Dhaka, June 9 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said different international agencies that come here to extend voluntary services never want the displaced Rohingyas to go back to their homeland.
“Actually, these agencies never want them (Rohingyas) to go back,” she said replying to a query while speaking at a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban about the outcome of her recent tri-nation visit to Japan, Saudi Arabia and Finland.
“The problem that I now see is that different international agencies that are providing voluntary services or working here (Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar) never want any refugee to go back. The (main) problem lies here,” the Prime Minister said.
She said many officials of the agencies working in Bangladesh fear that they will lose their job if Rohingyas who have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar are repatriated.
The Prime Minister also said Myanmar is in no way wants to take them back, which is another major barrier to their repatriation. “The problem lies with Myanmar. It (Myanmar) is in no way wants to take them back. There’s the problem,” she said, adding that Bangladesh continues its efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
After the signing of the repatriation agreement with Myanmar and making lists of the possible returnees, Rohingyas waged a sudden movement that they would not go back, said Sheikh Hasina questioning as to who instigated the movement.
Another problem is that the displaced people fear that they will be subjected to repression if they return to Myanmar, she said.
Hasina, however, said there are still some Rakhine people in Myanmar and immediate past Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali visited the Rakhine state.
About the relocation of Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar to Bhashan Char Island in Noakhali, she said the donor agencies have a serious objection to this as well. “Those who provide assistance to them (Rohingyas) have a serious objection though the government constructed very beautiful houses and structures at Bhashan Char for their relocation.”
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh had talks with China, India and Japan separately and all of them agreed that the displaced people are Myanmar nationals and they should go back.
Hasina said she is going to visit China by July next and will talk about the Rohingya issue.
“I couldn’t go to China last year despite having invitation due to time constraint. The Chinese President invited me to visit his country. I also got invitation to join the World Economic Summer Summit in China. Discussions are on to fix the schedule for the tour and I’ll go there by July next,” the PM said.
She said China and other countries want Rohingyas to go back to Myanmar.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh will not have to seek water from others if water could be reserved properly. “Bangladesh is delta [country]. All rivers originated from the Himalayas flow through Bangladesh. If we take steps to preserve water, we won’t have to seek water from others.”
While replying to a question from a journalist over Teesta water sharing issue, she also said her government has taken the Delta Plan and they are now dredging rivers. “What will they do with extra water? So, don’t be worried. They didn’t give water but is giving us electricity which is also good,” she said.
All the problems will be resolved one after another, Hasina said adding,” We’ve resolved difficult problems like the maritime boundary one. We’ve resolved the enclave problem in a friendly manner.”
Worry over eid security
Sheikh Hasina said was very worried about security during the Eid-ul Fitr congregations as various threats always keep surfacing through social media.
“I was really very worried during Eid Jamaats as (terror) incidents are happing. We paid a special attention so that no untoward incident occurs,” she said.
The Prime Minister said different types of treat come always in many ways through social media. “But I don’t want to frighten others saying all these.”
“Whenever any information (over militant threats) is received, we take necessary action immediately following investigations by intelligence agencies,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Eid Jamaats were held in a nice manner as the intelligence agencies, Rab and police worked sincerely.
Referring to the Sholakia eid congregation attack, she said such incidents could be prevented this time.
She urged people to remain alert so that the ongoing pace of the country’s development is no way hampered.
Sheikh Hasina reaffirmed that the punishment BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman was given by court in different cases will surely be executed.
“We’ve been in talks with the British government (to bring Tarique back home)…I can say the punishment (he was awarded by the court) will be executed today or tomorrow,” she said.
Replying to a question by a journalist about the update over government efforts to bring Tarique back home, the Prime Minister said, “I hate to take this name.”
She said Tarique has been leading a luxury life in London as he amassed huge ill-gotten money. “He tries to create some problems whenever I go there.”
Hasina came down hard on a section of people who shed crocodile tears for Tarique forgetting the misdeeds he committed when BNP was in power.
“How do you forget the August-21 grenade attack? I’s not supposed to remain alive the way the attack was launched. Ivy Rahman and many others died in the attack when they (BNP) were in power,” the PM said.
She also said repeated attempts and attacks were made by BNP on her life. “They also killed our thousands of leaders and activists. You’re out there crying for the killers who embezzled the money of orphans and involved with smuggling 10-truck arms.”
She also questioned how the government will try the criminals if people show sympathy to a convicted offender like Tarique.
Tarique, who was declared a fugitive by Bangladesh courts, has been sentenced up to life in jail in several cases, including that of money laundering, corruption and August-21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally.
No pressure on media
The Prime Minister said her government is not creating any pressure on the media to stop anyone from writing anything against her.
“We didn’t obstruct any one from writing anything…how many newspapers were in my favour since I returned to Bangladesh? All of them have been writing against me …I’m used to enduring it. I’m bothered little about it,” She said.
As a journalist sought her comment about an English daily editor’s assertion that he cannot write column now out of fear, the PM said, “The editor would not have dare say it if there had been any such pressure. No one created any pressure (on the media).”
The Prime Minister said the English daily editor and some others do not feel good when the democratic process continues. “They feel better when any undemocratic regime like military or emergency one stays in power since they can write following their directives.”
She also recalled that the English daily editor said in a television talk-show that he published some false news based on information supplied by DGFI. “What does it mean? ...he can’t write now as DGFI is not supplying him information.”
Hasina said her government is not supplying any information to the media through the DGFI.
“He (the English daily editor) can write whatever he wants. He has continued writing (against me). I never got assistance from those newspapers in my life…I also don’t pay heed to who says what since I’ve the belief that I’m working for the welfare of the country and its people,” she added.
The PM also questioned as to why the editor suddenly said he cannot write when there is no obstruction or pressure from the government side. “The nation thinks he cannot write now as he is not getting prescribed information.”
“If he wants he can contact the DGFI that will supply her information. What else I can say,” said a smiling Hasina.
Dedicated spots for foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar
The Prime Minister said the government has a plan to dedicate some tourist spots in Cox’s Bazar exclusively to foreign tourists. “If we can do this, the tourism sector will flourish.”
Turning to Cox’s Bazar Airport, she said, “We’ve taken steps to upgrade Cox’s Bazar airport to international standard and work is going to connect it with global routes.”
There will be a refueling station in Cox’s Bazar and the flights of international routes will not only refuel here but also see the beauty of the sea beach if it could be developed properly, Hasina said.
The 127-km sandy beach, which has special significance to tourists, will be developed, she said.
Travel by Biman, come what may
In an apparent reference to a pilot’s travel to Doha without his passport to bring her back, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said an incident takes place whenever she boards a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
“There was a ticket problem at Biman. There was no ticket despite having vacant seats. But now no seat remains vacant after I ordered action. Those who used to do ticket trade have resentment. This is why whenever I fly (Biman) either an incident takes place or it hits headlines,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said she asked for prompt action against those who were on duty at the immigration for allowing the Biman pilot to go to Doha International Airport without his passport to bring her back.
Mentioning that anyone might forget to carry his/her passport, she questioned as to why his passport was not checked during immigration.
Hasina said many are requesting her not to travel by Bangladesh Biman aircraft, but she expressed her firm determination to travel by the national flag carrier even if she faces death.
She asked the authorities concerned to ensure tight security at airports so that no one –- VIP or VVIP -- can pass the immigration without any check.
A Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight carrying the Prime Minister had to make an emergency landing at Ashgabat International Airport in Turkmenistan on her way to Budapest on November 27, 2016 due to low oil pressure in its engine.