I would shut everything if they talk much: PM Hasina

rime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at a media conference on 6 October, 2023

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has slammed the individuals critical of her government and its handling of forex reserves and warned that she would shut everything down and observe the aftermath if they talk too much.

"If you talk too much, I would shut down everything. If I return to power after the election, I would do it (resume their operation) again. I want to see who dares to take over... the power," she told a press conference at Ganabhaban on Friday.

Referring to criticisms over the elections and dwindling forex reserves, Sheikh Hasina said, "After arranging everything, I have to hear so-called witty sentences about the election, voting, and the economy. But I do not want to hear them."

She held the press briefing to share her experiences at the United Nations (UN), the United States (US), and the United Kingdom (UK).

Responding to a question on forex reserves, Sheikh Hasina said, "I did not come to this country today; I am 77. I joined processions at the age of 15-16, so how long is my political career? I have been participating in processions since my school life and have continued to do so. I have lost everything, including my parents and siblings, and have nothing more to lose. I did not come here to gain anything or take anything."

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Noting that developments here did not come out of thin air, the prime minister said all (the foreigners) used to give a snobbish expression hearing about Bangladesh, but the scenario has changed now. They now see Bangladesh with special dignity and consider it a role model for development.

She attributed the success to the Awami League government and its pragmatic steps.

Regarding the waning forex reserves, she said, "Many people can make different statements regarding the forex reserve. If it triggers such a large-scale discussion, I will bring it down to the level I found when forming the government and will go into the election. I will pull it up (after the election) but want to show the people what the previous situation was like."

"Should I decrease the electricity supply from the current 100 per cent to 28 per cent? Let everyone experience what the situation was like (during the BNP government). We forget everything. I had asked the power minister to cause load shedding for some time daily so that people can keep the issue of load shedding in mind. They will have to buy fuel to run generators," she added.

Sheikh Hasina reminded everyone of the amount of forex reserves in 2009. "We formed the government in 2009. Prior to that, there were many so-called learned people in power. But what was the amount of foreign currency reserves? It was $0.77 billion, not even one billion. What was the amount of reserves when I formed the government in 1996? It was perhaps $2.5 million, not even close to a billion. Whenever it increased, we did it during our tenure."

She continued, saying, "Now, If you say we need to increase the reserve leaving the people in the dark, let us shut down the power plants, stop the supply of water and fertiliser. There will be a handsome amount of forex reserves if everything is closed. What is the priority? Maintaining a healthy reserve or the comfort and well-being of the people?"