Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan and the 7 March speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will expedite the journey of development.

“I believe that ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan and the 7 March speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will expedite the journey of development,” she said in a message issued on the occasion of the historic 7 March speech of Bangabandhu.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is the role model of development recognised by the world due to the government’s initiatives. “We have established digital Bangladesh. We will transform the country into a smart Bangladesh by 2041,” she said.

The prime minister, also president of ruling Awami League, said after the AL took charge of the country in 1996, it repealed the Immunity Ordinance proclaimed by the murderers - Mustaq-Zia and started trial for killing of the Father of the Nation.

“Subsequently, we have formed governments three consecutive times since 2009 and devoted ourselves to the overall development of the country in the spirit of Bangabandhu. We have established the rule of law in the country by enforcing the verdict of Bangabandhu killing; as a result, the nation freed from stigma,” Sheikh Hasina said.

She said the historic 7 March speech was recognised by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Document” on 30 October, 2017.

Not only that, she said, UNESCO thinks that Bangabandhu had declared the independence of Bangladesh indirectly through this speech.

The prime minister said the worldwide recognition of the historic 7 March speech of the Father of the Nation is a rare honour and pride for the Bangalee nation.

“Today is an unforgettable day in the life of the Bangalee nation. On this day in 1971, the undisputed leader of the Bangalee nation, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, delivered an 18-minute fiery speech standing on the historic Racecourse Maidan, now known as Shaheed Suhrawardy Udyan,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Terming Bangabandhu and Bangladesh synonymous, the prime minister said the Father of the Nation fought against the Pakistanis for long 24 years, while tolerated imprisonment and oppression and led all the movements for realising the just rights of the people of East Bengal and establishing an independent state on the world map.

She said Bangabandhu was the only strongest voice among the exploited and deprived Bangalees in the last thousand years.

Under his leadership, the Awami League achieved majority in the 70’ elections, she said, adding, “However, the Pakistanis started making excuses without handing over the responsibility of running the country to the AL”.

Involving the people from all walks of life in Bangladesh, Bangabandhu called for a non-cooperation movement against the Pakistani rulers, Sheikh Hasina said.

She said: “In his speech on 7 March in 1971, he uttered an immortal message of freedom and showed us the path to freedom from struggle.”

Till 25 March, every person in the country ignored the rule of Yahya Khan and followed the instructions of Sheikh Mujib properly, the prime minister said.

“The Pakistani ruler arrested him (Bangabandhu) on that night. He officially declared independence before his arrest,” she said.

Unfortunately, Sheikh Hasina said, by assassinating Bangabandhu and most of his family members on 15 August in 1975, the local allies of the defeated enemies of ‘71 avenged their defeat.