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Dhaka Tribune

Hasan: BNP’s intimacy with Pakistani intelligence is old phenomenon

Pakistani intelligence agency gave Tk5 crore to BNP before the election in 1991, says the information minister

Update : 25 Sep 2020, 09:07 PM

Awami League Joint General Secretary and Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Friday said BNP has continuously chosen the path of conspiracy after repeatedly failing to face Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina and Awami League politically.

BNP’s intimacy with Pakistani intelligence ISI and their men is very old, he added.

This has been proven that the recent meeting in the Middle East between the Pakistani intelligence and BNP-Jamaat alliance is highly shameful, he added.

“You all know that Pakistani intelligence agency gave Tk5 crore to BNP before the election in 1991,” he said.

This statement was corroborated by former top boss of Pakistani intelligence agency before the court, Hasan said. 

“So they are making conspiracies continuously to destabilize the country. Still three and a half years are left for the next general elections,” he added.

The Information Minister said these after speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on ‘Mohammad Abdul Khaleq Engineer, Daily Azadi and Democracy’ held at Chittagong Circuit House as reporters questioned him about the recent secret meeting between Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and the BNP-Jamaat alliance in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The information minister said: “In fact, when the world is stagnant due to the coronavirus, people are worried about their future, at that time, BNP is holding conspiratorial meetings at home and abroad without standing beside the people.”

Hasan said BNP has now realized that their failure to go ahead lies in sticking to conspiracies in the past. Otherwise, the people would not have put Awami League in power three times in a row, he added.

“So, I would request BNP to stand beside the people by shunning the path of conspiracy,” he added.

President of Swadhin Sangbadpathara Patok Samity Jamal Uddin presided over the function while former Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) mayor Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury delivered the inaugural speech.

Administrator of CCC Khurshed Alam Sujan, Editor of Daily Azadi MA Malek, who is also the son of engineer Abdul Khaleque, former vice chancellor of Chittagong University Prof Anwarul Azim Arif, freedom fighter Jahangir Alam, Raozan upazila Chairman Ehsanul Haider Chowdhury Babul, and General Secretary of Chittagong Press Club Chowdhury Farid, among others, addressed the function.

Awami League government working to uphold freedom of press

Speaking at the function Dr Hasan Mahmud said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina nurtured the culture of appreciation for criticism. 

Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina and our party Awami League think that criticism sharpens the way of a man, he said adding that criticism helps refine the work. “That is why our government is working to uphold the freedom of press and development of newspapers”, he added.

“When we formed the government in 2009, the number of newspapers in Bangladesh was 450. Now the number of daily newspapers in Bangladesh is 1250. 

“At that time, there were a few online newspapers. Now thousands of online newspapers have applied for registration. 

“The journey of private television started in 1996 when Sheikh Hasina first took charge of the country as the prime minister. When we formed the government in 2009, there were ten private television channels. There are now 30 private television channels in broadcast, 45 took licence for broadcasting. Apart from this, there are four government television channels. This exponential growth of the media has been possible only for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he added.

Hasan said such freedom enjoyed by the newspapers of Bangladesh is not even available in many developed countries.

The information minister said ‘News of the World’, a 168-year-old newspaper in the UK, was once the world’s most widely circulated English daily.

“The newspaper was shut down after a lawsuit was filed against them for publishing false news. After the lawsuit, the court imposed a huge amount of fine on them. The company closed the newspaper because it was not able to pay the fine,” he added.

He said the whole BBC team had to resign for spreading false or untrue news against an MP.

“In the UK and Europe, newspapers and media outlets are often compelled to give fine for reporting inaccurate and untrue news. That has never happened in our country. The newspapers were not closed for all these reasons. That is why, the media in Bangladesh enjoys much more freedom than many developed countries in the world,” he added.

Citing the example of Singapore, the information minister said only a few television channels are being run in Singapore, all are government controlled.

“Television channels in Thailand are government controlled. If there remains any content that opposes the government in Thailand, it is excluded. Such incident never happened in our country. We think that freedom of expression is the freedom of the media, it enriches the multidimensional social system in the country”, he added.

The Information Minister said the Daily Azadi has been continuously upholding the cause of the Bengali nationalism, the spirit of the independence, and the pre-independence Bengali nationalism for the last sixty years.

“That is why the Daily Azadi must have the right to get thanks from the society and the state. I also convey thanks to the Daily Azadi family for this,” he added.

Engineer Abdul Khaleq, who founded the newspaper with his prudence and foresight, has virtually brought the Daily Azadi to its present stage, he added.

The Daily Azadi family has been running the newspaper very successfully for a long time.

Hasan opined that the Daily Azadi is the first newspaper in independent Bangladesh that has been transformed into an institution. Building a newspaper or an organization is not an easy task, he added.

The seminar was organized by the Swadhin Sangbadpatra Pathak Samity to mark the 58th death anniversary of Alhaj Muhammad Abdul Khalek.

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