British minister, MPs pay homage to Bangabandhu in London


DHAKA, Aug 16, 2020 (BSS) – British minister, members of parliament, Bangladeshi expatriates and diaspora have paid their profound tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as Bangladesh high commission in London observed 45th martyrdom anniversary of Bangabandhu and National Mourning Day.

UK minister for London and minister for small business, consumers and labour Paul Scully, 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 Rushna Ara Ali joined a virtual commemorating discussion on Saturday marking the day.

From Bangladesh, land minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury in person and political affairs adviser to the Prime Minister, HT Imam virtually joined the discussion, chaired by Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland, Saida Muna Tasneem, said a press release received here today.

Eminent journalist Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, Bangabandhu’s son-in-law internationally renowned nuclear scientist Dr MA Wazed Miah’s colleague at the Karlsruhe University in Germany nuclear scientist Dr Shaheed Hossain, eyewitness of Bangabandhu murder case and neighbour of Bangabandhu’s 32 Dhanmondi residence Nawaz Ahmed, leading organisers of Bangladesh War of Independence in the UK Sultan Mahmud Shariff and British-Bangladeshi community leader Syed Sajidur Rahman Faruk also participated in the discussion.

Besides, expatriate Bangladeshis from the UK, Ireland and EU countries joined the webinar and paid their homage to the Greatest Bengali of All Time and the martyrs of 15 August tragedy.

British minister Scully recalled Bangabandhu’s close relations with Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and 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 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.

Land Minister Saifuzzaman said Bangladesh would achieve higher growth much earlier if Bangabandhu was alive.

However, he said his killing could not deter the progress of Bangladesh as his visionary daughter Sheikh Hasina has taken the country to an unprecedented height of development.

The minister expressed the 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.

HT Imam termed Bangabandhu as an unmatched world leader saying “he made us feel taller”.

He 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.

High Commissioner Muna 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.

Recalling Bangabandhu’s pioneering role in building a progressive, inclusive, democratic and secular value-based friendship with the UK in 1972, the Bangladesh envoy said the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-UK diplomatic relation would be celebrating in 2021.

Abdul Gaffar Choudhury underscored the importance of upholding the values and ideals of Bangabandhu institutionally so the young generation follows his footsteps.

Professor Dr Shaheed Hossain, participated from Vienna to talk about how the two daughters of Bangabandhu – current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana- were protected in foreign countries after killing of the Father of the Nation.

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.

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.