Tuesday, 23rd July, 2024

Khaleda couldn’t export gas due to Sheikh Hasina’s pressure

Saturday, 06 July 2024 | 11:47 am | 18 times

Khaleda couldn’t export gas due to Sheikh Hasina’s pressure

Yesterday, while discussing the conspiracies against Bangladesh regarding the export of its gas resources, Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, did not mention her crucial role to stop it.

It was because of Sheikh Hasina’s steadfast stance that Khaleda Zia ultimately couldn’t export gas. Self-effacing as she is, Sheikh Hasina did not highlight her contributions in this matter. The conspiratorial election of 2001 prevented Sheikh Hasina from coming to power because she refused to export the country’s gas resources. During the BNP-Jamaat coalition government following the October 1, 2001 election, then-opposition leader Sheikh Hasina took a strong stand against exporting the country’s limited gas resources, which ultimately thwarted Khaleda Zia’s plans.

Sheikh Hasina had declared that if the BNP-Jamaat coalition decided to export gas, the people would rise in a movement to overthrow the government. She emphasised the need to reserve gas for domestic needs for the next 50 years. The Daily Star reported on August 8, 2003, “Hasina warns against gas export.” Additionally, in 2003, a popular uprising in Bolivia, sparked by a decision to export gas, led to the fall of its government, making headlines worldwide.

Despite pledging to sell the country’s limited gas resources abroad, the Khaleda Zia government faced a severe gas crisis during its tenure. No new gas fields were discovered, and Bangladesh did not have enough gas to export. Nevertheless, Khaleda Zia had completed all preparations to export the limited gas resources. Under her directives, the Ministry of Power and Energy prepared the relevant proposal and sent it to the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval. The government had made all necessary preparations beforehand. A 1998 World Bank report had advised Bangladesh to start exporting gas by 2002. The English version of BNP’s 2001 election manifesto included a commitment to export gas.

Khaleda Zia had information that a massive popular movement would start under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership if a final decision on gas export was made, potentially leading to the fall of her government like in Bolivia. Consequently, Khaleda backed down from the decision in October 2003.

If there had been no fear of a popular movement leading to the government’s downfall, the BNP-Jamaat coalition would have certainly exported gas. If Khaleda Zia had managed to export our limited gas resources, the country’s economy would have been destroyed, leading to bankruptcy. History shows that after the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, his daughter Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly saved the country.

The writer is a Member of Parliament, Chandpur-1 (Kachua), and Information and Research Secretary, Bangladesh Awami League.

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