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PM Hasina: Myanmar reluctant to take Rohingyas back

  • Published at 12:16 am June 10th, 2019
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the nation at a press conference at her official residence Ganabhaban on Sunday, June 9, 2019 Focus Bangla

The premier said she might also visit India if invited by her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused Myanmar of being reluctant in repatriating over a million Rohingya nationals defying their promise and feared that some international aid agencies to tend to keep the crisis alive.

“The problem lies with Myanmar as they don’t want to take back the Rohingyas by any means though Naypyidaw signed an agreement with Bangladesh promising to repatriate them," she said while briefing media at her residence Ganabhaban on Sunday.

The premier simultaneously feared that some international aid and voluntary agencies too were unwilling to resolve the crisis saying: “They never want the refugees to return their home." 

“This is what I see,” Sheikh Hasina told the press conference, a day after her return home following her tri-nation tour to Japan, Saudi Arabia and Finland, reports BSS.

Asked for comments about a perception that three major countries – China, Japan and India – took Myanmar’s side in the crisis, the premier said Dhaka separately held talks with these countries where all of them acknowledged Rohingyas as Myanmar nationals and agreed that they should return there.

“(But) they (three countries) simultaneously argued that if all of them confront Myanmar over the issue, then who will be there to convince them (Naypyidaw),” she said.

PM Hasina likely to visit China in July

Asked she planned to visit China to draw Beijing’s active support on the issue, the prime minister said she has plan to join a summit in July at the invitation of China’s President Xi Jinping. 

The premier said she might also visit India if invited by her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Replying to another question whether the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations were in favour of Rohingya repatriation as she referred to the crisis in the just held summit of the 57-nation Muslim countries forum, the premier replied “certainly”.

Also Read- PM says no government pressure on media

Sheikh Hasina expressed her concerns about the security factors involving the Rohingyas as many of them were found to be getting engaged in criminal activities, forcing the authorities to ask armed forces and law enforcement agencies to intensify their vigil.

“We asked them to raise a security cluster around them (Rohingya camps) and enforce a constant patrol,” she said. 

The premier, however, wondered why the Rohingyas were unwilling to be relocated to offshore Bhashan Char where the government built comfortable structures for their accommodation.

Some Cox’s Bazar spots to be dedicated to foreign tourists

The prime minister also said the government plans to dedicate some tourist spots in Cox's Bazar exclusively to foreign tourists, reports UNB.

"We have a plan to dedicate some tourist spots in Cox's Bazar exclusively to foreign tourists. If we can do this, the tourism sector will flourish," she said.

She said: "We have taken steps to upgrade Cox's Bazar airport to international standard."

Also Read- PM: Some spots in Cox’s Bazar to be dedicated to foreign tourists

There will be a refueling station in Cox's Bazar for the international flights, the premier said.

The 127-km sandy beach, which has special significance to tourists, will be developed, she added.

'No way for Tarique to escape punishment'

Sheikh Hasina reaffirmed the punishment given by court to BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman in different cases will surely be executed.

“We have been in talks with the British government (to bring Tarique back home)…I can say the punishment (he was awarded by the court) will be executed today or tomorrow,” she said.

Also Read- PM Hasina: Tarique's punishment will surely be executed

The premier said: “I hate to speak of his (Tarique) name. He has been leading a luxury life in London as he amassed huge ill-gotten money. He tries to create some problems whenever I go there.”

Hasina came down hard on a group of people who shed crocodile tears for Tarique forgetting the misdeeds he committed when BNP-Jamaat alliance was in power.

“How do you forget the August 21 grenade attack? I am not supposed to remain alive after the way the attack was launched.  Ivy Rahman and many others died in the attack when they (BNP) were in power,” the premier said.

'No govt pressure on media'

Sheikh Hasina said her government is not creating any pressure on the media to stop anyone from writing anything against her as she is accustomed to enduring criticisms.

"We didn't obstruct anyone from writing anything...how many newspapers were in my favour since I returned to Bangladesh? All of them have been writing against me ...I'm used to enduring it. I'm bothered little about it," she said.

As a journalist sought her comment about an English daily editor's assertion that he cannot write column now out of fear, she said, "The editor would not have dare say it if there had been any such pressure. No one created any pressure (on the media)."

The prime minister said the English daily editor and some others do not feel good when the democratic process continues. "They feel better when any undemocratic regime like military or emergency one stays in power since they can write following their directives."

She also recalled the English daily editor said in a television talk-show that he published some false news based on information supplied by DGFI. "What does it mean? ...he can't write now as DGFI is not supplying him information."

Hasina claimed her government is not supplying any information to the media through the DGFI.

"He (the English daily editor) can write whatever he wants. He has continued writing (against me). I never got assistance from those newspapers in my life...I also don't pay heed to who says what since I've the belief that I'm working for the welfare of the country and its people," she added.

She also questioned as to why the editor suddenly said he cannot write when there is no obstruction or pressure from the government side. "The nation thinks he cannot write now as he is not getting prescribed information."

"If he wants he can contact the DGFI that will supply information. What else I can say," said smiling Hasina.

'Won’t have to depend on others if water properly reserved' 

She also said Bangladesh will not have to seek water from others if we could reserve it properly.

"Bangladesh is delta [country]. All rivers originated from the Himalayas flow through Bangladesh. If we take steps to preserve water, we won't have to seek water from others."

"We've taken the Delta Plan, and we're dredging rivers," she said adding: "What will they do with extra water? So, don't be worried. They didn't give water but is giving us electricity which is also good," she said.

All the problems will be resolved one after another, Hasina said adding: "We've resolved difficult problems like the maritime boundary one. We've resolved the enclave problem in a friendly manner."

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