We are set to celebrate our Victory Day today.
The question is: Is it the same, or is there a difference? The answer is the latter, because we have moved forward in 45 years, and especially since 2009, when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took over power for the second time as the country’s prime minister.
When I say this, many will quickly draw a conclusion, saying I will say so because I am a government official at the moment and always an “Awami journalist.”
I challenge them.
There are too many reasons to say this, and I celebrate this Victory Day with some triumph. In the West, the celebration would entail a champagne toast and sharing sweets with friends and family to pay homage to the freedom fighters, martyrs, and our great Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangabandhu gave us Bangladesh, and his successful daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given me a good reason to celebrate this Victory Day differently.
The latest achievement has been the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit, which included 27 deals and Memoranda of Understanding worth $13.6 billion -- it gives new impetus to bilateral ties with a powerhouse, and also to our economy.
With India watching, Xi said, during his visit, ties with Dhaka were being elevated from a “comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a strategic partnership of cooperation.”
One analyst wrote: “It appears Prime Minister Hasina is poised to reap the benefit of the friendships of both India and China.” And that is the leadership of a true statesman.
I have written earlier about her diplomatic wizardry, but today I would like to add that it was wonderful to see how she made news by staying away from the SAARC summit in Islamabad.
Later, when she arrived in Goa, anybody could notice her body language -- a proud and confident leader arriving for a meaningful dialogue with India and others that matter.
In other news, the World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim came calling after being snubbed over Padma Bridge financing. He has praised Bangladesh for dealing with poverty, and the tense relations between the global financier and Bangladesh came to an end with Jim’s visit, which is by any means a victory for Bangladesh.
In recent years, Bangladesh’s economy has made us proud with growth estimated at over 7%. Today, the country’s economy stands at about $180bn
In recent years, Bangladesh’s economy has made us proud with growth estimated at over 7%. Today, the country’s economy stands at about $180bn, and according to the World Bank, that will rise to $322bn by 2021.
The garment exports are likely to hit $27bn this year, 10% more than 2015.
Prime Minister’s ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed says: “The bottom line is that Bangladesh is a legitimate, if under-reported, economic success story, and one that is only at its beginning.”
Sheikh Hasina has won many international awards, and I feel she stands to get the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? She ended the strife in the Chittagong Hill Tracts like Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who helped negotiate a peace accord with communist guerillas (FARC) to end 50 years of civil war. She has ended political violence in the name of democracy, and stabilised Bangladesh.
She has handled radical Islamist terrorism with an iron hand that has drawn international recognition. Look at the project called “Digital Bangladesh” connecting Bangladesh’s remotest village to the globe.
The list goes on.
Congratulations to Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, congratulations to all Bangladeshis, and congratulations to all those who stand with us to make the vision for 2041 a reality.
Nadeem Qadir is the Press Minister of the Bangladesh High Commission in London.