BNP appoints lobbyist against country with illegal money: Hasan

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Dhaka, Jan 18: Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today questioned BNP’s right to politics in the country, saying that this party has hired lobbying firms abroad spending illegal money to conduct propaganda against Bangladesh.

“The BNP-led alliance, especially BNP, is busy in hatching different conspiracies against Bangladesh. We have been telling this for long, though many might have had questions. But the reality is that BNP is hatching conspiracies against Bangladesh to stop the country’s ongoing development and progress and to create barriers in export trade through appointing lobbyist firms in many countries, including in the United States,” he said.

The minister said these addressing a view exchange meeting with journalists at the meeting room of his ministry at Secretariat in the city.

Hasan said BNP, as a political party, had submitted documents against Bangladesh through lobbying firms in 2015 and it made an agreement which was informed by the state minister for foreign affairs in parliament yesterday. BNP made the agreement by using the address of their Naya Paltan office, he added.

He said BNP paid 1.5 lakh dollars to the firm at the beginning as advance money and gave 50,000 dollars every month. They paid about two million dollars in three years and there is no scope of denying the agreement, said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.

Even they (BNP) made agreement with more than 12 lobby firms with different names and addresses, he said, adding they have spent millions of dollars in this area.

He said BNP hired the lobby firms for hatching conspiracies and spreading propaganda against the country to stop the country’s ongoing development and progress and to create barriers in export trade. Even Begum Khaleda Zia wrote an article in the Washington Times a few years ago where she urged the US to stop importing Bangladeshi products, he added.

The minister said BNP has submitted their income and expenditure report to the Election Commission (EC). But, they didn’t mention the expenditure of paying the dollars to foreign lobby firms in the EC, he added.

Hasan said the EC should summon them and an investigation is needed as to how the party gets millions of dollars. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the tax department can also play a role on this issue, he added.

Replying to a query, the minister said BNP doesn’t believe in mass people and their verdict and they think that someone would give them state power. Different mechanisms of the government, including the foreign office, are working on this issue, he added.

He said the government, led by Awami League, is a political government and “We believe that the countrymen are the owners of power of the country”. Awami League is running the country with the mandate of the people, he added.

On the other hand, he said, BNP believes in conspiracy, terrorism and instability.

Replying to another query over a comment of BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, the minister said ‘throne’ is a medieval word. They might think that it was a throne when they were in power, he added.