Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that they are committed to uphold democracy in Bangladesh.
“We’ve fought for democracy and attained democracy. We’re committed to uphold democracy,” she said.
The premier made this remark when a 12-member delegation of International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) pre-election assessment mission (PEAM) from the US paid a courtesy call on her at the latter’s official residence Ganabhaban.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Sheikh Hasina said the ideology of her party, Bangladesh Awami League (AL), is to uphold democracy and AL has been fighting for democracy.
She briefly apprised them of the history of Bangladesh’s democracy.
Following the brutal assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the military rulers grabbed state power through arms and formed political parties in Bangladesh, she added.
The Prime Minister said that she was obstructed to return home from the USA during the 2007-2008 military-back caretaker government. “She was threatened to be killed if she would return to the country. But, she returned home defying the death threat,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that her government’s main goal is to ensure basic rights of the people — food, clothes, shelter, health and education — as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She said that they have reduced the extreme poverty rate to 5.6 percent.
Leading the delegation during the meeting, former Deputy USAID Administrator Bonnie Glick said Bangladesh has attained amazing economic development under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
She said that they had talks with all stakeholders including diplomats, and their mission is to listen to all stakeholders.
Bonnie Glick said they don’t represent the US government; rather they came here in their private capacity.
They want a peaceful transition of power, she added.
Former Assistant Secretary of US State for South Asian Affairs Karl F Inderfurth said democracy has some inherent problems and the problems are even in the USA.
They thanked the prime minister for giving them time despite her busy schedule.
PM’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP, Mohammad Ali Arafat, MP, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Masud Bin Momen, PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin, AL Information and Research Secretary Dr. Salim Mahmud were present.