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Sheikh Hasina, the leader with motherly affection

Sheikh Hasina, Dubai Expo-2020, Bangladesh

Opinion

Sheikh Hasina, the leader with motherly affection

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Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said people must extend support to a leader when the country is run with motherly affection like her in Bangladesh. She said, “One thing should be comprehended that women are not merely women, women are mothers, so if you (leader) run a country with motherly affection, definitely people will support you”.

The prime minister made this remark while talking to a high-level panel titled “Redefining the Future for Women,” at the Women’s Pavilion in the Dubai Expo-2020 at Dubai Exhibition Centre on the occasion of The International Women’s Day.

Pointing out the basic objective of her government’s success, she told the audience that people of Bangladesh have extended their supports to her as they realized they would be benefited and they would get development.

Sheikh Hasina said she achieved support and faith from the people that is her main strength, and added – “The people realized that if I am with them, they definitely would be beneficiaries”.

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But it was not that much easy, she said, adding that her entire family — including father, mother, three brothers and two sister- in-laws – were assassinated in Bangladesh and only her younger sister and she survived the assassination.

The prime minister said when she had returned home after the assassination, the killers of her family and “war criminals” were in power. “So, my journey was not very smooth”, she said.

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She said that time and again she faced assassination attempt and propaganda but she did not care for that. “I thought that I have to work for the people”.

She also appreciated her male colleagues for cooperating her in the politics and government. “I must appreciate them. They immensely cooperated with me”, the prime minister added.

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Talking about a unique situation in Bangladesh Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) in terms of women empowerment, the prime minister said now the Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, the Leader of the House, the Leader of Opposition and Deputy Leader of House are women.

Mentioning that the military rulers ruled the government for about 21 years after the assassination of her family members, Sheikh Hasina said when she formed the government in 1996, she found that there were no women empowerment.

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Then she took some initiatives for the women, including ensuring free education up to graduation level, tried to create job opportunities for them in the higher posts like judiciary, police and other national spheres.

Noting that women had narrow space during the military regimes, she said, “I opened up everything for women”.

Describing the Bangladesh’s founding father as her mentor, the PM said she knew the country and its problems from him.

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“I knew the country and the problems. I learnt from my father; my father is my mentor. Not only that, I also learnt (from him) how to love my people and country as well as how to work for the poor”, she said.

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Back in January 2009, following landslide victory during December 2008 general elections, when Sheikh Hasina formed government, the country was suffering from electricity shortage, economic crisis and numerous forms of challenges. It may be mentioned here that, during the 2001-2006 rule of Islamist-jihadist coalition government of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh had almost turned into safe haven for religious extremists and jihadist forces. Religious minorities including Hindus and Ahmadis were facing attacks and intimidations from the Islamists, while the attackers were enjoying patronization from the Islamist-jihadist nexus. Bangladesh’s economy was also in a very bad shape mostly because, BNP-Jamaat government was involved in massive corruption, terrorism and loot or public wealth. The country was almost in the verge of becoming a failed state.

But with her motherly affection towards the nation and firm determination of transforming Bangladesh into a prosperous country, Sheikh Hasina has been dedicatedly working. Due to her magnanimous statesmanship, Bangladesh now has emerged into an economic rising star in the eyes of the world. The country has been prospering fast, with gradual improvement of people’s lives.

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Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz

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