PM asks SSF not to isolate her from people

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, with Special Security Force members, poses for a photograph at a programme marking the 31st founding anniversary of the force in Dhaka on Saturday. — Focusbangla photo

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked the Special Security Force agents to perform their duty without isolating her from people exposing her to a state of a ‘fish out of water’.
‘They (people) are my everything, they are source of my strength and inspiration . . . so I want SSF members to ensure that I’m not isolated from them,’ she said addressing a darbar of the specialised unit meant to provide VVIP security.
Sheikh Hasina added, ‘Life will be of no meaning unless we cannot remain with the people and cannot see them as we work and do politics taking them with us . . . I don’t want my condition like a fish out of water.’
SSF, which draws personnel from army, navy, air force, police and ansar forces, organised the darbar or special meeting with the premier coinciding with its 31st founding anniversary at the PMO.
Sheikh Hasina said she was immensely blessed with common peoples love after losing her parents, brothers and everything in 1975 and they remained to be ‘my strength and inspiration which you (SSF) should keep in mind while discharging your duty’.
SSF director general Major General Md Safikur Rahman delivered the welcome address highlighting the activities of the force, while PM’s security adviser Major General (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddiq and principal secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury were on the dais.
Premier’s adviser, chiefs of three armed services and senior civil and military officials witnessed the darbar.
The special security unit was floated in 1986 when it was called Presidential Security Force and it was renamed subsequently as SSF with the task of providing security to the head of the state and government and VVIP foreign dignitaries.
Talking about the issue of terrorism and militancy, the prime minister said this is not a problem for only Bangladesh, it’s a worldwide problem.
Elaborating her government’s efforts to curb extremism, she reiterated that there won’t be any place for these twin demons on the soil of Bangladesh.
Referring to the last year’s Holey Artisan Cafe attack, the prime minister said the armed forces, police, RAB and intelligence agencies together rescued the hostages by bringing the situation under control within only 8 hours.
She mentioned that after the attack some ‘big ambassadors gave’ status that Bangladesh would not be able to bring the situation under control alone. ‘But we contained it within few hours and all expressed surprise for it,’ she said.
Thanking law enforcement and intelligence agencies for their success in curbing extremism, the prime minister said the government is continuing an awareness build up campaign against the extremism by involving the people of all strata.
‘We’re arranging videoconferencing and talking against the extremism in the public meeting and for this, we’re getting huge response from the people on this regard,’ she said.
‘There won’t be any room for extremism in the country … we want that the people of the country remain in peace and if the peaceful environment exists, then pace of development will be accelerated,’ she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that there is no doubt that extremism is now a global problem. ‘But, despite that we’re making all-out efforts to stamp out extremism and ensure the socioeconomic development of the country at quick pace,’ she said.
The prime minister said the nation would celebrate the golden jubilee of independence in 2021 and birth centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020.
‘We want to celebrate the two occasions by establishing Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty free country and ensuring beautiful life for all,’ she said.
The prime minister said her government is committed to the people for ensuring their socio-economic development. ‘We’re pledge-bound to the people and we’re doing politics for changing their luck and giving them a better life,’ she said.
The premier said her government wants to build the country in such a way so that it can move in the world stage keeping its head high. ‘We’re working to achieve this goal and we’ve firm that we could reach the target,’ she said.
She said conspiracies will exist and she has been seeing it from her childhood. It’s nothing new to me and we have to move ahead through it and take the country forward.
‘My aim is to change the lot of the people and I do belief that we can achieve the goal,’ she said.
Blasting the BNP for its mindless rampage and atrocities on the people in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Sheikh Hasina said the BNP terrorists burnt over 500 people to death through arson attacks.
We don’t want such incidents happen again in Bangladesh … the people are the owners of vote. They will get them in power whom they want. ‘So my aim is whatever time I get I can utilise it for the development of the people,’ she said.
Referring to formation of government after the 2001 elections, there was a notion that Bangladesh is floating on the natural gas and this gas will have to be sold.
Various US companies at that time made investment for exploration of gas in Bangladesh and they wanted to sell the gas to India which also wanted to buy.
‘But I didn’t give opinion for selling the gas and I wanted to sell gas after keeping reserve of gas for 50 years. I can’t sell this gas before it as the people have a right to use it,’ she said.
In this connection, the prime minister said the then US president Bill Clinton himself requested her in this regard. ‘But I gave the same reply to him as the demand of the people will have to be fulfilled first,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said when she went to the USA, the same proposal was offered to her and she gave the same reply. ‘I’m the daughter of Bangabandhu I will say the same words that I uttered earlier. I can’t hand over the asset of the country to others for greed of power,’ she said.
The premier also directed the SSF agents to develop it as an ideal force in context of discipline, loyalty and professionalism and hoped that the force will be more efficient in discharging responsibilities.
She said the SSF will have to realise the importance of attaining higher discipline, honesty, responsibility and human qualities alongside their professional skills.
In this connection, she also asked them to maintain good relations, close contact and coordination among all associate agencies for ensuring foolproof security.

Source: New Age

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