Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday unequivocally said Bangladesh as a sovereign country would not bow its head to any foreign country or donors as it is not dependent on them to make its way to cherished prosperity.
Pointing out the World Bank’s false allegation of corruption in Padma Bridge project she said, ‘Padma Bridge issue is a big lesson for them who want to blame us recurrently to keep us in pressure to bow our heads to them.’
‘The World Bank’s allegation of corruption against us was a blunt lie which has been proved in the Federal Court of Canada,’ she said adding that her challenge to the bank and decision to construct the Padma Bridge with own finance has brightened Bangladesh’s image giving them a message that they should not neglect Bangladesh.
The prime minister said this addressing the Independence Award-2017 handing over ceremony in a function at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital on Thursday.
‘In 2008 election we have floated our charter for changing days with a goal to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence as a middle income country by 2021. We certainly don’t want to beg to others to celebrate our golden jubilee,’ Sheikh Hasina said.
‘We are working with the aim to celebrate of independence with honour and dignity,’ she added saying Bangladesh is going ahead and it will continue as we have earned capacity to implement ninety per cent of our development programme with our own resources.
This year the government named Bangladesh Air Force and 15 persons for the Independence Award - 2017 for their outstanding contributions to the War of Liberation, literature, culture, development and other areas of national life.
Group Captain (retd) Shamsul Alam, Bir Uttam, former Bangladesh Betar official Ashraful Alam, former police super late Shaheed Md Nazmul Huq, former minister late Syed Mohsin Ali, Shaheed NM Nazmul Ahsan, Shaheed Faizur Rahman Ahmed and Bangladesh Air Force were given the Independence Award - 2017 for their outstanding contribution to the War of Liberation.
The other persons received the Independence Award - 2017 are- AHM Touhidul Anowar Chawdhury (medical science), Begum Rabeya Khatun and late Golam Samdani Koraishi (literature), Enamul Huq and Ostad Bazlur Rahman Badal (culture), Khalil Kazi OBE (social service), Bangla Academy director general Shamsuzzaman Khan and former Dhaka University teacher late Lalit Mohan Nath (research and training) and Mohammad Asaduzzaman (public administration).
Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar received the Independence Award - 2017 for Bangladesh Air Force while family members of late awardees received their award which contains a gold medal, a certificate of honour, and a sum of cash.
Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam conducted the function and read out the citation of the Independence Award recipients with their brief life sketch.
Professor Enamul Huq, who spoke on the occasion on behalf of the award recipients, thanked the government recognising their contribution to the society. He hailed the relentless efforts of the prime minister to stamp out hunger and poverty from Bangladesh and urged everybody to work together to materialise the dream.
Deputy speaker, ministers, advisers to the prime minister, PM’s special envoy, judges of the Supreme Court, parliament members, chiefs of three services, diplomats, former Independence Award laureates, academicians of different universities and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
The Independence Award is the highest state award given by the government of Bangladesh given individuals and organisations in the categories of War of Liberation, the Language Movement, education, literature, journalism, public service, science and technology, medical science, social science, music, sports, fine arts and rural development.
Congratulating the Independence Award recipients, the prime minister said that their lives and works would be exemplary for them who want to create brilliance in their life. ‘We want to make a progressive and brilliant nation with your support,’ she added.
Sheikh Hasina said her government since taking office in 2009 has embarked upon a new journey to take the country forward. Over the last eight years, she said Bangladesh has acquired a dignified position in the world community due to her government’s constant efforts.
The prime minister said the country’s annual growth rate would certainly increase from the current 7.1 per cent in the coming days. ‘Now our per capita income is US$ 1,466 and 50 million people have reached the middle income level from the low-income level. Poverty rate dropped to 22 per cent from 47 per cent in 2005 which would be further reduced,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government’s social safety net programmes have ushered in new hope for the downtrodden people. Students are being given textbooks free of cost while monthly stipends are helping the poor students to pursue their education.
The government has given priority to vocational and specialised education to create skilled and competent workforce in the country. The government is doing everything which is essential for country’s progress and people are enjoying its benefit, the prime minister said.
The premier said country’s budget has been increased several times while salaries of the government employees were increased by 123 per cent aimed at giving them a solvent life which never happened before.
The prime minister said none would be able to suppress Bangladesh that Bangabandhu clearly said with his firm conviction in his historic March 7, 1971 speech. Bengali people had been oppressed for 200 years under British colonial rule and 23 years under Pakistani regime. Moreover, the destruction carried out by the Pakistan army completely ruined the country.
However, within the three years of independence Bangabandhu had reconstructed and rehabilitated every industry taking it to an envious height, she said. Side by side Bangabandhu had taken all initiatives for global recognition of Bangladesh and peaceful coexistence with neighbours through settlement of bilateral issues.
But, Bangabandhu could not get the scope to serve the nation for a longer period. Some misguided people killed him along with most of his family members, paving the plot of grabbing state power illegally with the support of the anti-liberation force, she added.
The illegal rulers shared state power with the notorious war criminals and took the country to a different path from the basic ideology. They depicted a false history before the new generation depriving them from knowing the past glory and valor of the nation.
‘In the name of democracy they ruled the country under curfew every night,’ Sheikh Hasina said adding that 21 years later people got back their real democratic, religious and civil rights when Awami League came to power in 1996.
But that journey suffered a blow when BNP-Jamaat came to power again in 2001. Her government had to begin everything anew after coming to power in 2009 to bring the country to the present position, Sheikh Hasina said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country