Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the people to set aside their differences to build a “prosperous and non-communal” Bangladesh as the country celebrated 50 years of independence from Pakistan.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the golden jubilee of independence, she said the people of Bangladesh should renew their nation-building efforts, as envisioned by the Father of the Nation ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and inspired by the spirit of the 1971 War of Independence.
Hasina, also president of the ruling Awami League, said anti-liberation forces in and outside the country have hatched various conspiracies to hamper the progress of Bangladesh.
“That process (conspiracies) is still on. So, we all have to remain vigilant to resist anti-state activities,” she said.
“Let’s forget all our differences and be inspired by the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War to build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous, non-communal Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) following the dream of the father of the nation,” she was quoted as saying by the Dhaka Tribune newspaper.
The 73-year-old prime minister urged all to take an oath to ensure that no one can jeopardise the country’s progress.
“On this auspicious occasion of the golden jubilee of our independence, we have to take an oath., so that no one can hinder the country’s democratic and development progress,” she said.
Hasina said: “We are celebrating the golden jubilee of our independence. However, this celebration should not be just a formality.”
“With the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence in mind, we have to take a new oath to take our country to new heights.”
She also remembered with gratefulness the roles of the friendly states, institutions and persons who extended their support during the trying times of the country in 1971.
Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, said, “Sheikh Mujib is the creator of the country and nation state. That’s why we are celebrating his (Mujib) birth centenary and golden jubilee of the country’s independence.”
Presenting the statistics of the country’s development, Hasina said, “This is the achievement of the general people of the country? My government created a congenial environment, giving only policy support. You (people) proved that if people of Bangladesh get favourable environment, they can make the impossible to possible.”
In her address, the prime minister expressed gratitude to the people for bringing the Awami League, the political party that led the nation during the Liberation War, to power and give it the opportunity to oversee the celebrations of the twin occasions.
“Bangladesh beat all negative and depressing projections, enabling itself to stand in the world with its head held high. Bangladesh was projected as an instance of poverty and underdevelopment even a decade ago, but the development experts now present Bangladesh as a model of development and triumphing over poverty,” she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the guest of honour at the main celebrations on Friday at the National Parade Square. Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering have already attended the 10-day special programme, which began on March 17, coinciding with Bangabandhu’s birthday.