Hasina asks Dhaka to take tough measures against corruption

July 7th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 7 (IANS) Herself on parole after being jailed on graft charges for a year, former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the caretaker government to take tough measures against the corrupt. While talking to the leaders of her party Awami League’s Canada chapter before heading for London Saturday night, Hasina said it was well-known that unbridled corruption, misrule, nepotism and politicisation had plunged Bangladesh into a deep crisis. She appealed to the government to take strong steps to curb corruption, The Daily Star reported.

Her terming corruption as “the enemy of development” indicated an attempt to refurbish her own image in a foreign land and make a conciliatory gesture towards the government, political analysts said.

The Awami League is currently engaged in political talks with the government and is preparing to participate in civic elections next month, being boycotted so far by the rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Hasina has been embroiled in a number of graft cases and was jailed on July 16 last year. She has been let out on parole to receive medical treatment in the US. She went to Canada June 26 to see her daughter.

The military-backed government has revived some old cases against Hasina, including one accusing her of misuse of office and receiving kick-backs in the purchase of MiG-29 combat aircraft from Russia when she was in power (1996-2001).

However, she appeared to point the accusing finger at her political rival, the other former prime minister, Khaleda Zia, who remains in jail along with her two sons.

“People know well who are responsible for the country’s current situation. All have to work together to ensure the victory of the party so that the country doesn’t face such situation in future,” Hasina said.

As for her own tenure, she said: “When we were in power, we were concerned about nothing else but the interest of the country.”

“I don’t fear anybody except Allah. I’m willing to accept any challenge for the countrymen,” Hasina said.

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