’t try to save the war criminals. The nation will never forgive you in that case.”
The Prime Minister called upon all to make real the immense promises to build a new Bangladesh being inspired by the spirits of the Liberation War.
About the trial of the alleged war criminals, Hasina said, “No matter how hard the BNP-Jamaat conspire, the trial of those who violated the dignity of our mothers and sisters and killed the intellectuals will be held on the soil of Bengal.”
She recalled the looting, arson and torture on the innocent Bengalis by the anti-liberation forces and local collaborators of the Pakistan army to say: “I seek cooperation from you, the countrymen. I solicit your blessing.
“Now the trial of the war criminals and anti-liberation elements has become a public demand.”
She was critical of the main opposition BNP’s stance on the war crimes trial who she said has hit the ground to save the war criminals by ignoring this demand. “They’re creating anarchy. Jamaat-e-Islami has chosen the path of destruction, she added.
The Prime Minister lambasted military ruler General Ziaur Rahman for providing identified war criminals with political platform. “The BNP’s unity with the war criminals is nothing new. Their founder Ziaur Rahman formed an illegitimate Martial Law government in 1975 and later began politically rehabilitating the war criminals and anti-liberation elements.”
“He (Zia) had released them from jail. He had brought many others back to the country and gave them citizenship and also established them in politics. He made them Prime Minister, Ministers and Advisors.”
Ziaur Rahman made Shah Azizur Rahman, who supported Pakistan in the United Nations during the Liberation War in 1971, the Prime Minister. Ghulam Azam also returned to Bangladesh on a temporary visa with a Pakistani passport.
In her address, the Prime Minister also highlighted the successes and efforts of her government in the economic sector in the last four years.
At one stage of her address, Hasina said: “Bangladesh is now being seen as the future growth engine. Bangladesh is now the fifth leading country in achieving long-term growth.”
She said the country was going through severe economic crisis when her government assumed office on Jan 6, 2009. “We faced an acid test after forming the government. So, we held a cabinet meeting on the very first day of the government and fixed immediate-, short-, middle- and long-term strategies.”
“The government has passed the last four years working hard. You’ve provided us all-out support. The flow of development has touched every family. We’ve taken a hard stance against corruption.”
In its electoral manifesto, the Awami League had pledged to start the construction of the Padma bridge if they would go to power. But after four years into its office, the construction of the country’s largest-ever infrastructure development project yet to start.
She further said her government made the Anti-Corruption Commission independent; it now can summon ministers and the advisors enjoying the status of ministers whenever its wants for the sake of investigation.
“Was it possible during the previous BNP-Jamaat government? Could the ACC dare summon any minister? You, the countrymen, will judge.”
“To remove all sorts of irregularities, those of Hall-Mark and Destiny involved in the embezzlement of money have been arrested. Drives are ongoing and will continue against different irregularities and corruption.”
The national anti-graft agency is interrogating former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy to exchange bribes in the Padma bridge project and Prime Minister’s Health Affairs Advisor Syed Modasser Ali on allegation of his influencing Sonali Bank to grant loan illegally to the Hall-Mark Group.
Hasina said that her government made money laundering prevention laws to thwart money laundering-related crimes including smuggling illegally earned money out of the country. The government also reformed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to rev the capital market.
She rattled off a list of successes including new opportunities for overseas recruitment, growth in remittance inflow, increasing export earnings and foreign currency reserve reaching record $13.11 billion mark amid global economic meltdown in the last four years.
The Prime Minister said that the Speaker, Cabinet members, MPs and government officials have been made to pay income tax.
About the revenue collection doubling in the last four years, she said, “As a result, we could spend more money on development programmes. The socioeconomic development has paced up.”
At the beginning of her speech, Hasina said, “After the end of four years in power, now we can say with pride that among the election pledges that we made to the people before the last general election, we’ve been able to fulfil the target in most of the cases despite different obstacles and limitations.”
“In some cases, we’ve achieved more than the targets.”
The Prime Minister also thanked the people for voting the Awami League to victory by a big margin in the ninth parliamentary election held on Dec 29, 2008.
“The government’s journey with people from all walks of life will also continue in the days to come,” she observed.bdnews24.com