Bangladesh High Commission in London arranged a special Victory Day discussion on Wednesday with the participation of noted British parliamentarians, senior officials of UK Foreign Ministry and Indian and Bhutanese ambassadors in London.
The discussants paid their profound homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 1971 Liberation War martyrs and they lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s farsighted and bold leadership in building a secular, progressive and modern Bangladesh following the ideology of Bangabandhu, said a press release here on Friday.
Bangladesh High Commissioner in London Saida Muna Tasneem chaired the discussion which was arranged as part of the celebration of ‘Mujib Barsho Victory Day’.
Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Bangladesh and UK’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali, MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Bangladesh and Conservative Friends of Bangladesh Bob Blackman, MP, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar, non-resident Bhutanese Ambassador to the UK Tenzin R. Wangchuk, Director for South Asia and Afghanistan at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Gareth Bayley, Oxfam’s Special Representative in 1971 Julian Francis OBE, leading Bangladeshi-British organizer of 1971 Liberation War in the UK Sultan Mahmud Shariff, British-Bangladeshi community representative Syed Sajidur Rahman Faruk and valiant freedom fighter Luqueman Hussain joined the discussion.
Paying respects to Bangabandhu, Rushanara Ali said, “I came to the UK at the age of seven with my parents. I am proud of the fact that I was born in Bangladesh.”
She lauded Bangladesh’s remarkable economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic and attainment of capability in facing climate change challenges under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In his address, Bob Blackman, MP, recalled the warm reception extended to him by Prime Minister Edward Heath’s government demonstrating Britain’s support to newly independent Bangladesh during the period of Bangabandhu’s homecoming.
He dubbed Bangladesh’s 5.21 percent economic growth during the Covid-19 pandemic as spectacular and said it was a special success of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s extraordinary leadership.
Indian High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar said visionary leadership and close friendship between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and friendly relations among peoples of two countries created a golden chapter in bilateral relations of the two next-door neighbors.
As a close aide to India’s former President Pranab Mukherjee, the high commissioner recalled that in June 1971, Mukherjee moved a resolution at the upper house of the Indian Parliament ‘Rajya Sabha’ to recognise the provisional government of Bangladesh at Mujib Nagar.
Later, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spearheaded a special campaign for ensuring European leaders’ support for Bangabandhu’s release from wartime imprisonment in Pakistan, Kumar said.
The high commissioner said the people of India would like to see an ever stronger, prosperous and peaceful Bangladesh which will truly reflect the ideals of Bangabandhu.
Non-resident Bhutanese Ambassador Tenzin R. Wangchuk recalled Bhutan’s 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk’s visit to Bangladesh refugee camps in Kolkata during the 1971 War and his door-to-door campaign to raise funds for humanitarian support to Bangladeshi refugees.
As per the decision of Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Bhutan was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent state on December 6, 1971, the ambassador said.
Referring to the historic photograph of Bangabandhu with British Prime Minister Edward Heath at the Bangladesh Foreign Office, Gareth Bayley said this photograph symbolizes the historic relations between Bangladesh and the UK, which will be witnessing its golden jubilee of diplomatic relations next year.
A documentary on the epic liberation war of Bangladesh was screened and a colourful cultural event was performed by expatriate artists marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and the Victory Day.
Earlier in the morning, the celebration of the day began with hoisting of the national flag by High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem on the Chancery premise.
Later, a special munajat was offered seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and martyrs of the Liberation War. Continuous prosperity and peace of Bangladesh was also wished.
Messages of the President and the Prime Minister were also readout.