PM seeks support of war friends to end war trialBSS . Dhaka / New Age Online
Reiterating her firm determination to complete the trial of war criminals, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday sought support of the friends of Liberation War to this end.
‘It is a daunting task to bring the perpetrators to book after more than four decades of the crimes they committed against humanity. But we are determined and we need your support to finish the task,’ she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing a function arranged to honour international friends of the Liberation War at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here this afternoon.
At the functions, 59 international friends and an organization were given Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sammanana (Bangladesh Liberation War Honour) and Muktijuddho Moitri Sammanana (Friends of Liberation War Honour) for their outstanding support and contributions to the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation in 1971.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ceremonially handed over the awards to 60 'foreign friends' or their representatives.
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Capt (retd) AB Tajul Islam, and on behalf of the awardees, Pranabranjan Ray, an intellectual and social worker, also spoke at the function, while Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hussain Bhuiyan read out citations of the award recipients.
Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, Chief Justice, ministers, advisers to the PM, parliament members, diplomats and dignitaries were present at the gala ceremony.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has been able to initiate a process to bring an end to the culture of impunity the perpetrators imposed upon the nation.
‘This initiative has ensured the justice instead of denial of justice through fair and transparent trial of the people responsible,’ she said.
Mentioning that the process is thoroughly independent, the Prime Minister expressed her firm confidence that it would help the nation to close an unpleasant chapter in its history. ‘It would also allow us to proceed with greater clarity on our respective roles and responsibility,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina sought support of the friends of liberation war to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021. "We seek your good wishes in our journey to transform Bangladesh into a middle income country by the year 2021, the Golden Jubilee year of Bangladesh's independence," she said.
The Prime Minister said her government has been relentless in its efforts to utilize the potential and talent of the people to turn Bangabandhu's dream of "Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bengal) into reality.
‘We continue to uphold the fundamental principles behind our war of liberation and draw inspiration from there to usher Bangladesh in an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity,’ she said.
Expressing sincere gratitude to the 'foreign friends' for their unequivocal support to Bangladesh's independence, the Prime Minister said the foreign friends of the people of Bangladesh, stood by us and organized the moral and material support of the world behind our just cause.
‘Your support reconfirmed that our cause was right and our struggle could not be trampled. You, the foreign freedom fighters for the cause of Bangladesh, rose in protest against the atrocities and pressed for urgent remedial action,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the selfless act of supporting the just cause of a nation under attack rekindled your spirit in the face of recurrent challenges and threats.
‘You simply listened to your heart, understood our plight and shared our aspirations. Sometimes you faced great challenges and daunting problems; but your spirit could not be dampened,’ she said.
The Prime Minister said the people of Bangladesh today join her in recollecting the immeasurable contribution of the nation’s innumerable foreign heroes.
‘By honouring you, we are actually reaffirming our faith in the principles that we stood for - equity, democracy, social justice, rule of law and an enabling environment - for all citizens,’ she said.
Of the awardees, 44 are from India, four each from Pakistan and USA, two each from UK and Japan, one each from Egypt, Sri Lanka and Turkey, and the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (AAPSO).
Former Indian president late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and ex- prime minister late Gulzarilal Nanda were conferred Bangladesh Liberation War Honour.
The prominent Indian personalities who were awarded Friends of Liberation War Honour included former minister late VK Krishna Menon, Air Chief Marshal (retd) Swaroop Krishna, former chief of the army staff of Indian Army Lt General Tapishwar Narain Raina, Commander 20 Indian Mountain Division Major General (retd) Lachhman Singh Lehl, late ambassador Samar Sen, noted singer late Suchitra Mitra and film actress Waheeda Rahman.
The Pakistani recipients who were conferred Friends of Liberation War Honour were noted politicians late Abdul Wali Khan, late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and late Master Khan Gul and Prof Tariq Rahman.
Each of the awardees received a crest and a citation from the President and the Prime Minister. This was the seventh such ceremony since the Awami League government started honouring foreign friends on July 25, 2011, as a mark of the nation's gratitude to them. So far 338 personalities and organisations have been honoured.
Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was the first among foreign friends to be given the highest state honour - Bangladesh Freedom Honour - in recognition of her contribution to the Liberation War.
Her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, now president of India's ruling Congress party, received the award on her behalf from late president Zillur Rahman.
The honour bestowing programme coincided with a war crimes verdict that sentenced lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death, Tuesday.
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