Hasan rebuts Fakhrul’s statement on Khaleda’s release

Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said what contributions Begum Khaleda Zia could make to the Mujib Year as the BNP chief used to observe her fake birthday by cutting cake on August 15, the day Bangabandhu and most of his family members were killed, reports BSS.

His comment came following the statement of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir who said how far the observance of the Mujib Year would make an impact on the people by keeping Begum Zia in jail. Hasan posed a question whether the motive of getting BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia’s release from jail is to get a scope to observe August 15 as her fake birthday by cutting cake. The minister was addressing the launching ceremony of Swadesh Pratidin, a new Bangla daily, at the auditorium of Jatiya Press Club (JPC).

Lawmaker and eminent actor Akbar Hossain Pathan, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University former Vice Chancellor Dr Kamrul Hasan, senior journalist Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury and Jatiya Press Club President Saiful Alam addressed the function as special guests with Chairman of editorial board of the newly-launched daily Md Wakil Uddin in the chair.

JPC Senior Vice President Omar Faruque and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) President Abu Jafar Surya, among others, also spoke on the occasion. Criticizing comments of BNP leaders on Begum Zia’s health issue, Hasan said, BNP is continuously doing ill-politics over the health and treatment of Khaleda Zia. Actually, the government is making its all-out efforts to ensure the best medical treatment for her, he added.

He said Khaleda Zia is being treated by the doctors of the country’s highest medical educational institution, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). The minister said she (Khaleda) is suffering from age related problems. Besides, pain at her knee and waist is due to Begum Zia’s prolonged health problems, he said adding that the doctors are trying to give her the best treatment.

Urging the media to play their role in shaping the minds especially of younger generations with positive and pro-active outlook, Hasan said, “The media has a big influence in this regard . . . I urge you to shape particularly the young minds to think positively for nation building. Since media is considered to be the fourth state organ, he said “I expect you to play your role in guiding society towards the right track (as well)”.

The country must progress, if a better understanding between the government and the media exists, he said. He said Bangladesh is moving ahead indomitably to fulfill the dream of the Father of the Nation under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh has already graduated to a middle-income country from the least developing one, said Hasan, adding that the country has gained remarkable progress in many socioeconomic indexes, including human development.

The minister said Bangladesh has surpassed Pakistan in all socio-economic indexes and even surpassed India in many social indicators.
The minister said, “I’m working relentlessly for the betterment of the journalists after taking charge of the ministry. Discipline has been established in the media sector following different steps.”

In his address, Hasan said mass media flourished in Bangladesh during the tenure of the Awami League government. “Mass media rapidly flourished in Bangladesh during the time of the Sheikh Hasina-led government. For the first time, she gave approval to private television channels in the country,” he added.

“She (Sheikh Hasina) gave first private TV license after assuming power in 1996. Now around 35 private TV channels are on air while 45 channels got licenses,” he added. The information minister said the government will work with the print and the broadcast journalists to ensure legal protection for their jobs and other facilities. Swadesh Pratidin Editor Rafiqul Islam Ratan gave welcome speech while Swadesh Global Media Limited Chairman Md Majibur Rahman Chowdhury delivered vote of thanks. Later, the minister unveiled the cover of the daily Swadesh Pratidin.