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Khaleda Zia urges nation to stand against "sell-out of Bangladesh"

Khaleda Zia
Opposition leader Khaleda Zia Sunday announced her party stance straightway rejecting the joint communiqué issued on the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's India visit and made a clarion call for the nation to stand against what she termed a 'sellout of Bangladesh'. (UNB)

She also spurned the Prime Minister's call for the opposition to join parliament and discuss her India trip, saying no use discussing the deals already signed giving a carte blanche to New Delhi.

The former prime minister categorically called upon all individuals, groups, social forces and political parties to forge a national unity to stand against the agreements, MOU and protocol signed between Bangladesh and India "against the country's interests" during her political rival's January 10 bilateral trip to Delhi.

As part of "greater movement" against the outcome of PM's New Delhi treaties, they will soon hold talks with students, youths, workers, women, businessmen, and professionals in phases alongside ongoing programmes of movement, she told newsmen, a day after the Prime Minister told a press conference that she had succeeded in securing national interests through the accords.

The BNP chairperson, who has long been leading a boycott of parliament sessions, posed a question if there was any scope for discussion in parliament after giving 'bond of slavery' through Sheikh Hasina's India tour.

She demanded elaborate publishing of the contents of all agreements, MOUs and protocol signed with the Indian government during the PM's visit before the people. Furthermore, she demanded government's clear statement over the reported 'secret security deal' with India during the PM's Delhi visit.

The BNP chairperson launched the broadside against her political foe from a crowded press conference at her Gulshan office in the afternoon.

During her about 40-minute written statement and answers to questions from reporters for around 20 minutes, Khaleda Zia mentioned previous and present Awami League government's "anti-nation" agreements signed with India, the government's various anti-nation moves and attempts.

She explained the drawbacks and negative impacts of recent agreements as well as her party's stand to face the issues.

TBT adds: Following are some of the excerpts from Begum Khaleda Zia's statement at the press conference:

"Dear Journalist friends,

The motivated attempt to confuse public opinion continues. The Honourable Prime Minister in her yesterday's (Saturday's) Press Conference upon return from India completing her official trip devoted more of her efforts at tainting the opposition party than letting the people know the actual truth and disseminating the actual facts. The statement that she made regarding the total capacity use at present of Chittagong and Mongla ports as 40% and 10% respectively is totally false. Information gathered from all sources show that at present we are utilizing 60% of the total capacity of Chittagong port and 40% of Mongla port. This use is increasing every year. But after consenting to let India to use these ports, she is confusing the public by giving false information [regarding our current capacity use of these ports]. The trip made no progress in achieving any rightful share of water of the 54 common rivers flowing through Bangladesh and India…".

"… The hurried attempt on the part of India to build the Tipaimukh dam is a cause of anxiety for the whole of Bangladesh. Yet the Prime Minister in her press conference has said, she does not know anything about it. What a shocking statement! Recently, a government team has visited India with the mission to find out about the Tipaimukh project. The Prime Minister herself visited India. Yet she has said that she does not know what is happening in Tipaimukh. This ignorance is unforgivable, this indifference is unpardonable…".

"We have been told that during the Prime Minister's visit to India, three Treaties, one MoU and one Protocol has been signed. The countrymen remain in the dark about what these documents contain. The agreements that have taken place are very sensitive, because with these our national security and interest, national sovereignty and geographical unity are deeply related. Therefore, the people of Bangladesh have a right to know what these documents contain. We demand a full published disclosure of these documents…".

"A country with fifteen crore people cannot run by leasing out its roads and ports. Those who are showing the people of Bangladesh this unrealistic dream want to keep them poor. Because, the industrial competitive advantage we had, has been finished by permitting use of these ports and transit facilities. 
As a result industrialization shall suffer, employment opportunities shall shrink and exports shall be reduced. In reality Bangladesh will turn into a market of India. Against this we have in our receivable status been given an assurance of one billion dollar loan assistance. Why should we take this loan?
... "Bangladesh has been discouraging bilateral loans in its greater national interests from a long time. The interest on this loan is more than twice as high compared to that of the World Bank."…. "Truth and justice will win, inshAllah."

Source: UNB, Dhaka/ The BD Today 
Monday January 18 2010


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