Ever since Bangladesh came into being as an independent nation through a pool of blood shed by millions of Martyrs during the War of Liberation in 1971 was lagging behind owing to lack of proper development plan and initiatives. Though the first Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the nation, had started building the war ravaged country, he had not been allowed to fulfil his great initiative of nation- building work as he was assassinated by the country’s enemies who had taken active part in unleashing genocide in Bangladesh in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation army during the War of Liberation.
After the tragic assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib in 1975, the country went under the military rule. The values and ideals, achieved through the War of Liberation, upon which the independent Bangladesh was founded, were lost and the country was returned to Pakistani style of rule. The consecutive military governments had destroyed the country’s development programmes initiated by the government of the Bangabandhu in 1972. And the pro-military governments were also deliberately keeping Bangladesh poor in the hope that the poor status of the country would help garner foreign grants and aids which were detrimental to making Bangladesh economically self-reliant and establishing the nation on a solid foundation of prestige. No economic progress was made for about forty years since independence. The country was running as the poorest one with the stigma of the most corrupt nation with no hope for the future.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel when Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, came to power in 1996. Like his father Bangabandhu, who had sacrificed his life for the freedom and economic emancipation of the common people, Sheikh Hasina made relentless effort to make Bangladesh an economically prosperous, socially developed and technologically advanced one. During her five- year tenure from 1996 to 2001 she had initiated quite a good many plans to develop the nation, but in 2001 general Zia’s widow took over power and destroyed the entire development programs taken by Sheikh Hasina. It is known to all that after Khaleda Zia, the government backed by army took over power which brought back the country to the most vulnerable condition.
Thanks to the people of Bangladesh, who had given a tremendous support to the development plans of Awami League president Sheikh Hasina and voted her with an overwhelming majority to power. Since then Sheikh Hasina didn’t look behind and had undertaken a massive development projects.
Bangladesh is now on a development highway. The pace of economic progress is getting increasingly faster. The world is amazed at the faster progress of Bangladesh and the rich countries are increasingly being attracted to invest in Bangladesh. There is a competition among the economic super powers and the countries on the road to be super powers soon are keen to invest in Bangladesh. During the recent visit of Sheikh Hasina to the USA the IMF chief met her and said Sheikh Hasina’s policies and performance are needed for Bangladesh. Profound accolade and support are pouring in from around the world. Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has become indispensable for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has long been facing the challenges of fighting Islamic extremists who hit Bangladesh hard. Other social challenges of unprecedented nature have been met by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a very capable way.
Under the directives of Sheikh Hasina our army and its special forces, which were assigned to fight the terror, have curbed the extremists after the Holey Artisan incident which created a global concern and was the most sensational terror act in the history of Bangladesh. And due to the iron- fist determination of Sheikh Hasina another incident like Holey Artisan could not happen. Bangladesh can say that there would be no such incident in future if a leadership like that of Sheikh Hasina is in the command.
It is a dedication. It is a total dedication towards the nation and its people. Not caring for her personal comfort, she is working day and night. She is thinking very high and working very hard with a view to achieving her set target – the real economic emancipation and social development of the nation. She dreams how to improve the quality of life of the people with the resources she has at her disposal.
In her forward march she is facing untold barriers created by some vested quarters, who have always been finding faults with her. Facing all odds and obstacles set before her by the anti-liberation and anti-social forces, Sheikh Hasina, the architect of modern Bangladesh, is moving ahead with her mission and vision of turning this country into her father’s cherished dream of Golden Bengal. In a bid to making Bangladesh economically prosperous, socially developed and technologically advanced, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has undertaken a massive development programme for the well-being of the masses, who had long remained under-privileged. The government under Sheikh Hasina has short, medium and long term programmes aimed at achieving the expected goals. Unprecedented growth of energy and infrastructure in the recent past is quite visible and a confidence building initiative because of her dynamic leadership Bangladesh has been developing rapidly in all major economic, social and human development indicators. As a result, Bangladesh is being termed a ‘development role model’ for all developing nations. The world is also noticing Bangladesh’s progress and the leadership behind such successes. As a statesman, Sheikh Hasina left her mark on the international scene during her first tenure as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh between 1996 and 2001. Since being elected the head of government in 2009, she has drawn the attention of major world leaders and international organizations with her pragmatic policies and programme at home and regional and international stages.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has been able to touch major diplomatic and international milestones for the country. Some of these achievements include:
Ganges Water Sharing Treaty on December 12, 1996 in the Indian capital of New Delhi. A comprehensive bilateral treaty was signed by the then Indian Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina regarding the sharing of Ganges River water. The treaty established a 30-year water-sharing arrangement and recognized Bangladesh’s rights as a lower-level riparian country. This was a successful bilateral diplomatic move as the issue had remained pending since 1982 for almost 14 years.
Land Boundary Agreement with India, a longstanding border issue in the world was brought to a successful resolution in 2015 through the signing and implementation of the ‘Land Boundary Agreement’ (LBA) between Bangladesh and India. The most important thing to be taken into consideration here is that all the lawmakers in both the Houses of India overwhelmingly voted to pass that landmark bill. Not a single vote was cast against the bill and it was an unprecedented diplomatic success of Sheikh Hasina. With the victory of Maritime Boundary case in the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2015, Bangladesh settled its longstanding maritime boundary dispute with India, and in the process secured 19,467 square kilometers out of 25,602 sq kms disputed area in the Bay of Bengal. In 2012, Bangladesh successfully argued its case at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany, which gave its judgment on the maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar. As a result, Bangladesh received an additional 111,000 square kilometers of new marine area. This successful strategy of using international institutions for resolving bilateral disputes was the brainchild of Sheikh Hasina.
Launching of Bangabandhu Satellite was a major breakthrough in the field of IT sector and making digital Bangladesh programmes a success. And it was announced that the Bangabandhu Sattelite-2 would be launched after the completion of the Bangabandhu Sattelite-1
It is a forward march of a nation which has lost a vast number of opportunities in the past. The people of Bangladesh have started believing that with a competent leadership they can go miles to achieve a new and better life where there would be no want, social unrest and anxiety. They now believe that they will be enjoying a happy and prosperous life under their beloved leader Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh won its sea boundary dispute with India and Myanmar under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It is Sheikh Hasina who dared to go for launching the Bangabandhu Satellite into space. And it is only Sheikh Hasina who dared to challenge the World Bank. So, people should keep that in mind when they try to criticize her.
It is understandable that some critics are deliberately trying to create confusion among the people. But it never worked in the past nor will it do in future. People are now well informed, enlightened and they are conscious enough.
Since independence, a lot of time has elapsed in the debate for and against pro-liberation and anti-liberation forces. We have no time to waste any further. We need time- befitting decisions to go ahead with the program we have on hand for building a better future for the posterity.