The ban clamped by the British authorities on a direct movement of cargo by airlines from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom is an issue on which the authorities in Dhaka must throw light. Obviously, the British decision must have been made in light of certain realities which may not have placed us in good light. The fact that London has also suggested that cargo which is indirectly sent to the UK through connecting flights must also be re-screened before it makes an entry into Britain convinces us that something must have been going terribly wrong. And since it is a matter of public interest, it is only proper that the Bangladesh government authorities explain the nature of the issue. Clearly, the authorities here have been made acquainted with the details of the UK decision. Since the matter involves the prestige of the nation as a whole, let citizens not be kept in the dark.
The UK decision on our cargo movement to Britain rekindles in us sad memories of some other areas where we have embarrassed ourselves outside our country in the past. We do not have a direct airline flight --- and we speak of Bangladesh Biman --- to the US, where for many years now our national carrier has been forbidden to fly directly from Dhaka. Despite efforts by Dhaka to have the situation reversed, not much has happened by way of progress. The onus is therefore on us to have the situation rectified in a way which ensures our self-respect as a nation. It is not right that at a time when other nations are making their presence felt in the world, we keep falling behind. As a nation proud of our history and heritage, it becomes necessary for us to ensure that we measure up to the standards of behaviour, as individuals and as a collective body of people, followed around the world. It is extremely embarrassing when other governments, through such acts as the ban on our cargo flights, remind us of what has been going wrong with us.
In the past, we have had the disturbing spectacle of some European countries clamping a ban on shrimp exports from Bangladesh because of the duplicity some of our traders resorted to in increasing the weight of the products through dubious means. And these are facts which lower our dignity before the world. Add to that the many occasions when our citizens, in the guise of cultural personalities, have gone abroad as part of cultural teams and then did not return. Obviously, those who included them on their delegations knew of their intentions beforehand. How many of these sponsors have we brought to book? And that is not the only instance of our citizens shaming their own countries. Even in such places as our diplomatic missions abroad, especially in the West, many of our diplomats at senior levels have engaged in devising the ways and means of staying back there rather than returning home at the end of their terms. Ambassadors and press ministers have stayed back and then, amazingly, managed to come by passports of the countries they have stayed back in. Should the government not have acted?
It is time we adopted a strong stand on such transgressions. As for the ban on a direct transport of cargo from Bangladesh to Britain, the government owes citizens a detailed explanation. The sooner it is done, the better it will be for us.