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Tarique, 14 other convicts in grenade attack case are fugitives: PM Sheikh Hasina

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that 15 convicts in the August 21 grenade attack case, including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, have been absconding.

“Out of the 49 convicts, 34 had been arrested. Fifteen convicts including Tarique Rahman alias Tarqiue Zia are currently fugitives,” she said.

The PM said this while replying to a question from Awami League lawmaker Farida Yasmin (Women Seat-35) during the question-answer session.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury tabled the question-answer session at the beginning of the day’s sitting of the Parliament, which started around 4pm.

The premier said a total of 49 accused were sentenced in the trial of the grenade attack case as the judge of Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal No-1 passed the judgment on October 10, 2018.

“Among the convicts, 19 were sentenced to death, while 19 others to life imprisonment and the rest 11 ones to various jail terms,” she added.

She said Interpol issued red notices against accused Maulana Tajuddin, Harris Chowdhury, and Ratul Ahmed Babu alias Ratul Babu who are absconding abroad. Efforts are on to arrest the convicted fugitives.

Two cases — one under the penal code and another under Explosives Substances law-– were lodged over the barbaric grenade attack on an anti-terrorism rally arranged by Awami League in the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.

Hasina, then opposition leader, survived the gruesome attack, but it left 24 people dead and over 500 injured.

In reply to a question from ruling party lawmaker Anwar Hossain Khan (Laxmipur-1), the prime minister said the government had designed a project to prevent the loss of lives due to lightning in the 15 lightning-prone districts.

The proposed project for the installation of some 6,793 lightning rods/lightning protection canopies has been sent to the Planning Commission, she said.

Responding to a question from AL lawmaker Md Mainul Hossain Khan (Dhaka-14), Sheikh Hasina said an initiative has been taken to establish a state-of-the-art national emergency operation centre on one acre of land in the capital’s Tejgaon area with the cooperation of China, aiming to deal with earthquakes and other mega-disasters.

The implementation work will begin by formulating a project for this building that can withstand an 8-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, she said.

Answering a question from independent lawmaker Abdullah Nahid Niger (Gaibandha-1), the PM said the tribunals set up after 2009 to try crimes against humanity and war criminals have so far disposed of 56 cases and 153 accused were sentenced to death or different jail terms.

He said the present government has relentlessly been working to establish the rule of law by guaranteeing fair trials to reduce the suffering of justice seekers. The government is committed to ensuring justice based on equality for all, irrespective of the rich and poor, and establishing justice in the society by making visible development in the judiciary, she said

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PM Sheikh Hasina Calls for Unity Against Genocide in Gaza

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the Muslim community to unite against the genocide in Gaza being perpetrated by Israel.

“This genocide in Gaza is unacceptable. We must all stand united against it,” she stated.

The Prime Minister made these remarks during a courtesy call from Egyptian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Omar Mohie Eldin Ahmed Fahmy, at her office.

Advocacy for Peace and Welfare
PM’s Deputy Press Secretary, KM Shakhawat Moon, briefed journalists after the meeting. Moon reported that the Prime Minister reiterated Bangladesh’s firm stance against the ongoing war. She appealed for reallocating funds used for arms production and warfare towards the welfare of humanity, particularly focusing on women and children.

“It is far more effective to redirect the funds from arms production and wars towards the betterment of mankind,” she emphasized.

Sheikh Hasina noted that she consistently voices her opposition to the genocide in Gaza in every forum she attends.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations with Egypt
The Prime Minister also highlighted the untapped potential in the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Egypt, which have not progressed as expected. She mentioned that the total trade volume between the two countries was USD 180.6 million (Export USD 30.1 million and Import USD 150.5 million) in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

She suggested that collaboration in agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and education could be mutually beneficial.

Egyptian Ambassador’s Response
Ambassador Fahmy echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments, stating that the Muslim Ummah needs to be more united against the genocide in Palestine. He praised the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, stating, “A leader like you is needed not only in Bangladesh but also across the world.”

Fahmy also mentioned that the Grand Imam of Egypt, whose rank is equivalent to that of a Prime Minister in Egypt’s constitution, wishes to visit Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina responded positively, expressing Bangladesh’s eagerness to welcome him.

Expanding Trade and Friendship
The Egyptian ambassador expressed interest in increasing trade and business between the two countries. He also commended Bangladesh’s friendly relations with all nations and reminisced about the friendship between the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and former Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadaat.

PM’s Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah were among those present at the meeting.

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Met: Light to Moderate Rain with Gusty Winds Expected

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rain

Light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty winds are expected in several regions, with heavier downpours likely in northern, central, and northeastern divisions.

“Light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur at many places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions and at one or two places over Rajshahi, Dhaka, Khulna, Barishal, and Chattogram divisions with moderately heavy to heavy falls at places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions,” stated a Met Office forecast.

The axis of the monsoon trough stretches from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal to Assam, crossing northern Bangladesh. One associated trough extends to the North Bay.

The monsoon is currently fairly active over Bangladesh and moderate over the North Bay, according to the meteorological release valid for the next 24 hours starting from 9 am today.

On Saturday, the maximum temperature in the country was recorded at 36.0 degrees Celsius in Rajshahi, while the minimum temperature today was 24.8 degrees Celsius in Bandarban.

The highest rainfall in the last 24 hours up to 6 am today was recorded at 51 millimeters in Mongla.

Day and night temperatures may rise slightly across the country.

In the capital, the sun will set at 6:49 PM today and rise at 5:20 AM tomorrow.

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PM Sheikh Hasina to Address Media on China Visit Tomorrow

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold a media briefing tomorrow (14 July) to discuss her recent visit to China, according to a statement from her press wing.

“The press conference will take place at the prime minister’s official residence, Gono Bhaban, at 4pm,” the release stated.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina embarked on an official visit to China on Monday (8 July) at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Qiang and returned on Thursday (11 July).

During her stay in Beijing from 8-10 July, she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and held bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People.

Following the delegation-level discussions on Wednesday morning, Bangladesh and China signed and renewed 21 cooperation documents, primarily Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), aimed at strengthening development and economic ties between the two nations.

Additionally, both countries announced seven key outcomes, including the completion of a joint feasibility study on a Bangladesh-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

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