Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the defeated forces of the 1971 War of Liberation and those involved in 1975 brutal murder of Bangabandhu and his family members cannot tolerate any development of the country.
“They can neither organise any fair election nor can they accept any transparent polls. These evil forces are still active through their conspiracies, propaganda and falsehood at home and abroad against the country and the people,” she said.
The prime minister’s statement came in reply to questions of journalists at a press briefing at her official residence Ganabhaban on Monday afternoon.
The briefing was arranged to inform the media about the outcomes of her recent visit to the United States for joining the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Read more: The caretaker government and election
Sheikh Hasina alleged that BNP wants to make the next general election controversial as its leaders know that there is no chance for them to win in the election.
"They know they do not have any possibility of winning the next general election. So, their effort is to make it controversial, create confusion among people and harm people by any means," she said.
Many of the journalists attended the press conference physically at Ganabhaban, while others were connected from the Prime Minister's Office through a virtual platform.
In her reply, Sheikh Hasina questioned about leadership of BNP.
She said one (Khaleda Zia) is convicted for misappropriating the fund of orphans while another (her son Tarique Rahman) is a fugitive convicted in various cases, including the August-21 grenade attack and 10-truck arm-haul cases.
"They know they won't win. How will their party win? Where is its leadership? One is convicted for misappropriating fund of orphans and another is a fugitive as he's convicted in the August-21 grenade attack and 10-truck arm-haul cases. They are still there in the (party) leadership. If this is the case, under which consideration people would vote for them?" she questioned.
The prime minister said that even these two top leaders will not be able to take part in the election! "They have no belief that they can win the polls."
Replying to another query, Sheikh Hasina mentioned Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh is a business to a section of people.
"It seems that some people are benefitting from the presence of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh… As if everything is business," she said, adding that the international community does not respond positively to the topic of Rohingya repatriation.
"I'm very sorry to say this, but it seems that for some agencies, keeping refugees is like a business… Otherwise they wouldn't have any job," she said.
The prime minister said there are some who are sincere, but for others it seems to be a business.
She also spoke about the housing projects for the poor people, development activities during her tenures and welfare for the people of the country.
The prime minister paid an official visit to New York in the USA during September 19-24 to attend the 76th UNGA sessions and other high-level events.
She returned home on October 1 after visiting Washington DC, from September 25 to 30.
During her stay in New York, Sheikh Hasina addressed the general debate of the 76th session of the UNGA on September 24.
She delivered her speech in Bangla, following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said.
The premier also attended several high-level and closed-door meetings as well as bilateral talks with heads of governments, states and organisations.
PM Sheikh Hasina talked about climate change, Rohingya repatriation, vaccine equity and other issues.
UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) also conferred Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with "SDG Progress Award" for Bangladesh's steady course in responding to the universal call to action to end poverty during the visit.
She planted a tree sapling and inaugurated a bench at the UN Gardens in North Lawn of UN Headquarters in honour of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on September 20, marking his birth centenary.
Read more: PM to brief media today on UNGA session
Before the question-answer session, the prime minister read out a written statement. In her speech, she said international pressure on Myanmar would continue for a permanent solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis as the issue was widely discussed in the UNGA session.
"The issue of the Rohingya crisis and its permanent solution was discussed elaborately in the UNGA session which I believe will (help) continue global pressure on Myanmar for taking back their Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh," she said.
She hoped that participation of the Bangladesh delegation in the session would strengthen Dhaka's position in the multilateral forum and expand the scope of getting international cooperation to the issues involving Bangladesh's interest.
Sheikh Hasina said she went to New York on September 19 to attend the 76th UNGA in person which was her maiden foreign tour after two years since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
"I had passed busy days during my stay in New York (from September 19-24) and joined 10 meetings including main session of the 76th UNGA and eight bilateral talks there. I also took part in the inaugural day of the general debate," she said.
She said foreign minister, state minister for foreign affairs, lawmakers and high-level government officials accompanied her.
The Prime Minister said that she later went to Washington DC from New York on September 25.
She said that she also inaugurated “Bangladesh House” in Maryland of the USA that carries the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Hasina said the main focus of this UNGA session was sustainable transition from the pandemic, pining point "expectation" in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the universal accessibility and availability of COVID vaccines and sustainable recovery from the pandemic have naturally dominated the discussion.
Besides, issues like climate change, women's empowerment, equality and inclusion, racism, sustainable development goals, disarmament of nuclear weapons etc have also come up in the discussion, the premier added.
Sheikh Hasina said in the very first day of her visit on September 20 she was conferred with “SDG Progress Award” by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for Bangladesh's highest success in attaining SDG during 2015-2020.
SDSN President and renowned economist Professor Jeffery Sachs handed over the award to her, she said.
“This award is a global recognition of Bangladesh's steadfast development even during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that's why
I dedicated this award to the people of the country in my thanksgiving speech,” the premier said.
She said the special attraction of this visit was setting up a “Permanent Bench” and planting a centenary tree sapling at the UN headquarters on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “It is notable that this is the first such initiative to pay homage to any political leader on the premises of the UN headquarters, which is undoubtedly a rare honour for
Bangladesh,” she said.
The Prime Minister said on September 24, 2021 she addressed the general debate of UNGA where she spoke in Bengali this time too like every time.
"In my speech, I’ve emphasized ensuring universal and affordable availability of Covid-19 vaccines in order to build a coronavirus-free world, and simultaneously urged the world leaders to consider Covid-19 vaccine as a 'global asset' in eliminating vaccine inequality,” she said.
The Prime Minister said she also urged the rich countries to finance and transfer technology freely for sustainable adaptation to the countries at risk of climate change for reducing their damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as decreasing the carbon emissions of rich and industrialized countries and providing compensation.
As the President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable-20 Group of Ministers of Finance, the premier said, she briefed the world leaders on the activities of Bangladesh's “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan-Decade 2030”.
“I also call upon the United Nations to ensure partnerships and the necessary resources to address the damage caused by the ongoing pandemic and to invest in digital equipment and services, access to the internet as well as raise teachers' skills for the sustainable recovery.”
Highlighting Bangladesh's success in coming out of the list of least developed countries (LDCs), Sheikh Hasina said she proposed to formulate an "incentive-based transit framework" to the development partners.
“We urge the countries that receive migrants to ensure justified rights of migrants, their employment, health and welfare,” she said.
Regarding the Rohingya crisis, the premier once again reminded the world leaders that the cause of the Rohingya crisis is in Myanmar, and the solution also lies in Myanmar.
Calling upon the international community to take constructive steps in this regard, she noted, "Only a safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation (of Rohingyas) to their homeland in Rakhine State can be a permanent solution to this crisis.”
Ahead of COP-26, she said, one of the topics of this year's UNGA debate was to tackle climate change and its adverse impacts.
Sheikh Hasina said a closed-door meeting was held on September 20 at the joint initiative of the UN Secretary General and the prime minister of the United Kingdom with the participation of the heads of state and government of several countries who are vocal about climate change.
The Prime Minister said she was invited to the conference as one of the most vocal world leaders about climate change and the President of the CVF.
Taking part in this conference, she said she spoke in favour of new financial management to address the risks of climate change and the free transfer of green technology to climate-risk-prone countries.
“We’ve also called on the international community to play an effective role in rehabilitating people displaced by climate change.”
On September 21, 2021, at the invitation of Abdullah Shahid, President of the 76th UNGA Session, Sheikh Hasina said she attended a high-level meeting with the participation of women leaders from around the world.
In addition to her, the leaders of Norway, Moldova, Estonia, Tanzania, Barbados and the European Commission participated in this event, she said.
"During the meeting, I’ve highlighted the contribution of women to the economy and health sectors of Bangladesh. I’ve also emphasized the necessity to build grassroots leadership and ensure the political and financial benefits of women-led organizations.”
Sheikh Hasina said that she also joined a roundtable meeting on September 21, 2021 organized by US-Bangladesh Business Council where high-level representatives from various famous US organizations, including Chevron, General Electric and MetLife participated.
In her keynote speech at the event, she highlighted the existing investment opportunities in Bangladesh and urged the US businessmen to make investment in Bangladesh.
On the sideline of the UN General Assembly, at the invitation of US President Joe Biden, on 22 September 2021, the prime minister attended a high-level meeting on Covid-19 where she outlined the steps and achievements of the government of Bangladesh in tackling the ongoing pandemic.
Besides, on September 22, 2021 a high level meeting on the Rohingya issue organized by the European Union, United Kingdom, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, OIC, Turkey, Indonesia, Gambia and Bangladesh was held on the sideline of the UNGA where Sheikh Hasina delivered the keynote speech.
The foreign ministers of Turkey, Gambia, Indonesia and Hungary, the Minister of State for South Asian Affairs of the United Kingdom, as well as high level representatives from various countries including the United States, India, the Netherlands, France and Germany and special envoy of ASEAN also spoke at the event, she said.
Mentioning that Rohingya crisis is the creation of Myanmar and its solution is also depends on Myanmar, the premier urged all (participating leaders) to emphasize on few issues and those are as follows:
A. Prioritising the repatriation highest, all activities have to be conducted for this purpose;
B. Finding out a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis through repatriation despite the changed political situation in Myanmar;
C. ASEAN countries should play an effective role in creating a favourable environment for the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar;
D. Take and implement effective measures and projects to create a favourable environment for the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar by the UN and development partners; and
E. Co-operating in the ongoing process in ICJ and other international organizations to ensure justice for the violence and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
On September 23, 2021 the prime minister attended a high-level meeting on equality and inclusion at the invitation of the Presidents of Spain, Costa Rica and Sierra Leone, and the prime minister of Sweden. She laid emphasis on the elimination of vaccine and digital inequality and special funding for least developed and climate-risk countries.
She said that in the context of Covid-19 and climate change, the issue of ensuring food security for the world is also prominent in this session.
Sheikh Hasina participated at a high-level meeting on "United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021" on September 23, 2021 where she highlighted Bangladesh's success in achieving food security.
"We also call for the creation of a special fund for transfer of technology in tackling the impacts of climate change and ensuring sustainable food security," she added.