Bangladesh High Commission in London observed the 45th Martyrdom Anniversary of Bangabandhu and the National Mourning Day when participants including British ministers and members of parliament (MPs) paid their profound homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury has said Bangladesh would have achieved higher growth much earlier if Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were alive.
However, he said, Bangabandhu's killing could not deter the progress of Bangladesh as his visionary daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the country to an unprecedented height of development.
“Now, Bangladesh has many success stories to tell globally, particularly the stories of faster growth and prosperity, led by our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said while addressing a webinar on Saturday.
The minister expressed hope that Bangladesh and the UK would be celebrating the 50th year of diplomatic relations in 2021, with high-level visits taking place between the two countries, said the High Commission on Sunday.
Bangladesh High Commission in London observed the 45th Martyrdom Anniversary of Bangabandhu and the National Mourning Day when participants including British ministers and members of parliament (MPs) paid their profound homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Chaired by Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland, Saida Muna Tasneem, Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury was the chief guest at the commemorating discussion where panelists were from the UK, Austria and Bangladesh.
Political Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister HT Imam and UK Minister for London and Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Paul Scully were the guests of honour at the program.
Chair of the UK Labour Party Angela Rayner and British MP and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and the UK's Trade Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali joined the webinar as special guests.
Besides, eminent journalist Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, leading organizers of Bangladesh War of Independence in the UK Sultan Mahmud Shariff and British-Bangladeshi community leader Syed Sajidur Rahman Faruk participated in the event as the special guests.
A large number of expatriate Bangladeshis from the UK, Ireland and EU countries joined the webinar and paid their tribute to the Father of the Nation and the martyrs of August 15 tragedy.
HT Imam termed Bangabandhu as an unmatched world leader saying that he made us feel taller.
He said Bangabandhu could not materialize his vision, but fortunately his daughter embodies the vision to make Bangladesh “Sonar Bangla”.
The adviser mentioned that Bangladesh and the UK always enjoy very special relations, which will go strength to strength in the post-Covid era under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Paying the highest tribute to Bangabandhu, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said the 45th anniversary of Bangabandhu's martyrdom bears a specially significance this year as it takes place during the birth centenary year of the Bangabandhu and at the advent of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence in 2021, the two most unique milestones in the history of Bengali Nation.
Recalling Bangabandhu's pioneering role in building a progressive, inclusive, democratic and secular value-based friendship with the UK in 1972, the High Commissioner said the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-UK diplomatic relation would be celebrating in 2021.
The High Commissioner also said Bangabandhu's able and visionary daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina continues to boldly carry forward the mantle of her father’s unfulfilled aspirations for a prosperous ‘Golden Bengal’.
‘Bangabandhu a great leader of Asia’
Minister Paul Scully paid rich tribute to Bangabandhu and expressed solidarity with the people of Bangladesh in observing the National Mourning Day.
Recalling Bangabandhu’s close relations with Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, he said Bangabandhu’s relation transcended UK party politics and cuts across both labour and conservative parties.
Praising the nation-building activities of Bangabandhu during his only three and a half years in power, the UK minister also lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her tremendous success in the socio-economic fronts that the world saw in the past decade.
Labour Party Chair Angela Rayner, who represented Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer at the meeting, paid special tribute to Bangabandhu on behalf of her party and termed Bangabandhu a great leader of Asia.
She recalled the close and informal relation between Sir Harold Wilson and Bangabandhu, mentioning that Sir Wilson mourned Bangabandhu’s death as his personal loss.
Rushanara Ali said August 15 is not only a day for mourning but also a day to learn from the life of Bangabandhu and the struggle and sacrifice that he made to create an independent country, Bangladesh.
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury underscored the importance of upholding the values and ideals of Bangabandhu institutionally so the young generation follows his footsteps.
At the program, a family friend of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, Professor Dr Shaheed Hossain, participated in the webinar from Vienna to talk about how the two daughters of Bangabandhu were protected in foreign countries after killing of the Father of the Nation.
Another close friend and neighbour of Bangabandhu's family Nawaz Ahmed described his terrible memory of the fateful night of 15 August. BBC Bangla Chief Sabir Mustafa shared his memorable experience about the listeners' survey conducted by BBC in 2004 where Bangabandhu was nominated the “Greatest Bengali of All Time”.
The program began with one-minute solemn silence followed by recitation of the Holy Qur'an and three other holy books and special prayer (munajat) for the peace and salvation of the departed souls of Bangabandhu and his family members.
A video documentary on the life and works of Bangabandhu was also screened at the program.
The high commissioner along with the land minister unwrapped the special edition of the international magazine Asian Affairs dedicated to Bangabandhu, marking his birth centenary.
A floral wreath was placed at the portrait of Bangabandhu by the high commissioner along with the land minister and the officers of the High Commission.
Earlier in the morning, the national flag was hoisted half-mast by Ambassador Saida Muna Tasneem and the messages marking the day given by president, prime minister, foreign minister and state minister for foreign affairs were read out to the audience.
Officers and staff members of the High Commission including Deputy High Commissioner Muhammad Zulqar Nain, Minister (Consular) Md Lutful Hasan, Defence Adviser Brig. Gen. Md Mahbubur Rashid, Minister (Press) Ashequn Nabi Chowdhury, Minister (Political) A F M Zahidul Islam, Commercial Counsellor S M Jakaria Huq, Counsellor (Political) Dewan Mahmudul Haque, Counsellor & Head of Chancery Swadipta Alam, Assistant Defence Adviser Lieutenant Colonel Sohel Ahmed, First Secretary (Passport & Visa) A F M Fazle Rabbi, First Secretary (Political) Mahfuza Sultana, First Secretary (Political) A K M Monirul Hoque and Attachè (Consular) H M Faisal Ahmed were present on the occasion.