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Dhaka Tribune

PM Hasina: Maybe US does not want me in power

‘Perhaps United States is unable to accept improvements I have made for Bangladesh,’ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina tells BBC

Update : 16 May 2023, 11:52 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the United States may not want her in power because it has banned Bangladesh's special security forces. 

In an exclusive interview with Yalda Hakim of the BBC during her recent visit to the UK, the premier said due to the continued democracy in Bangladesh for the last 14 years, there has been extraordinary development in the country.

She highlighted various issues including complaints about human rights situation in Bangladesh, extrajudicial killings, US sanctions, democracy and the Rohingya crisis.

Referring to the US ban on RAB, Sheikh Hasina said: “The force on which they have banned was established in 2004 on their advice. All their training, equipment was provided by the United States. I believe they are working the way they have built the army. So why did they ban this? It's a big question for me too."

Asked why the US did this, she said: "I don't know, maybe they don't want my work to continue. They may not be able to accept the improvements I have made for Bangladesh. This is my feeling. At one stage, terrorism became a problem for all countries. We have controlled terrorism in our country. Only one thing happened after that. Our law enforcement forces have worked hard to maintain control."

Regarding the extent of extrajudicial killings before and after the US sanctions, she said: “They could not prove the numbers they mentioned. In most cases, these killings were not committed by any law enforcement agency. We wanted proof. If they send us the proofs, we will investigate them."

Asked about German media DW's documentary where it claims that two RAB officials leaked confidential information and said that the orders for these killings came from the highest levels of the government, Sheikh Hasina said: “I don't know how they did it, but you can see what is happening in the United States. There are multiple murders happening almost every day. Even killings are happening in schools, shopping malls, restaurants. Even school students, common people are being killed either by law enforcement forces or armed men. I think the US should be more focused on their own. What is the state of their country?

“They should protect children's lives. They are not taking enough care of their own people. We asked them for proof of the allegations they made. They didn't."

The premier said: “I think ban-counter-ban is like a game. It is still not clear to me why they banned our country.”

Sheikh Hasina described the murder of her family members and said: “These murderers got impunity. I couldn't even sue them. I had no right to a trial. At that time they did not give any ban. Instead, a killer took refuge in the United States. We have repeatedly requested them to send him back. They didn't. Why they are not listening, I don't know."

Responding to a question on the issue of elections, she said: “I have struggled all my life against the military rulers for the right to vote and vote. We made the law to establish the Election Commission. We have always wanted free and transparent elections. Now we have prepared our voter list with pictures, we have arranged transparent ballot boxes.”

Asked why international observers are complaining that the 2018 elections were not free and transparent, Sheikh Hasina said: “I don't know how they saw it. But the election must have been transparent and free. They (BNP alliance) participated in the 2018 elections from the beginning. But what happened to the situation? We have 300 seats. You have to give 300 candidates. They started fighting among themselves. At one stage, they withdrew from the election. So how can they claim that the election was not transparent and free.”

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