Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government made diplomatic efforts to stop different Middle Eastern countries sending Bangladeshi migrant workers home.
Responding to a query from ruling Awami League lawmaker Benjir Ahmed from Dhaka-20, she informed parliament that Bangladesh was under diplomatic pressure following the novel coronavirus outbreak over repatriation of Bangladeshi migrant workers from those countries.
But the government made diplomatic efforts to ease the pressure, the leader of the House said.
Hasina said different countries were sending back migrant workers who went to the host countries through illegal means and those involved in crimes.
She said she has already sent letters to several heads of state or government of the Middle Eastern countries as part of her government's diplomatic efforts.
The foreign and expatriates welfare ministries have taken necessary measures, including contacting different Middle Eastern countries, in this regard, the PM added.
She said her government has sent medical equipment and pharmaceutical items to different countries as part of its "food and medical diplomacy".
Different Middle Eastern countries have sent back over two lakh migrant workers to India, but only 22,000 Bangladeshi expatriate workers have returned home so far, the premier told the House.
"The number of the returnee Bangladeshi migrant workers is still low due to timely diplomatic initiatives taken by the government."
Hasina said her government continued diplomatic efforts so that expatriate Bangladeshis could continue in jobs in their respective host countries.
She asked the manpower recruiting agencies to send Bangladeshi workers abroad after proper verification of their jobs and employers.
Referring to measures taken for the expatriate workers, the PM said Bangladesh has proposed at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to set up a fund for the expatriates.
Besides, the government has taken measures to provide incentives and loans to the returnees, she added.
About the recent killing of several Bangladeshis in Libya, Hasina said the government was taking appropriate actions against the recruiting agencies who had sent them to Libya.
"Bangladeshi migrant workers will not be in danger abroad if the recruiting agencies export manpower by following proper rules."
The PM said the people of the country should be aware of illegal migration.
She told the House that her government was taking stern actions against the recruiting agencies responsible for illegal migration.
Replying to another query from AL MP AKM Rahmatullah from Dhaka-11, the PM said the role of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Language Movement was erased from the history.
"Many people, including intellectuals, used to forgot to mention in their writings about the role of the Father of the Nation in the Language Movement," she said.
"Attempts were made to completely erase the name of the Father of the Nation from the history and propaganda was carried out against Bangabandhu after assassinating him in 1975."
Hasina said she has already initiated the process to publish a book on the secret reports of the Pakistani intelligence agency on Bangabandhu so that the country's people can know the true history of Bangladesh.
Responding to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujibul Haque Chunnu from Kishoreganj-3, she said Bangabandhu had never shared his experience of suffering in Pakistan jail with his family members.
'NAMES DROPPED FROM LIST'
Taking part in an unscheduled debate on alleged irregularities and corruption in preparation of the list of poor people for government cash assistance, Hasina said the government dropped "all other" names from the list.
"We have developed a system in Bangladesh Bank. After getting the list of the beneficiaries, we called the phone numbers and checked the registration numbers of those enlisted so that only the eligible persons get the government stimulus assistance either through their mobile phone account or bank account.
"After completing the verification process, all other names have been dropped from the list. That's why preparing the list of beneficiaries took more time," the PM said.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order, opposition BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid alleged that the AL-backed public representatives of union and upazila parishads were involved in widespread irregularities in preparing the list of beneficiaries as fake names were included in it.
He demanded the PM take measures to ensure transparency in preparation of the list and take stern actions against those involved in irregularities.
The leader of the House said the list of 50 lakh families for distribution of money was prepared by scrutinising it thrice.
"We didn't prepare the list only based on names sent by the union parishad members or chairmen. We prepared it through checking NID cards, voter list and other relates issues at the same time," she said.