LOOKING BACK AT THE HISTORICAL 7TH MARCH 1971 জানুয়ারি 29, 2009 by nasarchoudhury One of my closest friends always used to tell me jokingly, “Pal, we achieved the liberation for you, if you hadn’t taped the speech of father-of-the-nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and played it on the Radio; people of our country would never have heard about the declaration of Independence, consequently they could not have fought for liberation”- I said” its not exactly so, dear”, the liberation was achieved solely due to the sacrifice of the struggling people for nine months, whatever I did was for the love for my country and our freedom. Before the onset of the liberation, the preparations were going on in full swing, as such the Radio played a significant role to support the movement. I used to be the Program Organizer in those days in the then Radio Pakistan Dhaka. My duty was to record all the events that took place outdoors and broadcast it from the Radio; Mir Raihan had assisted me too, as he was the Program Producer. After winning the election, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was supposed to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan, but somehow he along with the student leaders could sense that it was not going to be so. West Pakistan would never allow such a thing to take place. Thus, we started to undertake the liberation movement. East Pakistan Radio staff did not falter behind – we took a very bold step to change the name of our radio station “Radio Pakistan” to “Dhaka Betaar Kendro”, and subsequently started to broadcast programs with the new name. It was such an audacious role, I didn’t understand it then…Well, without the help of the Program, News and Engineering Department, such a feat could not have taken place. The names of these people are worth mentioning, who were actively engaged in carrying out this event. Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan-Director Mr. Ahmeduzzaman Asst. Director Mr. Mofizul Huq Asst. Director Mr. Mobzulul Hussain – Assistant Director Mr. Saiful Bari- News Director Mr. Jalaluddin Rumi – Program Organizer Mr. Ashfaqur Rahman Khan– Program Organizer Mr. Taher Sultan – Program Organizer Mr. Shamsul Alam – Program Organizer Mr. Kazi Rafique – Program Organizer Mr. Bahramuddin Siddiqui- Program Organizer Mr. Mir Raihan – Program Producer Mr. Faiz Ahmed Choudhury- Assistant News Director Let me now shed some light on 1971’s historical 7th., March speech, of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The preparation to broadcast the speech directly from the Race Course Field was taken diligently. Mr. Ashrafuzaman Khan (Director, Radio Pakistan, Dhaka) formed a strong team of Radio officers and asked everyone to carry out their respective duties. I myself along with the Director and the Asst. Director Amheduzzaman got ready to take our positions on the stage. I remember the name of a significant staff from the Engineering Dept., Mr. Samad. Below the stage were Shamsul Alam and Kazi Rafique, and at the Savar transmitting Center, Mir Raihan were posted along with the Engineering staff, Ashfaqur Rahman khan and Bahram Siddique were at the Dhaka Radio Station. From the morning it was being broadcast repeatedly, that the speech would be heard directly from the Race Course Field, subsequently the whole field was jam-packed with people. We put the micro-phone into position; and with me, I kept a portable EMI tape-recorder. Bongobondhu Sk. Mujibur Rahman arrived a bit late that day, and as he was gearing up to deliver his speech we heard a plane zoom past over-head. It was the plane on which Lt. General Tikka Khan was supposed to arrive. The whole mob got fairly excited in the field. Bongobondhu had almost started his speech, when suddenly,we got a call from the duty-room through the intercom to stop broadcasting immedietely. Major. Siddique Salek threatened Ashfaqur Rahman…that, if we carried on with the live broadcasting of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s speech, they would blow up the Radio Station. Abruptly, the broadcasting was stopped. Despite the threat, I continued to record the speech secretly on my own. Mr. Ahmaduzzaman (Asst. Director) quickly scribbled on a piece of paper that the Army strictly forbade us to broadcast the speech and handed it to the Radio Director; who then passed it on to the member of the Parliament of Tangail. The speech was already mid-way when it reached Bongobondhu’s hand. Those of you who were present there that day, must recall that at one point Bongobondhu said…”Just now, I have been informed that they are preventing the media to broadcast my speech”- He then requested the staff of the Radio and Television not to report to work unless they allow us to broadcast the speech over the media. The offices and administration were shut down immediately according to his request, but in the meantime, the entire mob in the field got panicky hearing the declaration of independence, and started to run amock, dispursing which-ever way they could. Yet, I finished recording the whole speech and managed to slip both the tapes inside my shirt. Then I packed up the recorder-stand and descended from the stage to join with Alam, and Kazi Rafique on the ground – I also found the director standing there and went up to him and whispered “Sir, I have recorded the whole speech on tape”. He said “Good Job” and praised me profusely. Then he conveyed the message to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information about it who was present thereand asked him what should be our next step. The Joint Secratary ordered us to leave the place and run away, but not to our homes; and added should there be any question, tell them, “I said so!” We all went to Kazi Rafique’s house in Hatirpul and from there, we instructed the Savar Transmitting Service to shut down the transmission. Within minutes the broadcasting went off the air. I now realized the grave importance of shutting down the Radio Broadcast. It sent a very strong message to the W. Pakistanis because the only link they had between them, was the Radio, has been totally severed. They got restless to learn as to what was happening in East. Pakistan. We spent the entire night at Kazi Rafique’s house and eventually learned that the Army got hold of the Director of RadioAshrafuzzaman Khan and surrendered to him fully. They even allowed the Director to broadcast whatever he wanted to, in return for the favor, that the Radio Station should not be shut down. Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan came to us and announced that, “Victory is finally ours, the army has surrendered to us fully, but I told them that its not possible to restart the transmission right away, it has to be done tomorrow and on the pre-condition that you must let us broadcast Shiekh Mujib’s speech.” They agreed. The preparation for the whole event started to take place, the Engineering Dept., was notified accordingly to restart the transmission again in the morning,my recorded tapes were played after repeated announcements to the public. Gradually the people of East Pakistan geared up and made all the arrangements for the fight for liberation. From then onwards all the speech of Bongobobdhu which was delivered from his residence at Road-32 Dhanmondi and other places were recorded and broadcast without any objection from the Army. Then came the horrendous night of 25th March, 1971. Prior to this,there were several meetings held in Hotel Sheraton where President Yahya Khan, Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sat down for a negotiation. Actually, the West Pakistanis were buying time to import some soldiers from the West in civillian-attire. We learnt later that they had proposed to Bongobondhu to accept the proposition to become the Prime Minister of the East while Bhutto should be the Prime Minister of the West. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did not give in to such a nonsensical idea. So, they left without an agreement for West Pakistan around 8:00 or 9:00 pm on that day. Then at midnight we spotted Army trucks full of soldiers heading towards the Radio Station and other significant places along with tanks and machine guns. Before anyone could make out what was going on, they started to shoot at sight, killing everybody at random, the most heinous and treacherous act against the innocent people of East Pakistan. In the morning we learnt that the news-paper office, Ittefaq, Rajarbagh Police Line and East Pakistan Rifles were under attack, and bullets were flying like crazy. At 9:00 o’ clock in the morning, the Commander of the Army ordered the staff of the Radio to report to duty. Nobody had any idea what had happened to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and his whereabouts were unknown. We resumed our work in the Radio, but in the meantime the Independance Movement got underway and continued for 9 months. From Dhaka Radio station, Taher Sultan, Ashfaqur Rahman, Ashraful Alam and others fled to join Shadhin Bangla Betaar Kendro(Newly formed independent radio station of Bangladesh). We stayed back to assist under-cover. My colleague Jalaluddin Rumileft the job and joined the liberation movement as Freedom Fighter. In order to support independent movement, patriotic songs, plays and speeches of Sk. Mujibur Rahman were carried by me and Faiz Choudhury, sneaking past the Army on bus and headed to Narayanganj to deliver them to Jalal to take them to Shadhin Bangla Betaar Kendra. The Army used to search me sevaral times and ask me question like where I was going with the Tapes, etc… I would lie to them that I was assigned to interview the Adamjee Jute Mill workers to make sure things were working there normally. They would let me go. It was learnt that the director of the Radio Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who was pioneer of the movement, has been replaced by Syed Zillur Rahman by the Army. The new director Mr Zillur Rahman used to like me a lot. One day, I was summoned to his room, and when I entered, I saw an army officer sitting there. Mr. Rahman introduced me to the officer as Colonel Kashem and also added that the colonel had some charges against me. The Colonelsaid, “You were involved with the betrayal against the country”. I denied the accusation flatly. The Colonel asked me sharply again, “On 7th of March, were you involved in the recording of the speech of Sk. Mujibur Rahman defying our order, and wrote a note and passed it to him informing that the Army was refusing to let you broadcast the speech?” I denied everything. But admitted “Yes, I have recorded the speech. But I have not written any note, nor I did pass it to anyone.” Then Mr. Zillur Rahman spoke on my behalf and said, “He recorded the speech may be after getting the green signal from his boss. Because no one can record anything without prior permission.”. Hearing this the Colonel pretended to extract a photo out of his briefcase, saying, “I have a photo to prove it. You were handing over the note”. I strongly denied the allegation, knowing well that I was not the one to pass the scribbled note to Bongobondhu. He didn’t open the briefcase any more. Mr. Zillur Rahman added that, “He is a Govt. officer, he is not involved with any party, I know him very well. Let him go”. Then the Colonel said,” Okay, but write down whatever you know about that day and bring it back to me”. I wrote down a bunch of fabricated stories and handed it to him, and he left. Mr. Zillur Rahman was a special friend of my maternal uncle Mr. Ali Hasan C.S.P who was the Communication Secretary of Pakistan at that time. Both of them decided and transferred me to Chittagong Radio Station, knowing that my name was in the army-list and that they may pick me up later from my residence and torture me to get all the information necessary. He said, “Go to Chittagong immediately. We will deal with the situation here”. So, I joined the Radio in Chittagong. Unfortunately over there they did not assign me with any duty, rather kept me as Officer on Special Duty. Maybe everyone there could sense something fishy, and they kept a distance from me. Seeing no other option, I phoned my friend Faiz Choudhury to wire me a telegram stating, “Mother serious, come sharp!” I didn’t feel like staying in Chittagong anymore, wanted to go back to Dhaka to finish my incomplete work; after a lot of coaxing I managed to snag a week’s leave from work and returned to Dhaka. In the meantime, I found out that they had barred me from entering the gate of the Radio Station Dhaka according to the instruction of the director. So, I used to stand near P.G Hospital (prevoiusly Hotel Shahbaghin front of Radio) and wait for my colleagues to deliver me moretapes as usual and then I would proceed to Narayanganj to Jalaaluddin Rumi. By this time freedom fight was in the peak. One of my friends Sherajuddin Bhuiyan was a Freedom Fighter… he always used to confide in me about his everyday mission and what would be next agenda, where would he be likely to explode a hand-made bomb, etc… he would say, “Today at Hotel Shereton and tomorrow at the Azimpur girl’s High School” This way the freedom-fighters upset the whole administrative system. Thinking back in restrospect, I feel amused how one day, while I was still a member of the staff at the Dhaka Radio, the freedom fighters had exploded a bomb on the runway of the Dhaka Airport. All the flights had to be cancelled but, somehow a plane carrying relief goods landed using a portion of the runway miraculasly to the tarmac. Immediately, we were ushered to the airport by the Capt. of the Army; myself and all the journalists. There we were shown from a distance that the plane had actually landed with goods. He then asked us to go back, broadcast and report it through the media thatno bomb had exploded there, this was nothing but a propoganda and a false statement from the Shadhin Bangla Betaar Kendra. Nothing had upset the system, and everything was running smoothly in the country. Despite all this, Mr. A. B. M. Musa, a renowned journalist marched in the front and we followed him behind towards the plane. Suddenly a security guard stopped us and asked “Kidhar jata hai?” (Where are you going?). Mr. Musa replied in broken Urdu, “Woh plane ke pass jata hai, woh Pilot ke saath baat-chit karega.News-paper me chapega”. “ News-Paper, woh kya hota hai?” he inquired. Mr. Musa explained, “Woh jo ‘Jang’ jaisa Akhbaar, jo maghrabi Pakistan se nikelta hai, waisa hi yehan ke akhbaar me chapega”. He didn’t understand anything and said, “Yehaan koi jang wung nahi chalega, bhago!” Since, I had the tape recorder with me, I proceeded to him and said. “Hum Radio Pakistan se aya hai”. He looked at me quizzically, and replied “Woh kaunsa Pakistan hai? Yaha sirf ek Pakistan hain, dusra koi Pakistan nahi. Bhago.” We had no choice but to return because he simply wouldn’t let us go near the plane. Next day, the media did reveal about the landing of the plane but along with the fact, that we were not allowed to interview the Pilot, and runway has been partially damaged by the freedom fighters. So little a time just in nine months, the Freedom-Fighters waged a war against Pakistan on 3rd. of December 1971. We used to watch the confrontation of the Indian M.I.Gs and Pakistan’s Saber Jets from the roof of our residence. We could see how one-by-one, the Saber Jets were shot down by the M.I.Gs. And also fires were shot at Saber Jets by freedom fighters from the roofs of the surrounding buildings. On 7th of March, in the Race-Course Field where Bongobondhu delivered his historical speech and at the same venue on 16th of December 1971, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the joint command of Bangladeshi freedom fighters and Indian Army. Everything came to an end. This was the day Bangladesh got liberated from the West Pakistan and became a new country, and this was the day all the injustices came to a standstill. Well, those two historical tapes which I recorded, where declaration of independence was said, used to be played from Shadhin Bangla Betaar Kendra everyday for 9 consecutive months during the war toboost and encourage the freedom fighters until the liberation was achieved. Nasar Ahmed Choudhury 1278, Epson Oaks Way Orlando, FL – 32837 Translated by: Nadera Sultana
Khaleda Zia lied in London : H T Imam
DHAKA: HT Imam, adviser to the prime minister, alleged that opposition leader and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia made false and baseless statements about him in London. “Khaleda has to apologise before the nation for her false statement about me,” said the powerful PM Office man at a press briefing Saturday. Refuting the remarks of the ex-prime minister, he asked her to prove her allegations. Khaleda Zia claimed that last caretaker government chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, former army chief Moeen U Ahmed and HT Imam had sat in a secret meeting in Cox’s Bazar just before the national polls held on December 29, 2008. ‘A decision had been taken to bring Awami League in power in the meeting on advice from foreign powers,’ Khaleda said during her London political campaign. Talking to journalists at the press conference at Awami League’s Dhanmondi office, the PM’s adviser also claimed that the speech of Khaleda is completely “false, baseless, imaginary and politically ill-motivated”. Throwing a challenge to the opposition leader he said, “When, why did I go to Cox’s Bazar? Khaleda has to apologize to the countrymen if she cannot prove this.” Expressing his surprise over such allegation of the so-called secret meeting in Cox’s Bazar in 2008, Imam said even he had not gone there within five years before that. He also told the journalists that people had rejected BNP in the last elections for their “misrule and misdeeds” during the four-party alliance rule. “Khaleda cooked up the cock and bull story to shift their burden to others.” Replying to a question about filing any defamation suit against Khaleda he said, “It is not fair to file case in connection with political issues.” The adviser said, “The Opposition Leader also delivered comments against the mass media. She said that Awami League is spreading propaganda through mass media by giving them money with the help of their foreign associates to destroy BNP.” Awami League joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif also spoke at the press meet.
H T Imam, Chairman of Publicity and Publication sub-committee
Statement by H T Imam Chairman of Publicity and Publication sub-committee 21st May, 2011. Dear friends in the press, As Salam O Alaikum. Please accept my regards and wishes. Today I humbly place myself before you to respond to certain baseless, false and misleading statements by Hon‟ble Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Devoid of any respect for constitutional democracy, Mrs. Zia has asked the present government to resign from office. Moreover she has presented before the nation a stunning yet unfounded and fabricated statement concerning me with former Chief Adviser of Caretaker Government Mr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and former Army Chief General Moin U Ahmed. By releasing such statements from London, the leader of the opposition has raised a generalized and superfluous, and obviously false and defamatory propaganda against me. The press can reveal the truth, and I pose absolute trust on their professionalism to unearth the facts. Today‟s press dialogue has been organized with a view to help people know the truth so that they are not misled by the false and fabricated statement by Mrs. Khaleda Zia. I am glad that you all have responded to my invitation despite your busy schedule. Through your good office, I would like to humbly present my statement before the nation thus: Dear colleagues, First and foremost, I would like to unequivocally protest against the false, fictitious and misleading statement and propaganda campaign against me launched by Mrs. Khaleda Zia. She has said, and I quote, “Fakhruddin, General Moin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‟s Adviser H T Imam held a secret meeting in Cox‟s Bazar just before the 2008 general elections. Decision to bring Awami League into power was taken from that very meeting under the aegis of foreign partners. It was clear to us that the elections would be manipulated to defeat BNP. Nevertheless, we accepted the 2008 elections considering the fact an elected government would be better than General Moin U Ahmed‟s Government.” As regards this statement, I have to say that I have not been to Cox‟s Bazar not only in 2008, but also for the last five preceding years. Hence, there is no question of any meeting held there before the 2008 elections. Mrs. Zia has fabricated the Cox‟s Bazar story just out of her sheer agony of landslide defeat in the elections. I now challenge, should Mrs. Zia have the courage, please prove when did I go to Cox‟s Bazar in 2008, and where the so called and fictitious meeting was held? If you fail, please seek amnesty before the people for misleading them. Mrs. Khaleda Zia has belittled people of Bangladesh by terming the free, fair and neutral election as a plotted one. This is possible only in case of those who play foul with people‟s right to vote and commit breach of people‟s trust time and again since their inception. On behalf of the government that came into power through a landslide victory, I strongly condemn and reject such statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. At the same time, I urge upon her to apologize to the people and withdraw her false statement. Dear friends, Leader of the main opposition Mrs. Khaleda Zia has not only taken a stand against the people but also issued derogatory statement against the journalists and the press. She said, “To destroy BNP, money is being spent among press by foreign allies.” We vehemently protest such indiscriminate accusations against the press. Who are these foreign allies as alleged by Mrs. Zia? If she has a specific proof or information regarding which journalist or media has distorted information by taking money, she should make specific allegation against them. We solemnly condemn such ploy to denigrate our journalists and media in front of the international community only through quixotic war. In reality, the BNP has moved through politics of conspiracy, coup and murder since its inception as a political party. In her statement, Mrs. Khaleda Zia has termed Fakhruddin as “only a shadow puppet, who was played by Moin U Ahmed from the back screen”. The BNP Chairperson, as wife of a former military autocrat, understands these foul games very well as General Zia made the then President Justice Sayem not only a shadow puppet, but also dislodged him from power by force. Zia then formed BNP with state power sitting inside the cantonment. He trampled down the nation‟s pride, the sacred history of the nation including that of our great liberation war, the Constitution and democracy as a whole. He repatriated the self-proclaimed killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and intended to put Bangladesh Awami League into the lean. To remain in power for long, General Zia staged the farcical Yes and No vote and made mockery with the people‟s right to vote thereby creating a rubber-stump parliament. Following that legacy the BNP Government put into tray the farcical election of February 1996, massive vote rigging election of 2001 and also attempted election engineering in 2006 which was nakedly exposed before the public as they registered over 13 million fake voters. Not only that, when the nation was aspiring for a neutral caretaker government in 2006, the BNP, violating the constitutional norms, raised age limit of Supreme Court Judges only to place their chosen Justice K M Hassan as chief of the caretaker government. They put another controversial person, Justice M A Aziz as Chief Election Commissioner and three other anti liberation elements, namely S. M. Zakaria, Mohammad Jakoria and Mohammad Modabbir Hossain as election commissioners. Question may be very generally put against the BNP, as to why they objected to the national electoral rolls with photo ID, and the transparent ballot box system? Who sacked en mass the freedom fighter officers from public service? Who politicized the entire administration and police for sheer political purpose? Needless to say, all these were done in a ploy to engineer the election in their self-style. Moreover, Khaleda Zia has termed Mr. Fakhruddin and General Moin U Ahmed as unfaithful and traitor. Is it because Khaleda herself promoted General Moin U Ahmed as Army Chief by superseding nine senior generals and brought in Mr. Fakhruddin to the limelight by appointing him as Governor, Bangladesh Bank after his retirement from World Bank, later on Chairman, PKSF, only in line with BNP‟s interest and act as accomplice to their election engineering plot. Reality is that the army backed caretaker government had first triggered its repression on Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina. They had imposed several restrictions upon our leader from coming home from abroad. It was her to be arrested first under the emergency ordinance. God knows what conspiracy was there to minus Sheikh Hasina from politics of Bangladesh. This is also known to all that how the then caretaker government tried to slow-poison the AL leader. Now, do you think that the Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina could go for any alliance or pact with that very caretaker government by any means? Rather the question still persist under which circumstances and agreement the accused corrupt Tarek and Coco were able to fly abroad? Despite Mrs. Zia‟s effort to conceal facts, the people will never forget what her party did. They, as part of execution of their election blue-print, appointed the then „two-in-one‟ president Yaaz Uddin Ahmed who himself led the caretaker government. Although people had the aspiration to have a free-fair poll on a level playing field, the Khaleda-Nizami racket was engaged in recapturing power by unfair means. And they were so confident that they inserted a new provision in the Constitution of Bangladesh laying that the picture of the Prime Minister (Khaleda Zia) should be displayed in all public offices. But the people of Bangladesh took stand for democracy and opted for Bangladesh Awami League. The much talked about emergency and the caretaker regime of Fakhruddin-Moin U Ahmed would not be in existence should the BNP along with Jamaat and their extreme right-wing allies not have attempted for a stage-on election. It is known to everybody that the President holds immense power during the caretaker government. Had the 2008 election been a manipulated one, why Khaleda Zia‟s „yesman‟ Professor Yaaz Uddin didn‟t protest against that election? Dear members of the media, History bears the record that the Bangladesh Awami League, as a pro-people organization, has always acted in favour and to the benefit of the country, the nation and the people. In so doing, the Bangladesh Awami League has never got involved in any kind or conspiracy or whatsoever. The party has always remained a friend to the people. Thus it has fallen prey to the conspiracy and heinous attacks several times. On the other hand, the BNP has always nurtured killers and plunderers of our greatest wealth, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, four national leaders – Syed Nazrul Islam, Taaj Uddin Ahmed, M Mansur Ali and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, who jointly led the country to liberation. Later on, the BNP indulged and harboured the killers of Shah A M S Kibria, Ivy Rahman, Ahsan Ullah Master, Momtaaj Uddin, Manzurul Imam, writer and thinker Professor Humayun Azad and Professor Younus and so on and so forth. Not only that, the BNP has speared on the sacred spirit of liberation war by erecting national flag on the cars of noted war criminals Nizami and Mujahid. They initiated and established religious extremist groups namely Bangla Bhai and Shayokh Rahman in the northern region of the country. You must have remembered, the BNP‟s State Minister for Home Lutfuzzaman Babor said, “Bangla Bhai is the creation of the media.” It is crystal clear that by launching several attacks on Bangladesh Awami League and its leader Sheikh Hassina and progressive thinkers and organizations, to note a few – the 21st August grenade attack on AL rally, bomb blast on UDICHI‟s conference, bomb blast on Ramna Batomul and many more, they (BNP-Jamaat) have just trampled down the spirit of our liberation war and tried to annihilate Bangladesh Awami League and progressive Bengali nationalism. By way of time, it is now evident that BNP leaders, particularly those close to Khaleda Zia‟s son Tarek Rahman, namely Lutfuzzaman Babor and Abdus Salaam Pintu were implicated with several heinous bombing and grenade charges on different occasions and different places, while, the other close ally to Tarek, namely Nasiruddin Pintu, has been found involved with the conspiracy of waging rebellion and killing officers in the paramilitary BDR (now renamed Border Guard Bangladesh – BGB). Don‟t all these conspiracy and barbaric incidents bear witness of BNP‟s atrocious involvement with militancy and conspiracy? My esteemed journalist friends, It seems from the statement and addresses of Begum Khaleda Zia that the people have forgotten her misrule. Thus she accuses, “industries are closing down for lack of power”. How come she makes such statement? Why the country is now facing power shortage? It is well known that during the previous AL regime (1996-2001) electricity generation was raised to 3,800 MW from 2,100 MW during BNP‟s earlier regime (1991-96). Later on the BNP Jamaat regime in 2001-2006 could not even produce a single MW of electricity. They rather downsized production to 2,300 MW. Now again, under the present Awami League Government the power sector is moving forward. BNP‟s agriculture minister, the infamous war criminal Matiur Rahman Nizami, virtually meagered down the sector – Bangladesh was made a food deficit country. Sheikh Hasina government started its journey with 4 million tons food deficit, while it made the country self sufficient in food production in its five-year tenure (1996-2001), as a result, growth in agriculture experienced 4.6 per cent up rise. On the contrary, the rate was down railed to 1.5 per cent during BNP-Jamaat rule in 2001-2006. Will please Mrs. Zia give account to this failure before the nation? The present government has attached highest priority to achieving self sufficiency in food and social safety net. As a result, the country has again experienced bumper production in rice. There is no debate on the issue that poverty reduction is impossible without self sufficiency in the food sector, where the global market price has risen up sharply. Despite the global economic recession, Bangladesh is progressing with a view to achieving a growth rate of 6.7% by the year end. Can the leader of the opposition answer to the question - why food production and power generation escalates when the Awami League is in power, and the country experiences opposite scenario during the BNP regime? Could she answer, why 19 peasants had to give their lives for demanding fertilizer during BNP rule? Or, what would she say about the 21 lives which were lost in Kansat while demanding for power? Why the Northern region faces Monga when Begum Khaleda Zia goes to power? Doesn‟t the BNP leader understand the difference between the two regimes? The jute sector has been rejuvenated after long 8 years, whereas the BNP mercilessly destroyed the Adamjee Jute Mill, the Peoples‟ Jute Mill and many more across the country and ruined the lives of the labourers. Now, the genom sequencing of jute has opened new horizon for Bangladesh, as the present government envisions to go forward with this sector. Signs of progress are also evident in education, health care and other development areas including physical infrastructure. The Dhaka Elevated Express Way is under way. Construction work of the Padma Bride will soon begin. The country‟s image is now that of a progressive and moderate Muslim democracy which was trashed by the BNP regime as they sponsored militancy and religious extremism. Through their misrule and the BNP Jamaat government put a stamp on the face of the country as a „failure state‟ and a „terrorist state‟. The country had to undergo a shame as it became champion in corruption for five consecutive years of BNP‟s misrule. Now, can anybody dub Bangladesh by those adjectives? The clear answer is NO. With strong policy of economic diplomacy and regional cooperation, the country is moving forward with its South Asian neighbours including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Shrilanka and Myanmar and also China. The country‟s image is being upgraded and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‟s fame and honour are also being enhanced. It is much due to combating terrorism, raising strong voice against and taking appropriate measures to tackle climate change, ensuring and expanding social safety nets enhancing regional cooperation and so on. My dear brothers and sisters, There is no political anarchy or conflict in Bangladesh now. The BNP leader could not destabilize the country even with numerous attempts including setting a train ablaze at Serajganj. They are now creating plot to demoralize the people by fearing them of political bogus boo, as was being practiced during the Pakistani regime. Mrs. Khaleda Zia spelled out in her statement, “Our sovereignty is now threatened. The country will nominally exist, but become the province of a neighbouring state if we allow this government to sustain more time in power.” Given her role in the liberation war and attachment with war criminals until now, such statement is naturally expected of her. She is also accusing that conspiracy is being through to make the country a province of India by signing agreements with it. But which agreements – there is no statement from her regarding this. She is actually waging a war as Don Quixote did. Whereas regional cooperation and connectivity have become pivotal focus for economic development, the BNP leader is screaming out in the name of preventing „transit‟, only to thwart development of the country. By doing so, she has been helping the anti-Bangladesh forces who for long have been trying to foil our heard earned independence and halt our economic development. Doesn‟t she take lesson from the eventuality in Pakistan? Rather, it is very unfortunate that she is still carrying the Pakistan-styled destructive modalities of negative politics. The BNP leader has accused that the Government is amending the Constitution bypassing the Parliament. If so, then how did the Parliamentary Committee invite her to give the views of her party on the amendment issues? She has not cooperated with the parliamentary committee by not coming to the meeting on the one hand, while, on the other, has been propagating false campaign that the Constitution is being amended by bypassing the Parliament. Does she think that the people are deaf and dumb? It was former President General Ziaur Rahman, the founder of BNP, who amended the constitution several times by martial law proclamation completely without people‟s mandate. She has been accusing that all affairs are being run by the whims of the Prime Minister. We are astonished to hear such allegation from those who created a parallel center of administration namely „Hawa Bhaban‟ during their regime. After assuming power the present government led by the Awami League has been running the state with a completely democratic norm, by way of taking decisions through the Cabinet meeting. The following table presents a comparative analysis of the two regimes in this regard: Number of Cabinet Meetings held Decisions Made Implementation progress Policy/Strategy formulation Agreement/MOU signed Laws enacted Present AL Government (6th Jan, 2009 – 31st March, 2011) 107 690 618 (90%) 23 47 136 BNP-Jamaat Govt. (10th October, 2001-4th January, 2004) 100 372 264 (71%) 7 26 79 Esteemed journalists, Begum Khaleda Zia is alleging that our government is planning to appoint caretaker chief at its own choice. The question is, whose choice was Yaaz Uddin? „None but a mad and a child are neutral‟ – the famous quotation has been proved by Begum Khaleda Zia by her deeds. The countrymen know that she raised serious opposition against caretaker government in 1996. Even, she made self proclaimed and convicted killers Huda and Rashid MPs through the 15th February election and spotted the sacred parliament. She was compelled by mass uprise to enact the caretaker government law by constitutional amendment in that very parliament. She herself not only destroyed the caretaker government system in 2006 by trying to appoint her chosen man as chief of the caretaker government but also ruined all institutions including judiciary and administration. Now, after the Supreme Courts‟ judgment on caretaker government, she has started shedding crocodile tears for the caretaker government system. For the sake of democracy, we urge upon the BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia to cooperate with the Parliament in amending the constitution. Otherwise, the party she leads and herself will be responsible for non-cooperation. In a completely undemocratic and unconstitutional manner, Begum Khaleda Zia has said, “This government must go now, and for that, BNP demands snap poll.” She however didn‟t mention any specific reason as to why snap poll now? As for reason, she has cited, “the nation is going through a deep crisis”. What is that crisis, she did not specify. But we see, she is now misguided by the fact that there is still a long way for her party to capture power by unlawful means. Practically, crisis is very much going on inside her own party as people are observing grouping and counter grouping within BNP, even in London. And her four-party alliance is also suffering from the same crisis due to their attachment with war criminals and extremist terrorist groups. Thus, she has taken the plea to keep these alliances aloof from the eye of the international media. The leader of the opposition should know that place for demanding snap poll is not the working-meeting in a foreign strand. The democratic process would be strengthened if she raises her demands inside the Parliament. We urge upon her good will to refrain from making such false and fabricated statements and destructive politics as we have seen her doing in the past. Thanks to all journalist friends for coming to this press conference and listening to my statement with patience. Best wishes to all of you. Joy Bangla. Joy Bangabandhu. May Bangladesh live long.
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