Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said he is not sure if BNP leaders want Khaleda Zia’s release at all.
He said this while talking to reporters at his Secretariat office on Monday (Nov 18).
The information minister said: “A letter signed by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has been given to the prime minister. There is no mention of Khaleda Zia’s release. The main theme of the letter is that the people do not know the agreement that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India. So the question arises, do the BNP leaders really want Khaleda Zia’s release?”
Earlier on Sunday, a letter signed by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was given to the prime minister. Special assistant to the prime minister, Biplob Barua received it.
Mahmud said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not enter into any new agreement during her visit to India. The agreements signed are the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Beyond that, we get a loan facility from India under the Line of Credit. It is provided by Exim Bank of India. There have been talks that Exim Bank wants to have an office in Dhaka.”
Referring to the letter given by BNP, he said: “Through this letter, the BNP leaders have proved that they do not understand the difference between an MoU and an agreement. It is sad. The prime minister always informs the president of all matters upon returning to the country after a foreign visit, informs the nation through a press conference, presents it to the parliament, and explains when asked by the opposition leaders in parliament.
“This time, after returning from India, the prime minister has done all of this. He also answered the BNP MP’s question in this regard. Therefore, this BNP letter to the prime minister is invalid.”
Minister Mahmud said: “BNP knows everything. But the issue of the letter is nothing more than a political stunt. Through this letter, BNP has again proved that they could not get out of anti-Indian politics.”
He added: “An MoU was signed while the prime minister visited India to provide Feni River water to India. India will be given four-hundredths of a quarter of the amount of water flowing from the river. It used to be so before too. Recently, this has been settled through discussion.”
The information minister said: “Bangladesh does not produce LPG gas, it imports LPG gas. We have agreed that in addition to the imported LPG gas, we will export it to India. With this, another product was added to the basket of export products in Bangladesh.”
He furthered: “India wants to use Chittagong and Mongla ports. We have allowed them the use these two ports. An SOP has been signed in this regard. This will generate revenue.
“The Netherlands, and Singapore have prospered by allowing their ports to be used by others. The Coast Guard’s radar system is not advanced in Bangladesh. So with the financial support of India, we will install a radar device for the Coast Guard in the Bay of Bengal. We will buy, install, and use our own. And India will only pay. That is the deal.”
Terming the BNP statements as “stupid,” the information minister said: “I do not think BNP leaders are fools. But their statements are just stupid.”