The prime minister said there are some people in the country who always
utter beautiful words and speak about various principles. “But, we see many
times that they give up their principles and their personal interests take
place there,” she said.

Recalling Bangabandhu’s outstanding leadership in liberating the country
and rebuilding war-ravaged Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said losing Bangabandhu
within three and a half years of the country’s independence was a great loss
for the nation.

“Bangladesh would have been turned into a developed and prosperous country
within 10 years of the independence had Bangabandhu been alive,” she said.

The prime minister said she has been working hard to implement an ideology
and spirit. “My all efforts are for materialising an ideology and spirit and
I sacrificed everything of my life for it,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the Father of the Nation struggled his entire life with
a dream, spirit and ideology to liberate the country. “But my only thinking
is now to materialise Bangabandhu’s dream by making the independence
meaningful and reaching its fruits to the people…I must do it,” she said.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s tremendous development over the last 10 years,
the premier said her government has been able to bring down to poverty rate
to 21 percent. “Our goal is to cut poverty rate by 4/5 percent further in the
future and then we can declare Bangladesh as a poverty-free country,” she

“We’ve increased GDP growth rate to 7.86 percent and our target is to take
it to the double digit,” she added.

Spelling her government’s steps for further modernisation and development
of the armed forces, the prime minister said: “We want peace and don’t want
to engage in war with anybody. But we must have preparations to resist if
anybody attacks the country,” she said.

“The armed forces are symbol of our independence and sovereignty and they
will have to be modernised and developed keeping this in mind,” she added.

In this connection, the prime minister said Bangabandhu had adopted an
excellent defence policy. “Now we’re developing our armed forces in the light
of his policy,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina thanked the retired armed forces officers for expressing
their solidarity with the Awami League and pledging to work unitedly for the
party in the upcoming elections.

“By casting votes for boat, we achieved the independence and ensured the
development of the country,” she said.

BSS/SH/MRI/2325 hrs