PM seeks national unity, vows to wipe out corruption


Dhaka, Jan 25: Stressing the need for a national unity forgetting all the differences to take the country forward, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said her government will root out corruption from the country through strict enforcement of laws.“Now, we need a national unity; we’ve to move forward unitedly forgetting our differences. The link of our unity will be the spirit of the Liberation War, non-communalism, democratic values, equality, justice, and development and advancement,” she said, UNB reported.

The Prime Minister said this in her televised address to the nation following the formation of her new government earlier this month.

“We’ll work for all. We’ll take initiatives to uphold the rule of law in every sphere of national life and establish good governance, accountability and transparency in public services,” she promised in her 25-minute speech.

State-owned Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television simultaneously broadcast her address. Private television channels and radio stations also aired the speech.

Sheikh Hasina formed the government for the third consecutive term following the Awami League’s victory in the December-30 parliamentary elections. The new cabinet was formed on January 7. The maiden session of the 11th parliament will begin on January 30.

After the landslide victory, Hasina said, Awami League formed the new government and it will work for all as all citizens of the country are equal to the government, irrespective of their party affiliations and views.

Mentioning that Parliament will be the centre of taking all decisions, the Prime Minister said, “The number of opposition members in the 11th Parliament is very few, but we won’t consider them with their numbers. Whatever be the number is, the due and logical proposals, discussions and criticisms by any member will be evaluated properly,” she said.

The Prime Minister urged the elected Members of Parliament from the opposition party (BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront) to take their oath and join Parliament.

Talking about the corruption, Hasina said she knows that there is a discomfort in society over graft in all sectors and requested all those involved in corruption to correct themselves.  “Corruption will be eliminated through strict enforcement of laws. We’ve taken initiatives to uproot corruption from different sectors by expanding the use of information technology.”

Putting emphasis on the participation of people in the government efforts to check corruption, Hasina said the work to create awareness against corruption taking assistance from mass media will continue.

Referring to the successful drive carried out against drug abuse, militant activities and terrorism by taking a zero-tolerance policy against those, the Prime Minister said, “These drives will continue.”

She said it was seen that some youths got involved in terrorism and militancy due to either global influence or domestic instigation. “Islam is a religion of peace…there’s no room for terrorism in Islam. I urge all the members of society to take a strong stance against drug addiction and militancy.”

Regarding the much-talked-about new cabinet, Sheikh Hasina, also the ruling Awami League chief, said she has formed the cabinet with both the young and the old. “[We’ve got] the experiences of old and enthusiasm of the young — with the combination of these two, we’re expressing our firm conviction to reach our goals,” she said.

The AL chief said Awami League does not believe in the politics of rhetoric.” Whatever the pledges it makes, it implements those.”

She mentioned that the AL has already implemented most of the pledges it had made prior to 2008 and 2014 elections.

“The biggest responsibility ahead of us is to create jobs for the educated youths and we’ve taken special plans for their employment. We’ve set a target to create 1.5 crore jobs in the next five years,” she said.

About the election results, the Prime Minister said the huge victory of Awami League in the election was expected as the local and international surveys before the election also gave an indication of such results. “You’ve noticed the survey results of London-based Economic Intelligence Unit and Research and Development Centre.”

She said numerous development projects, including some mega ones like Padma Bridge, of the government in its last two tenures attracted the voters to cast their votes in favour of the party.

About Jatiya Oikyafront’s defeat, the Prime Minister mentioned various reasons behind it, including giving nomination to 3-4 people or more in one seat, allegation of nomination trade and selection of weaker candidates, uncertainty over the selection of the Prime Minister if their party gets majority in the election, failure to project future plans for the people if voted to power, BNP-Jamaat’s countrywide arson terrorism and destructive activities from 2013 to 2015 which people have not forgotten yet and participation of war criminal Jamaat leaders in the election with BNP’s electoral symbol Sheaf of Paddy.

“Whatever be the youths are, they can’t side with the anti-liberation forces,” she said.

Hasina said the government wants to establish a peaceful society where there’ll be no envy, enmity and conflict, and where people from all religions, creeds and communities will live in peace; and everyone will perform their religious rituals with dignity.

She mentioned that the people of the country have given their mandate keeping their trust in her. “I’m promising you that I’ll try my best to give the return of your trust. For that I need your support and cooperation from all citizens, irrespective of their party affiliations and views. With your cooperation, Inshallah, we’ll establish non-communal Golden Bangla free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.