Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has extended her greetings and warm felicitations to the country’s people on the occasion of the 53rd Victory and National Day.
“I extend my heartfelt greetings and congratulations to the countrymen on the occasion of the month of victory. I recall with deep gratitude the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” the premier said in a message issued here yesterday.
“Yesterday is the 16th of December, our great Victory Day. This is one of the most glorious days in the national life of Bangalees. Bangladesh has completed 52 years since her victory. Responding to the clari-on call of the greatest Bangalee of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Bangalee nation achieved ultimate victory on this day in 1971 after 23 years of intense political struggle and 9 months of blood-shedding War of Liberation,” she said.
The premier paid her tributes to four national leaders, three million martyrs, two hundred thousand dis-honoured women of the War of Liberation, and the greatest sons of the soil – the Freedom Fighters – whose supreme sacrifices gifted us an independent, sovereign Bangladesh.
She recalled with gratitude those foreign states and friends who had extended their support during the Liberation War.
Under the undaunted leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the Bangalee nation got prepared for independence through the Language Movement of 1948-’52, the Education Movement of 1962, the Six- Point Demand of 1966, the Eleven-Point Movement, and the Mass Upsurge of 1969, she said.
The Awami League secured an absolute majority in Pakistan in the general elections of 1970, she said, adding that however, Pakistanis did not allow the Bangalee nation to assume power.
The Father of the Nation realized that the oppression, persecution, and deprivation meted out to the Ban-galee nation would not be ended without achieving independence, she said.
Accordingly, on the historic 7 March of 1971, in front of a million people at the then Race Course Mai-dan firmly pronounced, ‘The struggle this time is a struggle for our emancipation, the struggle this time is a struggle for independence, she said, quoting Bangabandhu.
At the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, a country-wide non-cooperation movement began, she said.
Preparation for waging an armed struggle also continued, she said, adding that on the fateful night of March 25 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces launched a brutal onslaught and committed genocide on the innocent and unarmed Bangalees.
In the early hours of March 26, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib declared the independence of Bangladesh, she said, adding that the formal War of Independence started.
The first government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the President, Syed Nazrul Islam as the Vice President and Tajuddin Ahmad as the Prime Minister, was sworn in on April 17 at the historic Mujibnagar, she said.
Under the guidance of the Mujibnagar government, the valiant freedom fighters earned their ultimate victory on December 16 by defeating Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators, Razakar, Al Badr, and Al Shams, she added.
In just three and a half years of his government, the Father of the Nation rebuilt the war-ravaged coun-try, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that destroyed roads, bridges, culverts, railways, and ports were rebuilt to revive the economy.
“In just 10 months, our constitution was drafted on the basis of the spirit of the Liberation War under his direction. In 1975, the GDP growth rate exceeded 9 percent. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib turned war-ravaged Bangladesh into a ‘least developed’ country,” she continued.
While Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was advancing to build an exploitation-deprivation-free, non- com-munal democratic ‘Sonar Bangla’ overcoming all obstacles, the anti-liberation forces brutally killed him along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975, she mentioned.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the development and progress of Bangladesh came to a halt, she said.
The politics of killing, coups, and conspiracy started, the premier said, adding that the assassins and their accomplices promulgated the ‘Indemnity Ordinance’ to block the trial of this heinous murder in history.
After getting the public mandate in 1996, the Bangladesh Awami League formed the government after 21 years, she said.
“No one in Bangladesh will be left homeless. Cent percent of people have been brought under electricity coverage. Per capita income has increased to US$ 2,765 now from US$ 543 in 2005-06. We have made impressive progress in every sector of the country. Bangladesh is now a ‘role model’ in every field of socio-economic development, including agriculture, education, health, communication, information technology, industry, trade and commerce,” the premier said.
She said Bangladesh has received the final approval of the United Nations to graduate from a least de-veloped country to a dignified ‘developing’ nation.
“Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib elevated Bangladesh to a ‘least developed’ country, and we took the mother-land to the row of a ‘developing’ state on the auspicious occasion of ‘Mujib Year’ and the Golden Jubilee of our victory. Everything we have achieved in the last 52 years since our independence has been at-tained by the Father of the Nation and the Awami League,” she said.
“I firmly believe that if this trend of development continues, Bangladesh will be established as a hunger-poverty-free and developed-prosperous country by 2041, as dreamt by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, In-shaAllah,” she hoped.
“To make this achievement meaningful, we have to know and let people know about the Greatest Hero of Independence, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, and the War of Liberation. We will convey the spirit of the great liberation war from generation to generation; let this be our pledge on this victory day,” she added.