Dhaka – Bangladesh’s oldest political party Awami League has been celebrating 68th founding anniversary with its leaders paying respect to its founders.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the party, paid homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the founders of the party and Bangladesh’s independence architect, by placing wreaths at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial at Dhanmondi in Dhaka on Friday.
Hasina first placed a wreath as the prime minister at the portrait of Bangabandhu and stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the slain Bangladeshi leader.
She also placed flower along with the ruling party leaders as president of the party which was founded on June 23, 1949 at “Rose Garden” on K M Das Lane in Dhaka.
On the occasion of the anniversary, the prime minister, in a statement, greeted the people assuring them that her party would always stand by them as before.
Hasina recalled the contribution of Bangabandhu and other founding leaders of the party including founding president Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and general secretary Shamsul Haque, and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
“Awami League has a glorious role in every major achievement of the nation. Insha Allah (God willing), it will remain beside the people in future too, and turn the country into Sonar Bangla as envisioned by Father of the Nation,” she said.
She said the unflinching dedication of the party’s succeeding leaders and workers over the decades turned Awami League into a huge organization of mass people.
The history of the AL is closely linked with the people’s struggle for realizing their rights.
“The Language Movement in 1952, Jukta Front election in 1954, the anti-Ayub movement in 1962, restoration of peace after riots in 1964, six-point demand movement in 1966 and the mass upsurge in 1969- all took place under the leadership of the AL,” she said.
In the general elections of 1970, the people of Bangladesh gave an absolute majority to the Awami League and in continuation Bangabandhu on March 7, 1971 declared that “The struggle now is for freedom, for independence,” the Prime Minister mentioned.
She continued that on the Black Night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces swooped on the people and arrested Bangabandhu. Before his arrest, Bangabandhu had declared the country’s independence using the then EPR wireless.
The country achieved independence on December 16, 1971 following the Liberation War conducted under the AL government formed in Mujibnagar on April 17.
After independence when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was busy building the nation, the assassins killed Bangabandhu along with his family on the fateful night of August 15 in 1975.
Subsequently on November 3, 1975 the four national leaders were killed in prison to make Awami League leaderless.
Hasina said there were national and international conspiracies to destroy the AL, but those did not succeed.
After a long struggle to establish democracy, the AL returned to power in 1996. Then the AL ran the country successfully from 1996 to 2001 and this period was the ‘golden era’ in the history of the nation.
The AL government turned food-deficit Bangladesh into a food-surplus country, signed the Ganges water sharing treaty with India and concluded the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace treaty.