Bangladesh celebrating 53 years of independence from Pakistan, remembering martyrs

The president and the prime minister call for efforts to achieve the desired goal of independence

Published : 25 March 2024, 08:01 PM
Updated : 25 March 2024, 08:01 PM

Bangladesh is celebrating 53 years of independence and paying tribute to the victims of the genocide unleashed by the Pakistan Army at the start of the 1971 War, which led to the liberation of the Bengali people from the occupying forces. 

The day will be heralded with 31-gun salutes at dawn on Tuesday, with programmes throughout to remember the martyrs. 

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the tributes to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar.  

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema have arrived in Dhaka to join the celebrations. 

The British quit the Indian subcontinent in 1947, but the people of Bengali-dominated East Pakistan were left shackled by West Pakistan rulers’ oppression for decades before Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the Bengalis to independence in 1971. 

As the Bengalis were preparing for an armed struggle after he called for independence in his historic March 7 speech in 1971, the Pakistani forces swooped down on innocent civilians in one of the most horrific genocides in world history on the night of Mar 25 that year. 

Before being arrested by the Pakistani forces, Bangabandhu formally declared independence on Mar 26. 

Bangladesh finally defeated the Pakistani forces on Dec 16 that year and Bangabandhu returned home on Jan 10, 1972, ushering in fully fledged celebrations, but three million lives were already lost in the war. 

Bangabandhu was assassinated in the massacre of his family three and a half years later after he laid the foundation for development while rebuilding the war-torn nation. 

Decades after the country’s journey backwards during military rule, the Awami League returned to power with Bangabandhu’s daughter Hasina at the helm, taking the charge to sail the nation towards the path of development. 

Shahabuddin and Hasina greeted the nation on the occasion of Independence Day. 

In a message, Shahabuddin said people-oriented and sustainable development, good governance, social justice, transparency and accountability must be ensured in the country in order to achieve the desired goal of independence. 

In her address to the nation on eve of the day, Hasina highlighted the government’s efforts to build a developed Bangladesh. 

“Our goal is to take Bangladesh further forward as a developed and prosperous, smart country by 2041. That Bangladesh will be the Golden Bangladesh, free from hunger, poverty and communalism as dreamt by Bangabandhu.” 

Addressing the nation, she said, "On this Independence Day, let's break the barriers of all intrigues and conspiracies and move the development and progress of Bangladesh forward."