by Nazrul Islam in Dhaka;-
Prosecution of the crimes committed during the 1971 war of liberation was almost unthinkable even when a mock trial in the early 1990s sentenced Gulam Azam to death for aiding the Pakistani forces in the Bangladesh genocide.
Azam and his right wing company had been gaining strength ever since the assassination of Bangladesh’s independence architect, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And, they eventually started flexing political muscles armed with impunity infused by military dictator Ziaur Rahman. It was like a fantasy to demand trial of the self-declared killers of Bangabandhu, who fathered an independent state securing identity of nation on the world map.
Because, the demons on the helm were indemnified and awarded with positions turning Bangladesh into a safe haven for the hooligans and scoundrels for years. The dominant politics of carnage, coup and conspiracy was about to change the course of history alongside an air of disinformation and distortion of facts on Bangladesh even after Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the Bangabandhu, appeared on the political scene in 1981 ending her six-year life in exile.
She stood firm against all odds to reverse the evil political design drafted by the defeated forces, both external and internal. Her bravery has helped partially restore the political order in her fight to ensure justice and free the nation from disgrace.
Hasina, who turned 74 today, still needs a long way to go to recover the glory we’ve lost under the dust of unbridled corruption, injustice, disparity and widespread value erosion at every stage.
A scion of a political family, Hasina, now Bangladesh’s prime minister for the fourth time, has been devoted to politics since her student days. Her leadership both at the party for nearly four decades and in the government for nearly two decades have redesigned the country’s political landscape and shifted the paradigm in its development approaches.
Her tenures first in 1996-2001, then again in 2009-2013 and 2014-2018 and 2018 to the present, her external affairs policy has ushered the new hopes for Bangladesh in the global horizon. Friendship with nations in the far and nears have firm diplomatic footings.
Dubbed the “daughter of democracy” by her supporters despite her critics call her authoritarian, Hasina has kept her promises to improve the lives of more than 161 million Bangladeshi people. No matter what her critics say about her, she is resolute towards her vision towards turning Bangladesh economically powerful by 2041. As she always says that she has nothing to seek but to see smiles on the faces of hundreds of thousands living in abject poverty as her father wanted.
Like her father Sheikh Mujib, Hasina was jailed many times since her return home, and she was attempted for many times. But, she comes indomitable. As premier, she carried out death sentences for former military officers convicted of her father’s assassination. She has also ensured the trial and execution of several collaborators of Pakistani forces responsible for genocide, rape, arson and looting during the 1971 war of independence.
She is recognized for propelling the Bangladeshi economy through massive reforms after she returned to power for her second term in 2009. During the five years that followed, the country managed to sustain an average of 5-per-cent growth, and handled street agitations by political opponents to ensure that there is no disturbance towards economic activities, which her critics coin as refection of ruthlessness.
It is imperative, that the septuagenarian politician needs to be merciless towards few vices that hinder expected growth of Bangladesh. She holds the key to fight against every odd, and keep Bangladesh on track.
She is the “herald of change” as she has kept her promises to improve Bangladesh, which needs a leader like Sheikh Hasina for decades more to deliver and change the course of history.
A Very Happy Birthday, Sheikh Hasina!