Thursday, November 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Khaleda govt aiding ultras: Hasina
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina today accused the Khaleda Zia government of patronising terrorism and asked India and Bangladesh to resolve issues of illegal immigrants and the anti-Indian campaign in Bangladesh through talks.

Addressing a press conference after holding wide-ranging talks with President A.P.J. Abul Kalam and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on bilateral matters and regional issues, she virtually acknowledged the presence of the Al-Qaida in her country.

She said a lot of “terrorist’’ activity was going on in her country” and the government had failed to prevent such activities.

Sheikh Hasina opposed using Bangladeshi territory for subversive activities in India, stating that “it is not good for her country for maintaining hostile relations with its neighbours”.

External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha hosted a dinner in her honour, besides discussing the entire gamut of bilateral ties, particularly the use of Bangladesh territory for subversive activities in India.

Referring to attack on minorities by the supporters of the present regime, she said the Khaleda government had unleashed a reign of terror against her opponents. The minorities are also victims of the present government because of their affiliation with the Awami League.

She said her government maintained congenial relations with neighbours as it helped in strengthening cooperation among the South Asian countries. “We strongly worked for promoting friendship with all our neighbours”, she stated.

Commenting on National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra’s comments that it would be difficult for India to participate in the coming SAARC summit, she said: “No bilateral issue should be raised at the groupings’ meetings”.

Terming her meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee as a “courtesy call”, she said they discussed bilateral issues, including trade, commerce and business. She favoured duty free access to Bangladesh by India in view of trade imbalance against her country.

To a question whether she was in favour of Bangladesh exporting natural gas to India, the former premier said gas was the only resource of her country unlike India which had many natural resources.

Stating that Bangladesh should know how much gas reserves it had, she said there was a need to make a survey and “if we have excess gas then only we can export”.

The Awami League leader alleged that her party workers were being arrested and harassed by the government headed by Khaleda Zia. PTI

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