• Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019
  • Last Update : 05:18 am

Hasina talks straight with The Hindu

  • Published at 05:54 pm October 14th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:59 pm October 14th, 2016
Hasina talks straight with The Hindu

Pullout from Saarc Summit

When asked this year’s postponement of the Saarc summit marks the end of the eight-country alliance, she replied:
“No, as we said in our official statement on pulling out, we consider that the environment prevailing in the Saarc region at this particular time is not conducive to hold the Saarc summit. Bangladesh has certain sensitivities over the International Crimes Tribunal [ICT of Bangladesh], where Pakistan showed its dissatisfaction with our processes and even raised the issue in their parliament. They started interfering in our internal affairs by making unacceptable remarks. We felt hurt by this, as this is an internal matter for us, we are trying war criminals in our country, and it isn’t their concern. There is a lot of pressure on me to cut off all diplomatic ties with Pakistan for their behaviour. But I have said the relations will remain, and we will have to resolve our problems.”
With an attempt to further clarifying the issue, Sheikh Hasina was asked whether the attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri military base had influenced in making the decision to pull out; she replied:
“It was over the situation in Pakistan that we decided to pull out. The common people are the biggest sufferers of terrorism there. And that terror has gone everywhere, which is why many of us felt frustrated by Pakistan. India and Pakistan also have their bilateral problems, and I don’t want to comment about that. India pulled out because of the [Uri attack], but for Bangladesh the reason is totally different.”

Countering terrorism

When asked about how the country was countering terrorism post-Holey Artisan attack, Hasina said:
“Terror is now a global problem, I’m trying to take some different steps to fight it. I am reaching out to teachers in schools and colleges to spread awareness about it. Next I’m telling parents to watch where their children go, whom they meet. We are asking clerics in mosques and madrassas to teach that Islam is a religion of peace, and ensure that none speak of violence. With awareness and a social movement against extremism, we can prevent our children from becoming terrorists.”

Border management and killings

When asked about whether she would discuss border management during her upcoming visit to India, she acknowledged it as a “big problem” and pointed out that it was solved after 45 years. She added:
“As far as border killings are concerned, our border forces on both sides, the BSF [India’s Border Security Force] and the BGB [Border Guard Bangladesh] have agreed to jointly investigate the incidents where BSF personnel have shot and killed innocent Bangladeshi villagers, and the home ministers are discussing this.”

BRICS- Bimstec summit

The PM also remarked on her future India visit for Brics- Bimstec summit this week and what she would like to achieve from it. She said:
“The problem in our region for all of us is almost the same; we have one common enemy and that is poverty, which we must fight to eradicate. With neighbouring countries we may have many problems, but I believe it can always be solved. India and Bangladesh have done it, like we agreed to a Ganges water treaty. As far as Brics is concerned, we have expectations that Brics leaders will extend a supporting hand to Bimstec with its New Development Bank at affordable terms.”

This interview took place at Hasina's residence, Gonobhaban, prior to her visit to India where she is going to attend BRICS- Bimstec outreach, 'involving nations surrounding the Bay of Bengal,' on October 15 and 16.