The Prime Minister, on the eve of auspicious Independence and National Day, extended her heartiest greetings and congratulations to all Bangladeshis living at home and abroad.

“I’m recalling with gratitude the friendly states, institutions and individuals who had extended their hands of cooperation during our deep crisis period,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib had proclaimed independence in the first hour of March 26 before being arrested by the Pakistani military.

The premier said he (Bangabandhu) gave directives to the entire nation for resistance war to free the motherland from enemies and his proclamation was broadcast across the country through wireless of the then EPR.

Pakistani juntas took Bangabandhu to the West Pakistan and threw him into prison there, Sheikh Hasina said.

Prior to that, she said, Pakistani rulers unleashed repression-persecution instead of handing over power to Awami League, which secured landslide victory in the 1970 general elections.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, at one stage of non-cooperation movement, announced – Ebarer Sangram Muktir Sangram, Ebarer Sangram Swadhinatar Sangram — (the struggle this time is our struggle for emancipation, the struggle this time is the struggle for our independence) at a mammoth rally of the then Race Course Maidan on March 7 in 1971, she added.

The premier said following his directives, the brave Bangalees freed the country from the enemies through the nine-month Liberation War and the final victory was achieved on December 16 in 1971.

“The independence of our beloved motherland is the results of the constant political struggles of 24 years. And to this end, the Father of the Nation led the struggles from the forefront from the beginning,” she said.

She added: “As the great man named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was born, today we’re proud citizens of independent and sovereign Bangladesh. As he was born, today we can feel proud with our own country, language-culture.”

Sheikh Hasina continued: “Sheikh Mujib is the architect of a country, nation and state. So, we’re celebrating his birth centenary and golden jubilee of independence simultaneously.”

She extended her heartfelt thanks to the people of Bangladesh as they voted Awami League, which led the Liberation War, to state power during the celebrations of the two important milestones of the national life.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu had not only dreamt of an independent-sovereign country also of wiping out of the sorrow-distress of the general people of this land who faced suppression-exploitation, repression-persecution, died of starvation-diseases for hundreds of years by ensuring their improved life including providing food, clothing and healthcare.

She went on saying it is unfortunate that the anti-liberation evil forces had assassinated Bangabandhu and most of his family within only three and a half years of independence.

“Through his killing, the development and progress of Bangladesh were stalled as well as the spirit of Liberation War was destroyed,” she added.

The premier noted in the post-1975 period, the undemocratic rulers, who illegally grabbed the power, derailed Bangladesh from its ideology and deceived with the country’s people for long 21 years.

“They deprived the people of their fundamental rights –- food, clothing, housing — by plundering their wealth. And introduced Bangladesh before the world as the country of beggars,” she said.