Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has extended greetings to the countrymen on the occasion of the golden jubilee of great independence and urged all to work together to build a hunger-poverty-illiteracy-free Golden Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“Today is the 26th March – our great Independence Day. Bangladesh completes 50 years today since its independence. I extend my heartiest greetings to the countrymen and expatriate Bangladeshis on the occasion of the golden jubilee of great independence,” said the Prime Minister in a message on the eve of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh.
“Let us take oath on this auspicious occasion of the golden jubilee of independence- imbued with the spirit of the Great War of Liberation, we all together will build a hunger-poverty-illiteracy-free Golden Bangladesh,” said the premier.
The Prime Minister said March 26 is the day of establishing self-identity of Bengali nation and it is the day of breaking the shackles of subjugation. On this Independence Day, the Prime Minister recalled with deep gratitude the greatest Bangalee of all times, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under whose undisputed leadership Bengalis have earned independence.
She also paid tributes to four national leaders, three million martyrs and two hundred thousand dishonoured women of the War of Liberation. She also paid homage to all the valiant freedom fighters, including the wounded ones and extended sympathies to those who had lost their near and dear ones, and were subjected to brutal torture during the Liberation War.
The Prime Minister also recalled with gratitude the foreign friends who had extended their support during the Liberation War.
Sheikh Hasina said on the occasion of the golden jubilee of independence, colorful programs have been chalked out from March 26, 2021 to December 16, 2021 and the period from March 17, 2020 to December 16, 2021 is being celebrated as ‘Mujib Year’ marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation.
In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the Golden Jubilee of Independence and the ‘Mujib Year’ are being celebrated avoiding public gathering following the protocols of hygiene, she added.
The Bangalee nation had fought against oppression and deprivation of Pakistani rulers’ for long 23 years under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, she said, adding that Awami League led by Bangabandhu won absolute majority in the general elections in 1970.
But the Pakistani rulers adopted repressive measures instead of handing over power to the majority party representatives, she said, adding that calling for independence from a mammoth rally at the then Racecourse Ground on March 7, 1971 Bangabandhu declared, ‘The struggle this time is the struggle for our emancipation; the struggle this time is the struggle for independence, Joi Bangla. He instructed the Bangalee Nation to resist the enemies’.
Sheikh Hasina said the Pakistani occupation forces unleashed a sudden attack and started massacring innocent and unarmed Bangalees on the fateful night of March 25, 1971. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formally proclaimed the Independence of Bangladesh in the first hour of March 26, 1971, she said, adding that Bangabandhu’s proclamation was spread all over the country through telegrams, tele-printers and EPR wireless.
The international media also had circulated Bangabandhu’s proclamation of Independence, she added.
The Prime Minister said the first government of Bangladesh took oath on April 17, 1971 in Mujibnagar with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as President, Syed Nazrul Islam as Vice President, Tajuddin Ahmed as Prime Minister, Capt. M Mansur Ali and AHM Kamaruzzaman as ministers.
“The resistance war against the occupying forces began. After a 9-month of blood-shedding liberation war, the final victory was achieved on December 16, 1971,” she added.
In the 50 years since independence what Bangladesh has achieved has been achieved by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Awami League, she said, adding that in just three and a half years of his government, he rebuilt the war-ravaged country. Destroyed roads, bridges, culverts, railways, ports were rebuilt to revive the economy and in 1975, the GDP growth rate exceeded 7 percent, she said.
Bangladesh gained recognition from 116 countries and got the memberships of 27 international organizations, she added.
“Our constitution was made on the basis of the spirit of the liberation war under his direction within just 10 months. In just three and a half years, Bangabandhu took war-torn Bangladesh to the list of least developed country,” said the Prime Minister.
When Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was advancing to build an exploitation-deprivation-free non-communal democratic ‘Sonar Bangla’ overcoming all obstacles, the Prime Minister said the anti-liberation forces brutally killed him along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the development and progress of Bangladesh came to a halt and the politics of killing, coup and conspiracy started in the country, she said, adding that the assassins and their accomplices promulgated the ‘Indemnity Ordinance’ to block the trial of this heinous murder in the history.
After assuming the office after long 21 years, Awami League took the initiatives to establish Bangladesh as a self-respectful in the comity of nations. Through the introduction of social safety-net programs, poor and marginalized people are brought under government allowances, she said, adding that Awami League made the country self-sufficient in food production with special emphasis on agricultural production.
The Ganges Water Sharing Treaty was signed with India in 1996 and the historic Peace Accord was signed in 1997 with the aim of establishing peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, she said, adding that by repealing the ‘Indemnity Ordinance’, Awami League government started the trial of Bangabandhu’s assassination.
Awami League that formed the government in 2018 for the third-time in a row has relentlessly been working to improve the fate of the people inspired by the spirit of the great liberation war. Awami League government is implementing the unfinished works of the Father of the Nation and now Bangladesh has become self-reliant in food production.
The poverty rate has come down to 20.5 percent from 42.5 percent in the last 12 years, she said, adding that country’s sovereign rights over a vast area in the Bay of Bengal have been established through the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes with Myanmar and India.
The nation has become free from stigma by executing the verdict of Bangabandhu murder case and the trial of war criminals continues and the verdict is being executed, she added.
On the occasion of ‘Mujib Year’, some 8 hundred 92 thousand homeless people are being provided houses and 70 thousand houses have already been handed over, she said, adding that another 50 thousand houses are under construction.
A total of 9 lakh 98 thousand 346 families have been provided accommodation since 1996. Around 99 percent people are taken under electricity coverage, she said, adding that to keep the economy going offsetting the impacts of Coronavirus, the government has so far announced 23 stimulus packages worth Taka 1.24 lakh crore, which is 4.44 percent of the GDP.
The Prime Minister said the persistent efforts of the last 12 years of the Bangladesh Awami League government have brought the final recommendations for Bangladesh to become a dignified developing country on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of Independence. “This is a huge achievement for us,” she added.
“Under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the brave Bangalees liberated the country through the war of liberation within just nine months. I firmly believe that if this trend of development continues, Bangladesh will soon be established as a developed-prosperous country in the world, InshaAllah,” said the Prime Minister.