‘Government or party not responsible for anyone’s comments abroad’

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan MahmudBSS

Minister for information and broadcasting Hasan Mahmud, referring to the comments made by foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, has said that the government or the party is not responsible if anyone goes abroad, makes certain comments.

The information minister was speaking at a press briefing on current issues at the secretariat today, Sunday.

Hasan Mahmud said, their (Awami League’s) strength was the people. They believe in the power of the people. And, he added, the actual words of the foreign minister had been distorted.

In reply to a question from the journalists, the information minister said, “He (the foreign minister) is no one in Awami League’s central committee. And so he is not given any responsibility to speak on behalf of Awami League overseas.”

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, speaking at a Janmashtami event in Chattogram on Thursday, had said he had been to India and had requested them to do anything that was required to keep the present government in power.

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The next day, Friday, he explained his statement while in Tungipara, Gopalganj. He said, “I said that we wanted Sheikh Hasina’s stability to remain in place. We will be happy if you (India) help us in this regard.”

The foreign minister’s remarks created a stir in the country’s political arena. Various parties reacted strongly to the comments and expressed their anger. Many remarked that this had tarnished the country’s image.

The Indian foreign ministry did not officially react to Momen’s statement. However, sources in the ministry said that Momen’s comments were embarrassing and perturbing for India.

In reply to journalists questions about various statements made by certain ministers, the information minister said, “I feel responsible positions require one to speak in a responsible manner.”

At the press briefing, the information minister spoke about the horrific grenade attack in front of the Awami League central office in 2004. He said, the prime minister and the state machinery at the time had been involved in the incident. The grenade attack, he said had been carried out at the directives of the BNP acting chairperson Tarique Rahman and the former home minister Lutfuzzaman Babar.

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Today, 21 August, is the anniversary of that brutal day of killing. On this day 18 years ago in 2004, a grenade attack was staged in front of the Awami League central office at a rally of Sheikh Hasina, who had been leader of the opposition at the time. A total of 24 people were killed in the attack, including Awami League’s women affairs secretary Ivy Rahman. A few thousand Awami League leaders and activists, including Sheikh Hasina, had been injured.

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