PM Hasina expresses gratitude for welcoming her ignoring 1/11 govt’s ban

Governing Bangladesh Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses parliament session on 7 May, 2024

Governing Bangladesh Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday expressed gratitude to her party leaders and activists as well as the mass people for welcoming her at the airport, ignoring the 1/11 government’s ban while returning home from abroad.

“I was arrested repeatedly. There were many obstacles, such as direct gunshots. Today, I am able to serve the people by overcoming all the bombs and grenade attacks. I’m working for the people after stepping up with courage. We’re moving forward with the strength of the people,” she said.

The Leader of House told these at the parliament while referring to her return to the country from the United States via London on 7 May, 2007 during the army-backed caretaker government, popularly known as 1/11 government.

Fisheries and livestock minister Abdur Rahman initiated an unscheduled discussion in the parliament about Sheikh Hasina’s homecoming (on 7 May, 2007) during the government of 1/11.

The prime minister said that many advisers of the caretaker government also advised her not to return to the country.

“We (the caretaker government and advisers) will do whatever is required to keep you out of the country. Some people even threatened me and said that I would be killed at the airport if I returned to Bangladesh. I said, “Alhamdulillah, I will die on the soil of Bangladesh, but I shall return to my country.”

Sheikh Hasina recalled that all airlines were asked not to provide her a boarding pass, saying that “I stood at the American airport for three hours and argued with them and then I came to London by British Airways. After arriving there, when I went to board again, I was not allowed to board.”

“That day I promised to return to Bangladesh at any cost,” she said, adding, “Even when I left for the airport, many people called and told me not to come, they (1/11 government) will kill you. I didn’t care.”

Expressing her gratitude to the leaders and workers of Awami League, Sheikh Hasina said everyone, at that time, was asked not to go to the airport.

“Even from within my party … the then general secretary of the party told everyone that anyone, who goes to the airport, will be expelled from the party.”

The AL president said that she had just sent the message that everyone will be there in the airport, and when she will get down from the aircraft everyone will gather at the airport to welcome her.

“I was told that I would be taken to an undisclosed location. When I got in the car, I told the driver to go among the people. Don’t take to the flyovers,” she added.

Mentioning that thousands of people were on the streets that day, Sheikh Hasina thanked the party leaders and workers for gathering at the airport by ignoring all threats. “They not only welcomed me but also gave me security,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said that she went to see Sabina Yasmin, an eminent singer who was suffering from cancer, in a capital city hospital before she was arrested during the 1/11 government.

“It is true that I went there in a guerrilla style. Because I know I won’t be allowed to go out. At that time, avoiding the eyes of the police, I went straight to the hospital,” she said.

At that time, she questioned who was running the country and added, “That was my question. That day I said something very harsh. The next morning the police, the army came to my home and arrested me.”

After the arrest, she was kept in a deplorable building in the parliament area.

Sheikh Hasina also said that she was repeatedly arrested during the Ershad regime.

She went on saying, “I stand to thank the people of Bangladesh and the leaders and workers of my party. Many are not alive today. They and the mass people went that day ignoring all threats for which I was able to return to the country.”

Highlighting her sister Sheikh Rehana’s role during the regime of 1/11 government, Sheikh Hasina said, “When I was in prison, my younger sister Sheikh Rehana, she doesn’t do politics, she is not in front, but she can do anything possible which is impossible.”

She continued, “She (Sheikh Rehana) communicated with all leaders and activists of each district, upazila. She worked (for us) staying in London.  My prayers are for her too.”

The leader of the House said that the people of the country are the only strength and motivation for her.

“Going forward with this strength, Bangladesh is moving forward and Bangladesh will move forward. I will make Bangladesh that country as was dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she added.