Zia, Ershad, Khaleda weren’t serious about Bangladesh’s development: PM

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Dhaka, Feb 05: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said Ziaur Rahman, HM Ershad and Khaleda Zia were not serious about the development of country as they were not born on Bangladesh soil.“Only my father (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) and I are from the soil of this land. Others who came to the power are from outside Bangladesh,” she told a civic reception accorded to her by the Italy unit of Awami League at Parco Dei Principi Grand Hotel and Spa in Rome, UNB reports.

She said Ziaur Rahman was born in Bihar, Ershad in Cooch Behar and Khaleda Zia in Shiliguri. “If you look deeply, you’ll find that except Bangabandhu and me, no one was from the soil of this land,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said she, being the child of this soil, has some responsibilities towards this soil.

“Many came to power but they didn’t know the country properly as they were not born here,” she said, adding that it is essential to know the country properly to develop it.

The Prime Minister said the Father of the Nation and she herself took massive development programmes to uplift the country. “Proper planning and specific direction can change a country surely,” she said.

In this connection, she said those who came to power after August 15, 1975 never thought about the development of the country. “We think power as the scope to work for the people. It’s the chance to serve the people…I’m working as the servant of the people. It’s our aim,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling Awami League, said her party only wants the development of the country. “No one will be able to pull us down from our march towards development,” she said.

In this connection, she said now 90 percent of the development work are being done with own resources. “Now, we don’t beg to the development partners. Rather they are coming to us (with offers to assist development works),” she said.

The Prime Minister requested expatriate Bangladeshis to obey the laws and rules of the respective countries where they are living so that the image of the country is not tarnished.

She said the government has taken an initiative to send at least 1,000 people abroad from each upazila of the country.

She said the government has introduced modern e-passport after the digital one.

Regarding the harassment of expatriates at airports of the country, the Prime Minister she is well aware of the hassle and harassment.

“Actually character of some people in the country is very bad. When they came to know that a particular person is returning from foreign country, they think that he will give some dollars under pressure,” she said.

She also said giving and receiving bribe is a sin. Both are same type of offenders. “You people make their habit bad. Don’t do this in future,” she said.

In this connection, she mentioned the government has installed close circuit cameras at airports to reduce the harassment of expatriates.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Italy Awami League president Haji Mohammad Idris Farazi and an expatriate Bangladeshi in Italy Hosne Ara Begum spoke on the occasion.

Pointing at the construction of the Padma Bridge with the government’s own fund, the Prime Minister said, “We’ve proven that we can do any work by ourselves.”

She said the World Bank wanted to put blame on the government regarding the bridge. “I had taken it as a challenge, saying that we’ll build the bridge with our own fund and now we’re implementing the project with our own money,” she said.

The Prime Minister said those who grabbed power illegally after the assassination of Bangabandhu were busy changing their own fate, not that of the people.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has brought down extreme poverty rate to 10 percent and poverty rate to 20.5 percent. “InshaAllah, we’ll be able to cut the rate by two or three percent further this year and we’ve taken some special programmes to this end,” she said.

“We don’t want a single person to remain poor … Bangladesh earned its independence through the Liberation War and as a victorious nation, it’ll move ahead keeping its head held high and this is our aim,” she said.

She said her government is constructing houses for the homeless people through Ashrayan Project and also formed housing fund for them.

“Not a single people will remain homeless by Mujib Borsho,” she said, adding that Tk 100 crore has been allocated separately in the budget for rehabilitation of people hit by river erosion.

The Prime Minister said her government has given importance to technical education. “We’ve taken steps to build skilled manpower and for this, we’re setting up a technical education institute in every upazila,” she said.

About the country’s tremendous socioeconomic development in the last 11 years, she said there is no magic behind the success. “For this, it’s necessary to know and understand the country with utmost sincerity, love the people and keep confidence and trust in them and work for their welfare … we’ve learned it from our parents,” she said.

About the demand of the expatriate Bangladeshis living in Italy for launching Biman flight there, she said discussion is underway with the Italy government in this regard. “I’ll also raise the issue before the Italy Prime Minister during our talks,” said Sheikh Hasina.