Colombo, March 17: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed optimism about his upcoming Dhaka visit which will enable him to join celebration of birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
During the visit, which begins on March 19, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will sign MoUs on education, health and agriculture.
Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Tweeted: “Looking forward to my visit to #Bangladesh from 19-20 March, on the invitation of PM Sheikh Hasina to participate in the celebration of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh. A number of #MoUs will be signed during the visit, pertaining to sectors such as agriculture, technical edu, health & cultural coop. @MoH_SriLanka has approved the state visit to #Bangladesh as a Bio Secure Travel Bubble adhering to strict #Covid_19 preventive measures.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said there is no chance for Bangladesh to look back as it is time to march forward.
“Overcoming all the obstacles, we shall establish this country as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s exploitation-deprivation-free, hunger-poverty-illiteracy-free, non-communal Golden Bangladesh,” she said.
The Prime Minister was delivering her speech as the chair of Inauguration Ceremony of 10-day long Mujib Year and Golden Jubilee of Independence at the National Parade Square.
It is not so easy to lower the position that Bangladesh has reached, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that an excellent example of this is that the country has been able to successfully calm down the destructive waves of coronavirus pandemic. “But we have to be very careful.”
The Prime Minister cautioned that anti-Bangladesh forces are still active at home and abroad and they want to disparage this achievement through various malpractices.
“On this happy birthday of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, let’s unitedly resist all the evil-sprouts and take the beloved motherland towards the path of development and progress,” she said.
Hasina said the wait for the economic emancipation of the people of Bangladesh is coming to an end when the country is going to celebrate the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of Independence at a particular time when Bangladesh has received the final recommendation to join the dignified group of Developing Nations from the list of the Least Developed Countries in the world.
She mentioned that the per capita income in Bangladesh has exceeded the respectable limit of US$2000, while the poverty rate has declined below 20.5 percent, and the country has become self-sufficient in food grain production. The average life expectancy has increased to 73 years.
“Bangladesh has made tremendous strides in the socio-economic index. Today’s achievement is the result of the relentless efforts of the last 12 years of the Bangladesh Awami League in government and the tireless labor of people,” she said.
Recalling the long struggle of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for the Independent Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said, “Our freedom is the fruit of the success of the continuous struggle for the status of mother language started by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib on March 11, 1948 with the ultimate target of political-economic and cultural emancipation of the Bangali.”
She said it was a war-ravaged country, which was under the hundreds of years of subjugation. In just three and a half years, he carried out the mammoth task of building a full-fledged sovereign state where people had been suffering from exploitation, deprivation, hunger, and poverty.
“Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had done everything from the impossible,” Hasina said.
She expressed her gratitude to all the friendly countries and leaders who extended necessary help during the great liberation war, the struggles for freedom, and the post-war reconstruction of the country.
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had so many dreams. He envisioned building Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous ‘Golden Bangladesh’. But the cruel bullets of the killers snatched him from us on 15 August 1975,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in Tungipara on March 17, 1920. He illuminated the life of the Bangali community and brought freedom for them.
She said Bangladesh celebrate March 17 every year as National Children’s Day.
“On the other hand,” she said, “March 26 is our Independence Day. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of our independence. We’re celebrating Mujib Year and the Golden Jubilee of independence simultaneously.”
With the theme ‘Mujib Chirantan’ in mind, Sheikh Hasina said, “We’ve undertaken special programmes at home and abroad from March 17 to March 26 this year.”
“Today is its inauguration. However, we’ll continue to celebrate the festival till December 16, 2021 as it is our Great Victory Day. Colourful arrangements have been made for various programs.”
She paid deep homage to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the four national leaders of the liberation war, 3 million martyrs, and 200 thousand dishonoured mothers-sisters and saluted the valiant freedom fighters.
She remembered with deep grief her mother Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, three brothers — freedom fighter Captain Sheikh Kamal, freedom fighter Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and ten-year-old Sheikh Russell, who was brutally assassinated by the killers on August 15, 1975 including two sisters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosie Jamal, uncle Sheikh Abu Nasser and all the martyrs of that night.
She expressed her sincere gratitude to President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Salih for attending the inaugural programme.
Sheikh Hasina, on behalf of the people of Bangladesh and herself, expressed gratitude and thanks to Chinese President China Xi Jinping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for sending greetings to the people of Bangladesh on this occasion.