Government Policy

PM attributes flight debacle to mechanical glitch

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the unscheduled landing of the aircraft carrying her to Budapest on last week was caused by 'mechanical fault'.

"Accident is accident which may occur at any time. There is nothing to be so worried about it . . . It's a matter of great relief that the accident didn't happen and we are alive by the grace of the almighty and doa of the countrymen which is my best strength to survive," she said.

However, the premier said, an investigation is underway to unearth what caused the mechanical glitch requiring her aircraft to make an unscheduled landing at Turkmenistan on its way to Budapest.

The Prime Minister's made the comments at a press conference at her Gonobhaban residence on her two overseas visits to Marrakech and Budapest.

She also binned an idea of procuring special aircraft for the president and the prime minister saying such a move would be a "luxury" for a country like Bangladesh, as the issue widely dominated the beginning of the question -answer session of the press conference.

The issue of BNP chief Khaleda Zia's proposal about the constitution of the Election Commission Rohingya intrusion and proposed reshaping of the Jatiya Sangsad in line with Louis Kahn's original design were some other major issues that got prominence at the press conference.

Sheikh Hasina said the Boeing that was carrying her to Budapest was a new one procured from Boeing Company but the mechanical faults or human factors could have caused the debacle "aviation disaster is quite usual".

Replying to a question about the civil aviation safety the Prime Minister said after assuming power the Awami League government took real measures to strengthen the Biman fleet alongside measures remove the concern of two countries over the airport safety.

Sheikh Hasina said there is no need to buy a dedicated aircraft for her or the President to travel abroad as the "time has not come yet for such luxury," and she rather feels comfortable and safe to travel with the common people of the country.

"About her ensuring visit to India at the third week of this month and possibility of signing an agreement on sharing of Teesta water the Prime Minister said she is not going to India on any condition but "discussion is underway (on Teesta) and we are hopeful (about the outcome).

Referring to Ganges Water Sharing Agreement she said Joint River Commission (JRC) of the two countries was working to reach a deal on sharing 54 common streams of the two neighbours including the Teesta with Bangladesh being the lower riparian country.

Asked for comments on Begum Zia's proposal on constituting the election commission, the Prime Minister preferred to leave the issue for presidential consideration but said the BNP chief should first seek people's apology for instigating mayhem through arson attacks and killing innocent people.

"According to the rules the President would consider their proposal. The matter will take shape in that way. So we have nothing to do in this regard," she said.

She said the election commission was constituted in 2008 by the then president in line with the BNP demands while the current commission also was constituted by the president by picking up its members through a search committee.

"The same procedure is being followed this time. Here the government has nothing to do in the process . . . (however) I don't know whether her (Khaleda Zia) proposal contains any substance at all," the premier said.

But, she said the BNP chairperson need to seek apology to the countrymen for the mayhem she lashed out in the in the country name of movement from 2013 to 2015 before coming up with the proposal on formation of the next Election Commission.

"I think at first she should seek apology before furnishing any proposal for the killing and injuring many innocent women, children, bus and truck drivers, government employees, law enforcers and common people before floating any proposal," she said.

The premier said Begum Zia first took the decision to stay away from the polls, then waged a violent nationwide campaign to unseat the government and now came up with the proposal.

Sheikh Hasina said BNP leaders also should recall their ploy to manipulate polls when they were in power.

Asked for her comments on the current unrest in neighbouring Myanmar and intrusion of Rohinga in Bangladesh the premier said many of them were given refuge on humanitarian grounds to be repatriated home later.

She said the turmoil in that country was caused by some miscreants in that country as they first attacked Myanmar border guards and army and killed many of them.

Shekh Hasina said her government instructed intelligence agencies to track down those miscreants if they too took shelter in Bangladesh.

She said the criminals responsible for sufferings of the thousands of women, children and ordinary people should be exposed to punitive actions first and the international community should be aware about it.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)