Dhaka,  Sunday
14 July 2024

Sheikh Hasina, the marvel for Bangladesh’s development

Published: 08:04, 10 July 2024

Sheikh Hasina, the marvel for Bangladesh’s development

Photo : Messenger

PM Sheikh Hasina is a top-notch leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. She said that political leadership and decision- and not military rule -- is the most important matters for a country to prosper. Whenever our country was outside this political decision, which means under direct or indirect military rule, it did not register its development and prosperity.

Brobdingnagian developmental works are already carried out successfully in the country and many more ostentatiously lofty in style of projects are being followed through to a conclusion soon.

Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation's political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer. It has threatened sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilised our society and endangered the rule of law.

So, say loudly, no to corruption. Be a participant of Bangladesh against corruption. Build a corruption free society in our land. But there will be no justice; there will be no government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as long as the government and its officials permit bribery in any form. Corruption is a crime; let's destroy it before it destroys us.

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. And she stands for that spirit for Bangladesh. The development of a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ is awaiting under her stewardship.

Bangladesh has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its per capita income has doubled over the last decade. It is all set to leave the category of “least developed countries”. Hasina’s ambition is to accelerate the annual economic growth rate from the current 7 per cent to upward.  

Some in other countries are now asking to adopt the “Bangladesh model” — where the focus is on economic development rather than political adventurism and promoting secularism instead of extremism. As Bangladesh rises, it changes the balance within South Asia by tilting the region’s economic centre of gravity towards the east.

The economic advancement of Bangladesh helps lift up the whole of the eastern Subcontinent, including India’s Northeast as well as Bhutan and Nepal and pushes BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) partnership as well as BIMSTEC and India’s South East Asia policy. Thanks also to her initiative, its maritime territorial issues with India and Burma have been peacefully resolved through arbitration. That opens up significant room for maritime economic and security cooperation within the Bay of Bengal. That, in turn, will deepen the integration between the eastern Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Hasina has assured to work for realizing aspirations of converting Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and higher-income country by 2041. Compared to the past BNP-Jamaat government, which virtually patronised all radical Islamic groups and pro-Pak forces and was even involved in engineering a grenade attack on Awami League rally in Dhaka targeting Sheikh Hasina who was then addressing the anti-terrorism rally on August 21, 2004, it was a huge relief for all those who are opposed to Islamic radicalism, terrorism... Legacy of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman confers a unique symbolic identity to the Awami League, which is credited with the very creation of Bangladesh and laying of foundation of Bengali nationalism.

Sheikh Hasina has developed the country from almost nothing. That Bangladesh, the least developed country Bangladesh is now a developing country, is her contribution to development. Her first term of office as Prime Minister (1996-2001) was a warm-up phase after years of decay and deadlock caused by the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. It, however, faltered as the BNP-Jamaat alliance took over and unleashed a reign of violence, corruption, religious extremism and militancy that lasted for a full term of five years from 2001.

Then Sheikh Hasina appeared as the savior and came up with her party’s manifesto, ‘Charter for Change-Vision 2021’ and swept to a landslide victory in the parliamentary election held on December 29, 2008. She took up the reins for second consecutive term in 2014 and made the country rise like a phoenix from the ashes of ruination. The journey continued and is still continuing now, against all the odds.

As the second-largest economic sector in the subcontinent, Bangladesh is marching forward as a member of the Commonwealth, D-8, and Organization for Economic Cooperation, SAARC, IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank under Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership. Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated how it was possible to venture into the Padma Bridge construction without any World Bank funding, defying opposition of all big powers.

A big success of Sheikh Hasina is the bold move to bring the war criminals of 1971 to justice. These war criminals earlier shared power with Gen Zia, Gen Ershad and Khaleda Zia and wielded tremendous political clout during the BNP regimes. The people of the country, particularly those who lost their near and dear ones during the liberation war in 1971, must have been happy to see the perpetrators of war crimes put on trial and brought to justice decades after these heinous crimes were committed.

Sheikh Hasina is a supremely courageous leader who stands before the raging storm with the spirit of the Liberation War. Trying the war criminals of 1971 was the boldest-ever initiative after the War of Liberation. Not bowing down to any internal and external pressure, she went on with her mission in fulfilling her avowed commitment to the nation. This is a new history in the dispensation of justice in Bangladesh, which proves crimes against humanity never go void. Putting the war criminals on trial and bringing them to justice was a very bold decision on the part of Sheikh Hasina and the war crimes trials are on an equal footing with the Nuremberg trials, Tokyo trials and Manila trials.

Sheikh Hasina can be credited with is that her government is engaged in relentless battle against religious militancy. It is a serious problem besetting the Muslim countries. The horrible bombing of Ramna Batamul in 2001, the grenade attack on August 21, 2004, the simultaneous country-wide bomb blast on August 17, 2005, and the latest Gulshan Café standoff on July 1, 2016 heralded the existence of religious militancy in Bangladesh.

If these social evils had not been fought back in right earnest by Sheikh Hasina, they would have, by now, risen to a point of no return. Sheikh Hasina is taking a tough line on them and her anti-militancy role can provide a model that other Muslim countries can emulate.

Women empowerment is another remarkable success of Sheikh Hasina. This is for the first time in Bangladesh that large number of women is holding high offices. According to Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen, “Bangladesh is ahead of India in all indexes of gender equality and empowerment. The Sheikh Hasina government adopted a national policy on women empowerment and brought about radical change in their social and legal status by implementing the policy.”

Showing zero tolerance to religious fanaticism and fundamentalism, Sheikh Hasina has triumphantly upheld the basic principle of secularism declared in Bangladesh constitution. In fact, the long, uninterrupted spell of stability during her tenure obviously makes up the exclusive chemistry of her development vision.

Sheikh Hasina has now become a symbol of national unity and solidarity. She embodies an entity that is ever vigilant to thwart all conspiracies against Bangladesh. …Those who love Bangladesh and her independent spirit have to lend their wholehearted support to Sheikh Hasina so as to help her carry her onward march of development in building the long-cherished Sonar Bangla. The people must keep in mind that the successors of the heinous reactionary elements who killed the Father of the Nation are still lying in wait for the slimmest chance to destabilise the enviable development of Bangladesh once again.

By voting Sheikh Hasina to power, the people have reposed their trust in her. Now it is the turn for the Awami League to keep up with the trust. The best possible way to her is to materialise the hopes and aspirations of the people from all walks of life. Sheikh Hasina’s leadership is essential for the country, the region and the world as well.

Bribes are also used to make illegal water, electricity, gas and telephone connections to have access to these facilities without paying for the services obtained. All these result in serious losses of revenue for the government. Fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds add to the losses. But to stop all these uttermost wrongdoings is a dire emergency need of the hour for Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina and her true-blue lieutenants must take zero tolerance measures in their deeds to root out bribery and corruption from the country—Bangladesh—which we attained at the bay of blood in 1971.

The writer is a freedom fighter who writes on politics and international issues.