Exclusive: For Bangladesh PM, authoritarian tag is ‘badge of honor’, son says on poll eve

DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina considers being known as authoritarian by the western media a “badge of honor”, the chief’s son instructed Reuters on the eve of a nationwide election on Sunday.

Law enforcement officers carry digital voting supplies as they distribute them to completely different voting centre forward of 11th basic election which can be held on December 30 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Hasina, who is broadly anticipated to win a 3rd straight time period in workplace, has been hailed domestically for quick financial progress previously decade and internationally for offering refuge to Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in neighboring Myanmar.

But her authorities has been accused of suppressing dissent and jailing critics, together with many supporters of the principle opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Many journalists say she has intimidated the media by utilizing vaguely worded legal guidelines towards them.

Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed, nevertheless, instructed Reuters there was area for dissent within the Muslim-majority nation of 165 million folks, and that the Western media was unfair in its portrayal of his mom.

“You know what my mother told me this morning? ‘Branded authoritarian by the Western media now is a badge of honor’” Wazed, who lives in Washington D.C. and runs an IT enterprise within the United States, mentioned within the prime minister’s official residence in Dhaka.

“Don’t you see anti-government posts on Facebook? Do you not see that? You are free to write whatever you want but you are not free to hurt someone. If you write something false and that causes an attack on someone, should there be no consequences?”

He mentioned the ruling social gathering would rethink a troublesome new media regulation it launched and one other it has tightened if it retains energy.

The 47-year-old, who entered politics reluctantly and has declined to take a senior place within the ruling Awami League, mentioned he was not eager on changing into prime minister.

“Anything is possible, but interested? No. Possible perhaps, but only time will tell,” mentioned Wazed, who is additionally the knowledge and communication expertise adviser to the prime minister.


The BNP, which is preventing this election as half of an alliance after boycotting the final one in 2014, says greater than eight,200 leaders and activists of the alliance have been arrested because the election schedule was introduced early final month. It added 4 staff had been killed and greater than 12,300 injured in numerous assaults in that interval.

The Awami League has denied any position within the violence.

Wazed dismissed accusations that the ruling social gathering had “manipulated” police and the judiciary to get BNP chief and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia jailed in February on corruption costs to weaken the opposition earlier than the election.

Khaleda’s son and appearing BNP chief Tarique Rahman, who lives in exile in London, faces imprisonment if he returns residence after a courtroom in October sentenced him to life in jail over an alleged plot to assassinate Hasina in 2004, when she was within the opposition. He denies any such plot.

“If courts and police are manipulated why did it take a decade to convict Khaleda Zia and her son? Why did it take us so long?” mentioned Wazed, who speaks with a U.S. accent.

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He mentioned if the Awami League shaped one other authorities, it might have a look at elevating the minimal wage for staff within the clothes business, which generates gross sales of greater than $30 billion a yr and is the most important after China’s. It solely lately raised the extent for the primary time in 5 years, although staff have requested for extra.

But he mentioned the last word purpose was to divert some of the garment staff to cell phone and electronics manufacturing. He mentioned South Korea’s Samsung Electronics had already began a cell phone meeting plant in Bangladesh and its South Korean rival LG had acquired land to open an electronics meeting plant.

“Our goal is to move up the value chain,” he mentioned. “We don’t want to stay stuck on the garments sector.”

Editing by Martin Howell and David Evans

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link reuters.com

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