Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday vowed to work as long as she is alive to materialise the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to establish a Sonar Bangladesh.
"I have nothing to get for my personal gains; rather the aim of my life is to materialise the ideals of Bangabandhu based on which he had run the country," she said while speaking at a discussion arranged by the UK chapter of Awami League in London.
Recalling her bitter experience after her return from exile following the August 15 massacre in 1975, Sheikh Hasina said she returned home alone losing all of her near and dear ones on that black night.
Highlighting various successes of the present government, she said Awami League has a policy and idealism to develop and advance the country.
Taking a swipe at BNP, the Prime Minister said it turned Bangladesh into a country of food deficit while in power during the 2001-2006 period.
The Awami League chief also elaborated massive destructive activities of the BNP-led government.
She said BNP leaders had indulged in unbridled corruption, money-laundering and looting of orphan money while its activists in burning people to death, terrorism and militancy as well as killing and torturing the AL leaders and workers.
At the beginning of her speech, Sheikh Hasina prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the Father of the Nation and other martyred members of her family as well as the martyred four national leaders.
The prime minister was addressing a huge community gathering, organized at the famous Central Hall at the heart of London in Westminster this afternoon (local time).
Marking the 44th martyrdom anniversary of the Father of the Nation and the National Mourning Day, UK Awami League organized the community event.
Sheikh Hasina said that she would be working till her final breath for realising the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“I have no fear of death for working to make Bangladesh a prosperous country as Bangabandhu once dreamt of. I vowed to work until my last breath to realise the unfulfilled dream of the Father of the Nation,” she said.
Amid pin-drop silence from her full-house audience, Sheikh Hasina started her speech recalling in tears the brutal killing of her father, mother and other family members on August 15, 1975.
She said the killers of Bangabandhu were not brought to justice, instead they were rewarded by General Ziaur Rahman in not only giving them indemnity, but by inducting them into the Foreign Ministry and appointing them as diplomats representing Bangladesh.
The prime minister recalled the contributions of expatriate Bangladeshis to the country's economic development as well as their role in different democratic movements.
Sheikh Hasina urged the expatriate Bangladeshis to invest in a bigger way to help establish a developed and prosperous nation.
"We are establishing 100 economic zones in the country for more industrialisation and employment ... you can set up mills and factories in these zones by taking advantage of the country's investment-friendly environment," she said.
Highlighting her government's various steps for developing the country, the prime minister said her government has already brought down poverty rate to 21 percent from 41 percent.
"We want to cut the rate further. We want not a single person to remain homeless, hungry and without healthcare," she said.
Spelling out her government's tremendous success in different sectors including agriculture, education, health and energy, the prime minister said the country is marching towards development and prosperity due to continuation of democracy.
Referring to the December 30 general elections, Sheikh Hasina said the BNP suffered a debacle in the polls as the party was not sincere in the elections.
"BNP wanted to make the polls questionable and they did nomination trade by giving 5/6 candidates from a single seat," she said.
Mentioning the BNP-Jamaat mayhem from 2013-2015 to overthrow the government and resist elections, Sheikh Hasina said they killed and injured a huge number of people through arson attacks.
"Even the women and children were not spared from them," she said.
At the outset of her speech, Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage, as well as four slain national leaders.
Recalling the dark days after her return from exile following the 15th August tragedy, Sheikh Hasina said she came back home after losing all her near and dear ones on that black night.
In this regard, the prime minister mentioned that after returning, she had observed the anniversary of the martyrdom of the great leader Bangabandhu by risking her life.
Sheikh Hasina said that attempts on her life were made time and again after her return from exile.
Referring to recent dengue outbreak in Bangladesh, the prime minister said apart from the administration, party workers have been involved in the cleaning operation for managing dengue.
She also referred to the recent rumor about milk standard in Bangladesh and said that the rumor was proved baseless through proper test overseas.
“We should remain cautious about such propaganda for keeping the progress of Bangladesh unhindered,” Sheikh Hasina said.
Veteran journalist Abdul Gaffar Chaudhury also addressed the programme, presided over by UK Awami League President Sultan Mahmud Sharif.
Among others present on the dais were AL Presidium Member and former commerce minister Muhammad Faruk Khan and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.
UK Awami League Secretary Syed Sajidur Rahman conducted the programme.
At the beginning of the programme, a minute's silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Bangabandhu and other martyrs of the August 15 massacre.
Bangladeshi expatriates of different ages and backgrounds started to gather at the venue in groups hours before the event. Wearing black badges, they came from different cities and towns of the United Kingdom and various European countries.