Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today expressed her firm determination of building a 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with collective efforts.
"…We will uphold the spirit of independence achieved in exchange for the three million martyrs and two million abused mothers and sisters. Inspired by the motto of the Great Liberation War by resisting all imminent conspiracies, together, we shall play an effective role in building the 'Golden Bangladesh' of the Father of the Nation's dream," she said in a message on the eve of the Homecoming Day of Bangabandhu.
The premier prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of his Homecoming Day.
The greatest Bengali of all time in the history of Bengali's liberation struggle, the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was released from prison in Pakistan and returned home on 10 January in 1972, she said.
The people of newly independent Bangladesh got back their most beloved leader, she said, adding that with the arrival of the Great Leader, the joy of the final victory of the liberation war was fulfilled.
The Father of the Nation struggled for 24 long years to unfetter the Bengali nation from the shackles of subjugation, she said, adding that he (Bangabandhu) led on all fronts, from the language movement to the Independence War.
She went on saying that Bangabandhu endured prison-torture, always made far-sighted decisions, and organised the party well beyond personal interests.
"Bangladesh Awami League won an absolute majority in the 1970 elections under his leadership. But the Pakistani military junta ignored the people's verdict and started a farce. Unarmed people of Bengal were shot and killed indiscriminately. To achieve the ultimate independence, Father of the Nation declared in a crowd of a million at the racecourse maidan on 7 March 1971, '...turn every house into fortress......The struggle this time is a struggle for emancipation. The struggle this time is a struggle for independence.' The Pakistani occupation forces launched a brutal killing mission on the innocent Bengalis on the darkest night on 25 March. Bangabandhu proclaimed the Independence of Bangladesh in the first hour of 26 March," she continued.
Soon after the declaration of independence, the Pakistani forces arrested the Father of the Nation and sent him to a solitary prison in Pakistan, where he was subjected to inhuman torture, she added.
He was elected as the President of the Mujibnagar Government on 10 April 1971, she said, adding that he rejoiced in the spirit of Bengalis while counting the moments of execution as a convict in the ridiculous trial of Pakistan's Kangaroo court.
Bangabandhu was the flame of hope to the freedom fighter, she said.
"Under his unwavering leadership, the Bengali nation fought to the death and snatched victory on 16 December. The defeated Pakistani rulers were compelled to free Bangabandhu in the early hours of 8 January, 1972," she continued.
"He landed in London in the morning on the same day. There, he immediately agreed to accept Bangladesh's membership to the Commonwealth at the proposal of its Secretary-General. Met the British Prime Minister, and held a press conference. The Father of the Nation kissed the ground of his beloved motherland at noon on 10 January 1972 with a short stopover in Delhi in the morning. In a speech to an ocean of crowd at the Racecourse that day, he described the brutal torture of the Pakistani military junta and called on the United Nations to bring the Pakistani army to justice for committing heinous crimes and genocide during the Great Liberation War," Hasina said.
On 12 January 1972, the Father of the Nation assumed as the Prime Minister and deployed wholehearted efforts to rebuild war-torn Bangladesh, she said.
Due to his strong move, the Indian allied forces left Bangladesh by 15 March, she said, adding that on 14 December, he signed the first constitution of Bangladesh.
Due to the successful bilateral and multilateral diplomatic efforts of the Father of the Nation, Bangladesh gained recognition from 123 countries of the world and 26 international organisations, she added.
From a war-torn country, it emerged as a least developed country in just three and a half years, and Bangladesh stood with a high head in the globe, she continued.
On 15 August 1975, the anti-independence and war criminal faction brutally killed the Father of the Nation along with his family members, and introduced the politics of killing, coup, and conspiracy in this country, the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina further said that they obstructed the way for the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination by issuing an indemnity ordinance on 26 September 1975.
"The Mostaq-Zia gang rewarded the killers with diplomatic status in Bangladesh embassies and also established them politically. Ruined democracy by declaring Martial Law. Distorted the glorious history of our independence. Defaced the constitution and choked press freedom. The BNP-Jamaat government continued the trend," she said.
The premier said that after 21 years of a long struggle and many sacrifices, Bangladesh Awami League formed the government in 1996.
"On 12 November of the same year, we adopted the 'Indemnity Ordinance Repeal Act, 1996' and started the trial of the assassination of the Father of the Nation. We highlighted the real history of Bangladesh's independence and liberation war in the textbooks published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. We won a landslide victory in the 2008 election by declaring a 'charter of change' in our manifesto and were elected by popular mandate three times in a row," Hasina said.
"We have executed the verdict of the killers of the Father of the Nation. We have tried war criminals through the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal. We have ensured the right of the people to vote through the fifteenth amendment to the constitution, thus stopping the illegal seizure of power," she continued.
In the last thirteen years, the Awami League-led government has made unprecedented progress in all development indicators, she said, adding: "We are ranked among the top 5 countries in the world in terms of economic growth. Through the relentless efforts of our government, Bangladesh has received the final recommendation to move from a least developed country to a developing country and has received the 'SDG Progress Award.' We have brought the poverty rate below 20.5% and raised the per capita income to $2,554."
"We are providing electricity facility to almost cent percent people. To get rid of the ongoing Corona epidemic, we have given the incentive of Tk187 thousand 679 crores under 28 packages. With the construction of the Padma Bridge, Metrorail, and Expressway and tunnel under Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh is about to enter a new era in communication. We have modernized the road, rail, and air communication systems. The number of internet users is about 13 crore," she added.
"We have achieved Vision-2021 and transformed the country into a Digital Bangladesh. In Mujib Year, we have promised that no one will be homeless. We are extending all the urban facilities to remote rural areas. We have started implementing the 'Second Perspective Plan' to achieve the 'Sustainable Development Goals' by 2030 and build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh by 2041," she said.
The premier went on saying that the government has adopted a groundbreaking plan called 'Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100'.
"We are taking Bangladesh forward on the path of prosperity by overcoming various obstacles," Hasina continued.
"We are celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of Independence. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Independence in March 2021, we organised a 10-day programme where the heads of state or government of the five SAARC countries participated in the Golden Jubilee programme," she said.
In addition, heads of state or government and heads of international organisations from seventy-seven countries worldwide sent video messages and congratulatory letters, she said.
"At the initiative of our government, memorial sculptures, roads and parks have been named after the Father of the Nation in the capital and important cities of several countries," she said.
UNESCO has recognised the Father of the Nation's 'Historic speech on 7 March' as a World Documentary of Heritage and launched the International Prize in Creative Economics as part of his Birth Centenary celebrations, she continued.
The premier wished the overall success of all the programmes taken at the national and international levels on the occasion of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Homecoming Day.