PM accuses Myanmar of being reluctant in returning Rohingyas

Published: 10 Jun 2019   

Online Desk

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday accused Myanmar of being reluctant in repatriating their 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 told a crowded press conference at her Ganabhaban official residence this afternoon, reports BSS.

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.

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 when they all acknowledged Rohingyas to be Myanmar nationals and agreed should return there.

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

Asked she planned to visit China after Japan to draw Beijing’s active support on the issue, Sheikh Hasina answered in the affirmative saying she planned to join a summit in July this year at the invitation of China’s President Xi Jinping. The premier said she might also visit India if invited as she by now congratulated her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after his reelection and invited him to Dhaka.

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

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.

Awami League Presidium Member Begum Sajeda Chowdhury, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen were present on the dais along with the premier.

Internal Security

Replying to a question, the premier sought cooperation from the countrymen irrespective of parties and opinions to continue the pace of the development so nothing like militancy could hamper it.

“In this context, I would say, the people are the main power of our country as they are very much conscious and we want to face any kind of threat involving the people,” she also said.

Threats are being issued using the social media, she said adding that appropriate action would be taken on the basis of investigation being carried out by the intelligence agencies.

Referring to deaths of several Japanese nationals, who came to Dhaka for working in the metro rail project, in the Holey Artisan attack, Sheikh Hasina said, “It is a matter of regret”.

Since then, she said, the law enforcement agencies, particularly the intelligence agencies, have taken effective measures to stamp out militancy. She urged the journalists to convey any militancy-related information to the government.

The premier thanked the law enforcement agencies for ensuring peaceful holding of Eid jamaats this year despite the experience of facing a militant attack in Sholakia Maidan few years back.

The premier called upon the OIC member countries to work together to effectively fight any form of terrorism and militancy forgetting differences among them for the welfare of the mankind.

Biman issue

Answering a question, the prime minister said she had asked for prompt action against the concerned authorities who allowed a Biman pilot to go to Qatar’s Doha International Airport without passport to bring her back.

She regretted that “a news item is made whenever I board a Biman aircraft. I don’t know what the reason is. The news is being made at a time when we have taken the Biman to a good position.”

The prime minister said she was once requested not to travel by Bangladesh Biman aircraft, but she expressed her firm determination to travel by the national flag carrier even if she faces death. She asked the authorities concerned to take tight security measures so none (VIP or VVIP) can pass the immigration without any check, saying, “From now on none would be spared.”

Replying to another question, Sheikh Hasina said all outstanding issues between Bangladesh and India would be resolved.

On editor’s comments

The prime minister replied to a question regarding an interview of the editor of an English daily with Deutsche Welle in which he (editor) commented that he stopped writing columns as he could not write that was supposed to be written after the election.

Sheikh Hasina posed a question if the editor could dare to say that he cannot write anything according to his choice had been any pressure on him. She added that nobody exerted any pressure on him.

The premier said the editor who made this comment does not feel good if democratic process exists. They feel well when there is undemocratic process like emergency or military government, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said when such government exists they can write “formaeyshi” (ordered) write-ups. The prime minister said she could understand who the editor was hearing his comments. Sheikh Hasina said it was that editor who acknowledged that he published false news supplied by the DGFI.

“What is its meaning and link it with his previous comments. I will understand that he cannot write as the DGFI is not supplying any write up to him,” she said. “If he wants DGFI to supply write ups to him, then he can contact it,” she continued.

The prime minister said, “The editor cannot write as we’re not supplying any information through the DGFI. Its meaning is that he cannot write without ordered write ups. I understand this, nothing else.”

She said: “Write whatever you want… Did I get any cooperation from these newspapers, not in my life.”

“After I returned home, how many newspapers were in our favour,” she asked.

The prime minister said she loves the country and the people and whatever she does is for the welfare of the people.

“If I have such belief, I have no headache who says what, good or bad, and who does what.”

Sheikh Hasina said her party was once in the opposition, but it came to power for the fourth time. “Is Bangladesh not advancing and are the people not getting its benefits and is the country not developing in the world?” she said. “The entire world looks at Bangladesh and praises it. Are all not feeling good for this?” she said.

She said those who did not want Bangladesh’s independence and those who had licked boots of the anti-liberation forces would not feel good for its success.

China visit:

On a question, the prime minister said she will pay a visit to China next month.  “I will say about China that I will visit the country like Japan Insha Allah,” she said.

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said there was an invitation for visiting China. “But I could not go there as parliament session was continuing at that time,” she said.

The prime minister informed the journalists that the Chinese president has invited her to visit China and Summer Summit of World Economic Forum will be held at that time.

“Discussion is underway to fix the date for the visit and I will go there Insha Allah,” she said.

Replying to a question about China’s stand on the Rohingya issue, Sheikh Hasina said Beijing also wants their repatriation, but the problem is that Myanmar does not want to take back their nationals from Bangladesh.

“We’ve signed agreement with Myanmar in this regard, but the Myanmar authorities are not interested to this end. We’ll get a result if all put pressure on Myanmar. Otherwise, it’s difficult to host the Rohingyas for a long period,” she added.

Tarique Rahman:

Replying to a query, the premier reassured that punishment of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman will certainly be executed today or tomorrow.

“We’ve been in talks with the British government (to return Tarique home) … I can say the punishment of Tarique will be executed today or tomorrow,” she added.

He (Tarique) has been leading a luxurious life in London after acquiring huge ill-gotten money, she said, adding that he (Tarique) tries to create some problems whenever she go to London.

The premier heavily criticized the people, who shed crocodile tears for Tarique forgetting his misdeeds committed when BNP was in power, saying, “How do you forget the August-21 grenade attack? I’m not supposed to remain alive the way the attack was launched in which Ivy Rahman and many others dead on the spot.”

Referring to the repeated life-taking attempts on her and the incidents of killing thousands of Awami League leaders and activists, she said, “You’re out to cry for the killers who acquired the money of orphans and involved with smuggling the 10-truck arms haul.”

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