Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said when Awami League President Sheikh Hasina returned home on May 17 in 1981 after a long exile, democracy and the spirit of the liberation returned to the country.
"The homecoming of Sheikh Hasina was not only the individual return of Bangabandhu's daughter but also the return of democracy and the spirit of the liberation," he said.
Hasan, also the Awami League joint general secretary, was speaking at a press briefing at his secretariat office here on the occasion of the 40th homecoming day of AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Terming Sheikh Hasina one of the best honest and hardworking world leaders, he said she was conferred with 'Mother of the Humanity and 'Champion of the Earth' awards while her leadership is exemplary around the world.
Hasan said the AL president returned to the country on May 17, 1981, after her long exile when Ziaur Rahman introduced "Marshal Democracy" detaining the actual democracy in cage.
"Ziaur Rahman restored the Pakistani ideology forcing the spirit of the liberation war to be exiled. That is why, on May 17 in 1981, the homecoming of Sheikh Hasina was not only the individual return of Bangabandhu's daughter but also the return of democracy and the spirit of the liberation," he added.
The information minister said Ziaur Rahman had imposed restriction on the home return of Sheikh Hasina when she announced to return home in February 1981 after she was elected as the AL president.
Later, he said, Zia was compelled to allow AL president Sheikh Hasina to return home due to her firm stance in returning home and the international pressure on Zia.
Hasan said after returning home, the AL president wanted to arrange a milad mahfil at Dhanmondi-32 house but Zia did not allow to do it.
That is why the AL president was compelled to arrange the milad mahfil on the streets as Zia was a very revengeful person, he added.
The AL joint general secretary said with the mandate of people, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the government in 1996 to run the country.
Since then, he said, the AL president has been working hard to remove the sufferings of people and take the country forward.
Hasan said the food-deficit Bangladesh became a food-surplus country with about 17 crore population under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.
"Bangladesh graduated to a middle-income country from the lower-income one under her (Sheikh Hasina's) leadership….today Bangladesh is a role model of development before the world," he said.
The information minister said Sheikh Hasina remained beside the country's people in the last 39 years and she will always remain beside them. "But there were 19 attempts to kill her (Sheikh Hasina)," he added.