The prime minister was addressing a civic reception accorded in her honour in Abu Dhabi on the occasion of her official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

She joined the event virtually from her place of residence in Abu Dhabi, while Bangladeshi expatriates were connected from three venues -- Bangladesh Consulate in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Theatre and Bangladesh English Private School and College in Ras Al Khaimah.

Sheikh Hasina said there was no continuation of the democratic process in the country for several years after 1975.

“There was a black chapter after 1975. That dark cloud is gone. We’re now taking Bangladesh forward following the ideology of Father of the Nation,” she said adding that Bangladesh is marching forward and none would be able to take it back anymore.

Noting that the country faced a problem during Covid-19 pandemic, she said now there is another new problem and that’s the situation created by the war between Ukraine and Russia.

“So, we are passing through another abnormal situation... Fuel prices are going up and various problems have appeared in the international arena. We’re also facing some problems. But I believe that we can overcome this in Bangladesh,” she said.

The PM asked the expatriates to tell their families and relatives back home not to leave any piece of land uncultivated to gain food autarky even in case of any global food crisis.

Spelling out her government’s development activities, Hasina said there is no scope for anyone to remain unemployed in the country unless he or she wishes so. “If anyone takes a little initiative, the person would not remain unemployed.”

About her visit to the UAE, the PM said she had talks with UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and some MoUs were signed between the two countries. “I think my visit has been very fruitful,” she said.

She asked the overseas job seekers not to go abroad through illegal channels. She advised them to take loans from Probashi Kallyan Bank instead of selling their land to pay for going abroad.

The PM urged the expatriates to abide by the rules and laws in the foreign lands to uphold the image of Bangladesh. “You’ve to protect your own dignity, ensure your own security, and uphold the dignity of both home and host countries.”

About the demands placed by the expatriates, she said the government has taken steps to ensure prompt passport services for them, and to strengthen surveillance to stop harassment at Bangladesh’s airports by installing more CC cameras there.

Hasina said when several flights land at a time, some problems over luggage delivery services are seen at the airport. Once the ongoing construction work of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is completed, the problems over luggage would be over, she said.

During the function, the prime minister virtually unveiled the foundation stone of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Building of Bangladesh English Private School and College.

Expatriate’s welfare and overseas employment minister Imran Ahmad also spoke at the event, while foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, PM’s private industry and investment adviser Salman F. Rahman, commerce minister Tipu Munshi and state minister for women Fazilatun Nessa Indira were connected with the virtual event from the three venues.

Three expatriates including a college girl also spoke at the event moderated by Bangladesh ambassador to the UAE Mohammed Abu Zafar.

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