Bangladesh takes pride for marvelous social & economic growth says envoy
Naveed Ahmad Khan Photo by Raja Farid
ISLAMABAD: To celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the independence and National Day of Bangladesh, High Commissioner H.E.Mr.Md.Ruhul Alam Siddique & Mrs. Shamshad Ara Khanam hosted a reception here at a hotel in Islamabad. The event was attended in large numbers by diplomats, officers from the armed forces of the diplomatic corps as well as Pakistan, Bangladeshis residing in the country and Pakistanis from different walks of life.
Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood was the Chief Guest and Guest of honor. Federal Minister for Energy & Power Engr.Khurram Dastagir Khan, Convener, Parliamentary Friendship Group for Bangladesh in Senate of Pakistan, Senator Taj Haider, Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk, Convener, Parliamentary Friendship Group for Bangladesh in National Assembly of Pakistan and Ms. Shazia Jannat Marri, Federal Minister for Benazir Income Support Programme and The Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Pakistan and Dean of Diplomatic Corps H.E. Mr. Atadjan Movlamov was also present on the occasion.
The guest of honor and other persons, including envoys of the SAARC region were also invited to share the stage.
Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood on behalf of the Pakistan government, offered his heartiest congratulations to the people and government of Bangladesh.
Addressing the event, he said Pakistan and Bangladesh share a common history, culture and geography, which play an important role in shaping the deep ties between both countries.
“We have always valued the bond of brotherhood that unites our people, and we are determined to take it to new heights,” he added.
Senator Talha said it was gratifying that there had been significant improvement in the mutual relations between the two countries in recent years. “We should continue working to further improve our relations in the future,” he said.
He stressed there were immense possibilities of cooperation between Pakistan and Bangladesh in various fields including trade, culture, and people-to-people contact.
He said, “We must use all avenues to strengthen the ties and enhance cooperation for the mutual benefit of people.”
The High Commissioner of Bangladesh H. E. Md.Ruhul Alam Siddique spoke of his country’s progress – the fastest growing economy; bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh and the interaction that takes place between the two countries on different levels.
In his response the chief guest wished the government of Bangladesh and its people on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan and also mentioned the bilateral and cultural ties between the two countries which continue to improve.
In his speech, he said “In the early hours of 26 March 1971, the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Independence of a new nation called Bangladesh. On this auspicious occasion, I recall him with great reverence and profound respect. I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the valiant freedom fighters who made supreme sacrifice by embracing martyrdom in the War of Liberation in 1971. I also humbly recall all Bangalee men and women who made huge sacrifices and endured endless miseries during the War”.
Excellency further said that This year, we celebrating the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh. Celebrations of the independence of Bangladesh during the last couple of years were especially significant as we celebrated three major occasions. We celebrated the 100th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; we celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh and we celebrated the confirmation of Bangladesh’s graduation from a least developed country to a developing country.
About the journey of Bangladesh, he said until now it was not a smooth sail as you are aware, Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation after a nine-month devastating War. The amount of losses due to the War were enormous in public capital assets, agriculture, trade etc. Additionally, the loss due to the death of humans, destruction of private houses and psychological trauma was immeasurable. As such, I would say, the beginning of the journey of Bangladesh was not started from zero but from minus.
The High Commissioner said that faced with huge odds, obstacles and challenges, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took the helm of the country in January 1972 and steered it towards the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the economy. However, the journey did continue for a long time. With the brutal assassination of him in August 1975, the journey was stalled.
The able daughter of the Father of the Nation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office for five years in 1996 and re-embarked on the journey of Bangladesh towards development. She again became the Prime Minister in 2009, and is presently serving the fourth term.
Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in socio-economic sectors and it has been transformed into one of the vibrant economies of the world. Bangladesh is now a knowledge-based middle income country. During the last fifty-year per capita income increased 30 times from merely 94 US Dollars in 1972 to 2824 US Dollars, foreign currency reserves rose to 35 billion US dollars from almost zero in 1972 and life expectancy increased to 72 years from 47 years after independence. During the last 14 years, Bangladesh has registered around 7 percent GDP growth. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, GDP growth was 6.94% during last year. We have achieved self-sufficiency in food grain. Bangladesh has made laudable achievements in women empowerment, access to education, maternal and child health, application of information technology and tackling the risks of climate change. It has achieved almost all the Millennium Development Goals and is on the right track in meeting the targets of Sustainable Development Goals.
He said at this moment, when the world economy is in downturn, Bangladesh is marching ahead to achieve the next goal “Vision 2041” that is a “Smart Bangladesh”, a high income country with smart citizens, smart economy, smart government and smart society by 2041.
He added Bangladesh has also set an example of humanity by allowing to enter into and hosting over 1.2 million forcibly displaced distressed Myanmar nationals, the Rohingyas inside its territory. I take this opportunity to call upon the people and the government of Pakistan as well as the world community to come forward for the resolution of the humanitarian crisis through convincing the Myanmar authorities to create conducive conditions in Rakhaine State for the voluntary return of these people to their homes.
The High Commissioner said that the cardinal principle of Bangladesh Foreign Policy “Friendship with all and malice towards none” was enunciated by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Guided by this principle, Bangladesh continues to play its role in global peace, security and stability. Bangladesh is an important country in the peacekeeping and peace building initiatives of the United Nations. As part of this role, Bangladesh has been one of the top peace-keeper contributing countries in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations for the last three decades.
Excellency said Bangladesh and Pakistan enjoy a unique relationship based on shared history and commonality of faith and culture. The relationship is rooted in the common desire for realizing the goals of regional peace, stability and socio-economic progress of the peoples of the two countries. I am happy to share that during FY2021-22, the bilateral trade between the two countries has grown over 45 percent. Although this trend has slowed down during this Fiscal year ending June 2023 due to the global economic downturn, I am hopeful that it will soon revert back to its upward trend. This has been encouraging development and I hope that this trend in the bilateral trade between the two countries will continue in the days ahead.
He concluded the speech by wishing the peoples of Bangladesh and Pakistan continued peace, progress and prosperity. Long live Bangladesh Pakistan Friendship,Joy Bangla
Before dinner, a cake cutting ceremony was also held .Dinner with some Bangladeshi specialties was served for participants. As someone remarked, it is people to people contacts which make good relations between countries even better and such events make real difference.