Polls held were fair, claims PM Hasina

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland calls on prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: PID

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said her government is working for strengthening democracy in the country and accelerating its development.

She made the remarks when visiting Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland met her at her office in the city, reports UNB.

PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed newsmen after the meeting.

The country’s GDP growth is now 7.78 per cent, while the inflation rate 5.5 per cent, she said adding that her government is working for women empowerment at the grassroots level and now a large number of women is participating in socio-economic development, he said.

“We’re encouraging young entrepreneurs - both men and women,” Ihsanul Karim quoted the prime minister as saying.

About the Rohingya issue, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is having discussions with Myanmar. The biggest worry for the government is safety of the displaced Rohingyas who took shelter in Bangladesh.

She said the influx of 1.1 million Rohingyas has created problems for Bangladesh and local people are also suffering as the Rohingyas occupied their lands in Cox’s Bazar.

Turning to terrorism, Sheikh Hasina said her government has successfully combated terrorism and involved the people from all walks of life in the movement against the social menace. “It almost turned into a social movement. We don’t want to allow our children to indulge in terrorism.”

Talking about the election, she said more than 6,000 elections - local body polls and parliamentary by-polls - were held during the tenure of incumbent government and all the elections were free and fair.

About sports, the prime minister said Bangladesh women's cricket team have recently clinched the Asian Championship, while the Bangladesh national cricket team are also doing well. The government is promoting sports as a whole, she added.

Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland stressed the need for trade facilitation among the Commonwealth countries.

She said it will have to reduce trade barriers among the Commonwealth countries and enhance the connectivity for the SMEs network.

Patricia said the Commonwealth is ready to extend cooperation in upholding the democratic process in Bangladesh.

Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland hands over Charter of the Commonwealth to prime minister Sheikh Hasina at thelatter’s office in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: PIDTalking about cricket, the Commonwealth secretary general stressed the need for creating Commonwealth Cricket Club and introduction of Commonwealth Cricket League with the participation of both male and female teams.

“We should create Commonwealth Cricket Club...and introduce Commonwealth Cricket League,” the PM’s press secretary quoted Patricia Scotland as saying.

She said the participation of women in the Commonwealth League will enhance their confidence and determination.

Patricia Scotland highly appreciated the women empowerment in Bangladesh and said women should be involved in trade. She also suggested engaging women and girls in the SMEs.

Mentioning that the displaced Rohingyas are burden on Bangladesh, she praised the prime minister for hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas calling it a ‘great compassion’.

Scotland also appreciated the role of Bangladesh in combating terrorism and presented a copy of the Commonwealth Charter to the Sheikh Hasina.

Principal secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Md Nojibur Rahman was present during the meeting.

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