Apr 20, 2014, 11:06 am (BST)
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PM urges opposition to practise healthy politics
DHAKA, April 6 (BSS)- Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina today called upon the opposition to practise healthy politics and observe peaceful programmes shunning destructive politics.

"We want healthy trend in politics and peaceful observance of political programmes. But we wouldn't tolerate any destruction, vandalism and anarchy in the name of politics," she said while addressing a meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee at her official Ganobhaban residence here this evening.

Sheikh Hasina said there is a clear instruction from the government to arrest the troublemakers irrespective of their political affiliation.

Referring to the opposition's December 18 vandalism and anarchy in the capital, the Prime Minister said, "We should not have allowed them to observe any programme after their December 18 terrorist activities. But we allowed them to observe long march and hold public meetings after the Dec 18 incidents in the greater interest of democracy," she said.

About the government measures before the March 12 "Dhaka Cholo Programme" of the opposition, Sheikh Hasina said the government had to take pre-cautionary measures to protect the life and property of the people and keeping in mind the December 18 anarchy of the opposition.

"If we fail to save life and property of the people, we will have to face criticism of the people," she said.

The Prime Minister came down heavily on the opposition lawmakers for their indecent comments in the just- concluded parliament session, saying that the remarks the opposition lawmakers, particularly female MPs, made in the House are very regrettable.

She said the opposition joined the just-concluded session of parliament to leagalize their salary and allowances as well as save their membership.

Sheikh Hasina also blasted the opposition for their double standard about Bangladesh's victory over Myanmar regarding the maritime boundary.

"The Leader of the Opposition congratulated the government on Bangladesh's victory in parliament. But other leaders of the opposition are now criticizing us on the issue to misguide the
people," she said.

She said Bangladesh earned the victory over Myanmar by maintaining good relations with its neighbour. "It is a win-win situation for both countries," she said.

The Prime Minister termed the victory over Myanmar as a triumph of the countrymen and congratulated the people of all levels including the party leaders and workers on the historic occasion.

"This victory is the triumph of Bangladesh's people and it is a unique spur to turn the country into a middle income one by 2021," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said this victory is a gift for the future generation as it has opened up a golden door for them.

Sheikh Hasina said the greatest Bangalee of all time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first took initiatives for establishing Bangladesh's rights over the Bay of Bengal in 1974. "He framed the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zone Act, 1974, the first of its kind in South Asia," she said.

The Prime Minister said the United Nations had framed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)-III in 1982 and made it open for ratification. "But the governments of Jatiya Party and
BNP did not take any initiatives to ratify the convention," she lamented.

Sheikh Hasina said the previous Awami League government had taken initiatives to ratify the convention and the cabinet endorsed it on July 9, 2001.

The Prime Minister said after coming to power in 2001, the BNP government did not take any step for realizing Bangladesh's demand in maritime boundary. Even they did not conduct necessary scientific survey for demarcating sea boundary, she said.

"They awarded different blocks of the Bay of Bengal to various companies for oil and gas exploration without ensuring Bangladesh's legitimate rights in the sea," she said.

She said after taking office in 2009, the present AL government collected necessary data and information very fast after carrying out survey. "We lodged two cases---one with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg in Germany against Myanmar and another with the international tribunal in the Hague of the Netherlands against India on October 8 in 2009.

"At last we got the historic verdict on March 14 after several times of hearing from September 8 to 24 establishing our absolute rights up to 200 nautical miles from the coast and then the continental shelf and adding 1.11 lakh square kilometer area of the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh's existing size," she said.

She said, "The maritime boundary dispute with Myanmar was resolved with the verdict in the ITLOS, and the verdict of the case lodged against India would be pronounced in 2014..we would also bring success in that case, Insha Allah, if we get scope for serving the people again."
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