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PM expects constructive criticism of media

59Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today expected constructive opinion and judgment of media about the activities of her government saying wholesale criticism only helps the anti-liberation forces with which her government is confronting at every step.

“Criticism will help us to stand corrected. But I expect that you will not do anything which will strengthen the hands of the anti-liberation forces who even didn’t want our nation’s freedom,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this in her inaugural remarks at a gathering of editors, columnists, writers and participants of television talk-show programmes at her Gonobhaban residence here today. Sheikh Hasina invited them to her official residence to exchange greetings on the occasion of Bengali New year 1422.

“We want to move the country forward. I want your cooperation in this regard, and it’s very important for us. Of course, you will criticize our lapses and flaws. But, it should not be for wielding the anti-liberation force to bark against us,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has come to power to serve people, not to make own fortunes. The government has targeted 2021 as it marks the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and Golden Jubilee of the Independence, she said adding “By this time we want to make Bangladesh as a middle income country.”

The Prime Minister said the present government has only three years and nine months time in hand. So time is very short but there are many works to do. All development works should be taken to a particular stage before the next general election slated for 2019, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is confronting so many obstacles created by the anti-liberation forces as it has initiated for trial of the war criminals. She said after brutal killing of Bangabandhu, the country was virtually went under the control of the anti-liberation forces which led the nation to pass a very bad time for 21 years.

“But, she said, we have to always remember that we are a victorious nation. So we have to go ahead with the spirit of the War of Liberation. We have earned independence through liberation war. So whatever challenge anybody gives us, we will overcome it at any cost to go ahead,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said, the works we have started including the trial of the war criminals must be completed. Two verdicts have been implemented and we hope that we would be able to complete the others defying all obstacles, she said.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor AAMS Arefin Siddiqui, noted academician Dr Anisuzzaman, litterateur Selina Hossain, editor of the daily Samokal Golam Sarwar, among others, attended the function while PM’s Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury gave welcome address.

Terming honesty as the main strength of her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, a vested quarter tried to stain our image over the Padma Bridge issue. We have accepted the challenge and decided to construct the bridge with our own resources.

She said the World Bank suspended financing of the Padma Bridge as they thought that we will not be able to go ahead without their money. But we have proved their perception wrong. The Padma Bridge would be an extraordinary achievement for which people of Bangladesh can feel proud, she said.

Extending her Bengali New Year’s greetings to everybody, the Prime Minister said a vested quarter is out to brand the celebration as a culture of Hindus. But, they forgot that it was Mughal Emperor Akbar who first introduced the celebration of Bengali New Year which was very much fit to the culture, custom and heritage of the Bengalis of the subcontinent.

She reminded that in 1993, when BNP was in power, they prevented the people from celebrating Bengali New Year and ‘Shatabdi Baran’ (centenary celebration) programmes at Suharawardi Uddyan due to lack of knowledge about beginning of the celebration. We had to fight with the then government to celebrate Pahela Boishakh, she said.

“Pahela Boishakh is an indigenous culture which combines every people irrespective of their religion, cast and creed,” Sheikh Hasina said adding people of every religion celebrate the event with festivity while they remain busy with ritual and entertainment during the religious festivals.

The Prime Minister said celebration of Pahela Boishakh, which promotes practice of art, culture and literature, is getting momentum every year across the country. The government is extending administrative and financial support to every upazila to celebrate the Pahela Boishakh, she said adding that there is no logic to bar the practices of culture and literature on religious hypothesis.

Welcoming the spontaneous participation of people of all classes in Pahela Boishakh celebration, the Prime Minister said, the government has undertaken foolproof measures for security of the Pahela Boishakh programmes. However, anxiety always haunted me if any incident occurs anywhere in the country, she said.

Focusing on country’s political situation, the Prime Minister said the country would have developed in quicker pace if we didn’t experience the vandalism in the name of political movement of BNP and Jamaat.

“In the past the nation never witnessed such vandalism and atrocities when innocent people were the main target of their vengeance. In the name of movement they indiscriminately killed and burnt people alive mostly were commoners.

Pointing out her government’s liberal policy on mass media, the Prime Minister said her government after coming to power in 1996 allowed private television channel aimed at invigorating the sector taking advantage of the booming technologies.

“Now as many as 41 private television channels are now on air where our talented artistes, poets, technicians have found their jobs apart from making contributions in enriching our art, culture and media,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has created facilities to allow people to have easy access to technology making their lifestyle simple. Side by side the government has taken steps for expansion of education and improving its quality, she said.

The Prime Minister said as a victorious nation, people of Bangladesh must stand raising their heads high. We have earned freedom through a war. But we could not reach the benefit of independence to the people even in 45 years as counter-revolutionary force was in power, she said.

Counter-revolutionary force ruled the country under military rule and killed thousands of people, freedom fighters, and army officers. They imposed curfew after killing Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975 and the curfew continued until the general election in 1986.

“Counter revolutionaries took the country to a completely opposite direction of the ideals of the independence and the criminals responsible for genocide and heinous crime in 1971 became the guardians of the nation,” she said.

Pointing out the influence of the anti-liberation force everywhere in politics, economy and society, the Prime Minister said their influence is everywhere even in international forums. So they have tremendous pressure on the government not to proceed with the trial of the war criminals.

Sheikh Hasina criticized some international human rights organizations for their stand against the execution of the death penalty of the notorious war criminals of Bangladesh saying “It’s a ‘complex philosophy’ that human right organizations speak for the violators of the human rights and remain silent about the human rights of the victims.”

She said the death penalty is not prohibited in the world. But they cry against the execution of the verdict against the persons responsible for war crimes in Bangladesh. ‘In that case how relatives of the the victims would get justice for losing their near and dears, she asked?

About the fairness of the January 5, 2014 election, the Prime Minister said many countries even in the USA have records of electing many candidates unopposed. There are also records of casting below 40 percent vote in many polls.

Highlighting the success of the country in various fields during the tenure of Awami League government, the Prime Minister said, “We are trying our best. May be we have to do more. We have come to power to work for the nation, not for our own cause,” she said.