Prime minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina told parliament on Thursday that BNP has to explain the source of crores of dollars it has given to lobbyists as part of their anti-state conspiracy and tarnish country's image before the world.
"BNP has to answer and explain from where they have got lakhs or crores of dollars to give foreign firms and how the money has been siphoned off abroad," she said.
The prime minister was speaking on the thanksgiving motion on president's speech and delivering valedictory speech in the 16th session of the 11th Jatiya Sangsad (JS).
Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury prorogued this year's sitting of the parliament after accepting unanimously the president's speech.
Earlier, the maiden JS session of 2022 began on 16 January while president M Abdul Hamid addressed the House on the day as per the parliamentary practice.
In her around 48 minutes speech, Sheikh Hasina said that crores of dollars are being spent behind lobbyists and questioned from where they got the foreign currencies and how did they spend those?
“Today money is being spent behind lobbyists ahead of the election. We must find out the account of every penny of the money and they must have to give the account of every penny,” she added.
The prime minister said that the lobbyists have been hired to prevent the trial of war criminals, thwart election, make elections questionable, protect militants and killers of the Father of the Nation, tarnish the image of Bangladesh and prevent the progress of Bangladesh.
With passage of the bill, the people’s voting franchise will be protected (more) and we will go one step ahead towards the election. We have further protected democracy and the democracy of the people will be established
She further said that BNP looted public money and siphoned off the money abroad during their five-year regime from 2001-2006 and now they are engaged in conspiracies and plots against Bangladesh using the money.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is advancing on all fronts, she said, “Those who don’t like the progress, don’t have patriotism, accountability to the people and love for them and plunder public resources, can try to hire lobbyists to destroy Bangladesh and to mislead the people by giving untrue information.
“It has been done not for any good purpose,” she said, adding that the PR firms have been hired by the government for enhancement of the country’s investment, export and production, and protection of the rights of the country and its workers.
“But, what was the purpose of the BNP?” she questioned. “The purpose is to destroy Bangladesh and mislead the people by giving untrue information,” she observed.
The prime minister said she has belief and faith in Bangladeshi people that they would not be misled by the propaganda.
“I have faith and belief in people that they will not be misled by the information. This is my belief,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that they have today (Thursday) passed the most important bill “Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners Bill, 2022” in the parliament.
“With passage of the bill, the people’s voting franchise will be protected (more) and we will go one step ahead towards the election. We have further protected democracy and the democracy of the people will be established,” she said.
The prime minister said they have taken preparation to pass the bill well before referring to the meeting with the country’s President held in 2017.
“It is our target to pass the bill and we have done it. But no other party has passed the bill,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as many as 22 amendments have been accepted as part of the bill from the opposition parties such Jatiya Party, BNP, JSD, Workers Party and Gonoforum which in true sense have made the bill as a bill of the opposition.
I think that America has resentment on those who are successful in controlling terrorism, protecting lives and human rights of the commoners
“The bill becomes the bill of opposition as 22 amendments have been taken from the opposition,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina came down heavily on the BNP, particularly military dictator Ziaur Rahman, her wife Khaleda Zia and HM Ershad, for destroying the country’s electoral system.
She said that Ziaur Rahman started the culture of vote rigging by arranging yes/no vote in 1977 and later presidential election in 1981 to illegally capture the state power, violating the Constitution.
Another military dictator HM Ershad did the same thing in 1986 following the footprint of his guru Ziaur Rahman.
The prime minister said they had given 23 points, including usage of transparent ballot boxes and a voter lists with pictures removing 1.23 crore (12.3 million) fake voters, to ensure a free, fair and credible election.
“Recently held election to the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) is proof that a transparent and fair election can be held during the Awami League regime,” she continued.
The prime minister denounced the issuing of sanction by the USA on some officials of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) including its former chief and incumbent Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed.
Referring to the success of curbing militancy and terrorism by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies particularly by the RAB, she said, “I think that America has resentment on those who are successful in controlling terrorism, protecting lives and human rights of the commoners.”
There is no benefit to entrust its responsibilities over the USA as the BNP-Jamaat alliance are responsible for it, adding, “Whom you hold responsible if insiders are doing harm for the state.”