Bangladesh to move ahead despite Rohingya influx: PM
Asserting that Bangladesh never felt scared in facing problems, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the country will surely make its great strides in development despite the inflow of tens of thousands of forcibly evicted Myanmar nationals into it.
"We, the Bangalee nation, fought and liberated the country at the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman . . . we never got scared in the face of any problem. We rather want to advance further by tackling it (problem)," she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while exchanging views with Awami League leaders based in the United Kingdom (UK) and other European countries yesterday.
Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Hasina said discussions with Myanmar have already begun to resolve the crisis with the recent visit of its Minister of the Office of State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe to Bangladesh.
"But, Bangladesh extended shelter to the victims of the forced exodus on humanitarian grounds as the people of this country always believed in humanity," she said.
Hasina said, "Human beings are for human beings... we can't throw them (Myanmar people) out into the Bay of Bengal (and) If we could feed 16 crore people, we can also feed additional five to seven lakh people at their time of distress."
She further said, "If necessary, we'll take one meal a day and share another with these distressed people . . . we're not that rich but our heart is big enough and we stand for mankind."
The prime minister said the hapless Rohingya people who fled to Bangladesh will be shifted to an island called "Bhasan Char" from Cox's Bazar.
Hasina who along with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana visited the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar before flying to New York to attend the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly narrated the horrifying stories she heard from the fleeing women and children from the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
She said the civil administration, army, navy and air force, BGB, police and her party volunteers were working hard to mitigate the sufferings of these people.
"Without waiting for any external assistance, we've made arrangement for accommodation, food and medicine," Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said the international community was amazed to see the generosity of accepting such a huge number of people by the Bangladesh government.
Turning to the Padma Bridge Project, she expressed happiness again over the first installation of a span on the country's biggest infrastructure project. "We've proved, we can," she said.
Hasina said ill-efforts were made by vested quarters to tarnish her and her family's image by bringing false allegations of corruption. "But, all the allegations were proved wrong in the Canadian Federal Court," she said.
She said Bangladesh has set up a glaring example in the world by constructing this huge bridge in such a mighty river with strong current.
On the recent flood in the country, Hasina said the deluge has caused massive damage to crops. But there is an adequate stock of food while the government is importing rice so that the people do not have to suffer, she added.
Sheikh Hasina also mentioned the destruction and mindless atrocities perpetrated by the BNP-Jamaat clique in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
She urged the expatriate leaders of Awami League and its associate bodies to work unitedly for the victory of the party in the next general elections.
She also called upon them to further brighten the country's image abroad through their works.
Awami League central office secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, president of the UK chapter Awami League Sultan Mahmud Sharif, Vice-President Jalaluddin Ahmed, general secretary Syed Sajedur Rahman and joint secretary Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury were, among others, present.