‘Where did the sacks with foreign currency go?’
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said a section of people are spreading rumours and lies that sacks or trunks with foreign currency were brought to New York via a Biman aircraft.
Sheikh Hasina asked the rumourmongers: "Where did those sacks and trunks go?"
The prime minister was addressing a reception accorded to her by the US chapter of Awami League at New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel on Friday night (early today, Bangladesh time).
Joining the reception virtually, Sheikh Hasina, also the AL President, said the people who do not believe in Bangladesh's independence were out to tarnish the country's image at home and abroad by hatching conspiracies.
"They're the enemies of the countrymen," said the prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina said some elements staying abroad are indulged in plots against the government, to taint the country's image at a time when her government has taken Bangladesh to a dignified position.
Politics is not about self-interest, rather it is about sacrifice, she said, adding that Zia, Ershad and Khaleda Zia never thought about the welfare of the people, rather they used power as "a means to fulfil self-interest and making some quick bucks".
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has become a role model in development to the entire world due to relentless efforts of her government.
Referring to some elements who are calling the Awami League government "illegal", she said, "My question is, how did they get the chance to utter these words?"
The AL president added they are getting the scope to criticise the Awami League by taking advantage of the "digital Bangladesh vision" which was materialised by her government.
"If they had an ideology, they could never do that. They are basically criticising the government after being paid by the BNP-Jamaat clique," she continued.
In this regard, Sheikh Hasina said military dictators Ziaur Rahman and Ershad came to power by violating the country's constitution, and the court declared their governments as illegal.
She went on saying that Khaleda Zia, wife of Ziaur Rahman, was jailed for embezzling money of orphans, while her son (Tarique Rahman) was convicted in the 10-truck arms haul case and the grisly August 21 grenade attack case.
The FBI of the United States had revealed the information regarding their involvement in corruption, she said.
The prime minister said BNP even paid money to abduct and kill Joy (Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed) in the USA.
"But now they are calling the Awami League government illegal," she said, adding the people of the country have voted AL to power, boycotting the BNP.
Sheikh Hasina urged the BNP to take part in the general election if they have faith in people's mandate.
She said Ziaur Rahman had first manipulated the electoral system by holding farcical "yes/no" vote while Khaleda Zia surpassed him with staging the February 15, 1996 general election as no other political party joined it and the people did not go to the polling centres.
Her sons -- Tarique and Koko -- were convicted for siphoning money form the country; the government had already brought back a portion of it, she said.
"It is their character to lead lavish lives abroad by smuggling out money," she added.
"As long as Awami League remains in power, Bangladesh continues to march forward," she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned two reasons of her arrival in New York by a Dreamliner of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines -- the first being, giving money to the state-owned carrier instead of others, and keeping the money in the country that way.
The prime minister said her government is pursuing a process to resume Biman's operation on Dhaka-New York route.
She reminded all that Khaleda Zia went to Saudi Arabia taking 150 suitcases full of money when she was in power and kept those by hiring lockers there.
She also said (state) minister (for home) of Khaleda Zia's government, Babar, was caught with several lakhs of dollars at an US airport and later he was released with the intervention of the Bangladesh embassy.