NEW YORK: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon Bangladeshi expatriates in the United States and elsewhere to widely disseminate the country’s success stories as she addressed a reception hosted in her honour by Awami League’s US Chapter.
“Bangladesh remained in a promising position in every economic and social index and the country is now in a dignified position in the world” which needs to be highlighted abroad,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president, simultaneously urged the party leaders and activists to encourage people at home to cast their votes for the party in next general election.
“Go to your home and make publicity of our development stories . . . You have to go for intense publicity of our development works to motivate people to vote for Awami League in the next election,” she said.
A huge number of expatriate Bangladeshis apart from the party leaders and workers joined the reception at Marriot Marquis hotel ballroom late yesterday when Sheikh Hasina said “public support is the main strength of her government and people are the main inspiration of Awami League”.
Sheikh Hasina, who is now in New York to attend the 72nd UN General Assembly, said expatriate Bangladeshis always stood by her during all crises while they continued to contribute in keeping the wheel of the economy propelled.
“They (expats) contributed immensely during the Liberation War and all crucial times of the country,” she said recalling particularly their role in molding international opinion for the cause of independence in 1971 and ahead of that to Bangabandhu during the Agartala conspiracy case.
In the recent past, Sheikh Hasina said, many expatriates demonstrayted the bravery when the army took over power in 2007 and tried to prevent her return home from abroad.
“Many of you defied the red eyes of the rulers and accompanied me on my way to home at that time, she recalled.
The premier extended her thanks for their contribution for welfare of the people.
PM’s son and advisor on ICT affairs Sajeeb Wazed Joy attended the reception as the special guest while President of US chapter of Awami League Siddiqur Rahman was in the chair.
Joint secretary of US Chapter of Awami League Nizam Chowdhury, organizing secretaries Chandan Dutta and Abdur Rahim Badsha, acting president of New York Chapter Jakaria Chowdhury, general secretary Emdad Hossain, general secretary of State Awami League Shahin Azmal, president of Mohila Awami League Momtaj Shahnaj, member Rezaul Karim Chowdhury and presidents of the front organizations spoke on the occasion.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki, state minister for ICT Junaid Ahmed Palak, office secretary of Awami League Abdus Sobhan Golap, central Awami League leader Mesbah Uddin Siraj, and SM Kamal Hossain were present.
Pointing out the country’s socio economic advancement over the last eight years the prime minister said the economic development of the country during this period was unprecedented.
“We are taking forward the country on the pathway showed by Bangabandhu,” she said adding that overall poverty has come down to 22 percent over the years while economic growth entered into the 7 percent trajectory.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has attached highest importance to education as education is the only tool to make the country free from poverty.
“Digital Bangladesh is no more a dream now, it’s a reality,” she said adding country’s own satellite would be launched to space at the end of this year. She said instead of urban based development her government has attached importance to the development of the rural economy and as part of the goal every home would come under electricity coverage by 2021.
“Bangladesh would plunge in unbridled corruption and misrule if BNP comes to power again,” Sheikh Hasina said.
She said Bangladesh was liberated at the cost of huge sacrifice. Father of the Nation has suffered repression for his whole life to get the people of Bangladesh rid of subjugation and establishing the rights of the people.
She said, Bangabandhu sacrificed all happiness and desires of his life only for changing the fate of the people of Bangladesh. Banganbandhu had taken the burden of rebuilding country’s economy after independence when the country was completely devastated, reeling on acute food shortage, communication system was collapsed and the exchequer was almost empty.
Bangabandhu formulated all necessary laws and policies including the Constitution and founded most of the fundamental infrastructure within nine months of independence to build the country as a sovereign one from its previous status of a province.
No political leader could accomplish so much task within a short span of time as Bangabandhu had done. Bangabandhu had set example of rare nationalistic leader through his administrative capacity, patriotism and nationalistic spirit, she said.
As desired by Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina said, India had pulled out their all soldiers from Bangladesh within three months of independence which could be possible due to bold leadership of Bangabandhu. In contemporary history, she said, such pull out was very rare in any part of the world.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu loved his people very much and reconstructed every sector as well as all every institution with their help. Bangabandhu had considered human resources as the main strength of his country and he build up the country and every institution with the help of his countrymen.
Bangabandhu realised the recognition of independence from various countries. He also earned UN acknowledgment for independence Bangladesh within his short tenure in office. He made the Bengali language glorious by delivering speech in Bangla in the UN General Assembly.
Bangladesh’s economy also witnessed a robust growth during the tenure of Bangabandhu when the country achieved highest 7 percent economic growth. But the progress was stopped through his brutal killing. “It was very unfortunate for us losing our parents and most the family members at a time,” she said adding people cannot bear the torment of losing only one close relative. But we are one of the most unfortunates in the world who lost most of the members of the family at a time, she lamented.
Sheikh Hasina said Ziaur Rahman government didn’t allow her and her sister Sheikh Rehana to come to Bangladesh for six years. Ziaur Rahman denied renewing their passport. She thanked the Awami League leaders for electing her as the president of Awami League in 1981, which paved the way for her to come back home amidst many obstacles.
Ziaur Rahman founded the politics of conflict and confrontation in Bangladesh. He pushed the country away from the ideology of independence and spirit of the War of Liberation. But, Awami League set the country on the right track after 21 years in 1996.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy said Bangladesh’s economy is now in the second position in the world in terms of its pace. The country is in better position in food storage, power generation and other socio economic index.
Pointing out the country’s challenge of Rohingya exodus he said it’s a matter of great pleasure and confidence that Bangladesh have attained capacity to stand beside the people of a neighbouring country during their needs.
“Bangladesh would be able to overcome the challenge,” he said.
Joy said Bangladesh would go ahead as long as Sheikh Hasina will remain in power and “so Bangladeshi people should keep Sheikh Hasina in power for more time”.