Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday called upon all join forces to attain international recognition for the massacre that was carried out during the War of Independence in 1971 as genocide.
‘Today is March 25, the day when Pakistani occupation forces carried out genocide on unarmed Bengalis and killed millions of people in 1971. We would have to make strides to achieve international recognition of the genocide during the Liberation War of 1971,’ she said while addressing a ceremony held to hand over Independence Award 2019 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
The government had already taken some initiatives to this respect, she mentioned.
The prime minister asked all to work together to take the benefits of the hard-earned independence to every home being imbued with the spirit of the War of Independence and ideals founder president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
‘Whenever we come to power, we try to develop the socio-economic sector of the country at the quickest possible time to make Bangladesh a developed nation that would be free from hunger and poverty and one that was dreamt of by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,’ she also said.
The development in Bangladesh today coupled with the graduation to a middle income country from the least development category had become possible for the Awami League government’s relentless efforts of the last decade, she said.
She added, ‘We are going to achieve a gross domestic product growth rate of 8 per cent this year and now the per capita income is $1,909 which had been $1,751 earlier.’
Highlighting the different initiatives taken by Sheikh Mujib during his tenure in various sectors, including education, economic and social development, she said that seven per cent growth rate was achieved in 1975 before the assassination of the founder president along with most of his family members.
Mujib had only three and a half years after independence in 1971 to rebuild the war-ravaged country and to shape it, she said.
If he were alive, the country could have become developed within five to 10 years after independence, she added.
The anti-liberation forces and their international cliques had assassinated the founder president as part of their conspiracy as they had realised that Bangladesh would soon achieve economic emancipation under his visionary leadership, she mentioned.
The economic development was stopped with Mujib’s assassination on August 15 in 1975, she said.
‘We assumed power after 21 years and started building Bangladesh as a developed country following Bangabandhu’s footsteps and ideals,’ she said.
The prime minister handed over the Independence Award 2019 to 13 eminent persons and an organisation in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their respective fields at the function organised by the cabinet division.
The recipients are martyred intellectual Mufazzal Haider Chowdhury (posthumous), martyred ATM Zafar Alam (posthumous), AKM Mozammel Haque, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Doctor Kazi Misbahun Nahar, Abdul Khalek (posthumous), Professor Mohammad Khaled (posthumous) and Barrister Shawkat Ali Khan (posthumous) in independence and War of Independence category, Brigadier General Doctor Nurun Nahar Fatema Begum in medical science, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad in social service, Murtaza Bashir in culture, Hasan Azizul Haque in literature, Professor Doctor Hasina Khan in research and training and the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture in science and technology.
Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam conducted the function and read out the citations at the programme.
Chief justice, cabinet members, the prime minister’s advisors, lawmakers, chiefs of the three services, foreign diplomats, freedom fighters, and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Each award recipient was given an 18-karat gold medal that weighed 50 grams, Tk 3 lakh and a citation.
Greeting the recipients of the independence award, the prime minister said that the people, who were working for the welfare of the country with their limited resources even from villages, should be identified and recognised for their contributions.
She said, ‘We had to face many barriers to make Bangladesh qualify to become a middle income country by carrying out huge development works in every sector.’
Referring to the corruption allegations brought about regarding the construction of Padma Bridge, she said that the World Bank had failed to prove the graft charges in this regard.
‘Honesty is the main source of power. We could face it because we were honest,’ she continued.
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, added, ‘Insha Allah, we would be able to build Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty free country. No one can suppress Bangladesh as it is progressing ahead.’
She mentioned that Bangladesh would celebrate the birth centenary of the founder president in 2020 and the golden jubilee of the independence in 2021.
The government had already declared 2020-2021 as ‘Mujib Year’, she said.
Speaking on the formation of the Bangladesh Krishak Shramik Awami League, she said that the founder president had brought all political parties under a platform to make a national consensus to rebuild a war-ravaged country and to ensure the overall development of the country.
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