PM Hasina urges global leaders to stop wars

The prime minister also said that Bangladesh is now witnessing democracy as her party, the Bangladesh Awami League, is in power

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is addressing a gathering of the women entrepreneurs and leaders of women organisations of the ruling Awami League at her official residence, Ganabhaban, Dhaka following the inauguration of the Joyeeta Tower in the city's Dhanmondi area on 17 October in 2023

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon the global leaders to stop the war, saying the women and children are the worst sufferers of the war.

"We don't want any war. Not being a woman politician or a prime minister, rather as a mother, I am calling upon the world leaders to stop the war, stop the game of arms and the arms competition" she said.

The prime minister said the world has been witnessing the war, firstly the Russia-Ukraine war and now Israeli attack on Palestine.

She said this while addressing a gathering of the women entrepreneurs and leaders of women organisations of the ruling Awami League (AL) at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the capital city following the inauguration of the Joyeeta Tower in the city's Dhanmondi area.

The prime minister said the women and children are the worst sufferers of the war, referring to her grave experience of being Pakistan army's captive along with her mother, only sister and three brothers during the War of Liberation in 1971.

"I had the experience of the dreadfulness of the war," she said, adding that she was expecting while she was captive under the Pakistan army.

"We had no furniture and we were not confirmed (by anyone) whether we would get food to eat at that time," she said.

At the function, Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's younger daughter and the prime minister's only sister Sheikh Rehana was also present.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira, MP, the Ministry's Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman and Bangladesh Mohila Awami League President Meher Afroz Chumki, MP, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Women and Children Affairs Ministry's Secretary Nazma Mobarek and Joyeeta Foundation Managing Director (MD) Afroza khan were also spoke.

A video documentary on the activities of the Joyeeta Foundation and construction of the Joyeeta Tower was screened at the function.

The prime minister, earlier in the morning, inaugurated the 12-storey iconic Joyeeta Tower on one bigha of land involving Tk 1.68 billion in the city's Dhanmondi area to help empower women economically.

She also visited the Jamdani Gallery and Joyeeta Marketplace housed in the tower.

The Joyeeta Tower was constructed with the state-of-the-art infrastructure to ensure women's economic empowerment by involving them in various business ventures under the Joyeeta brand.

The government had already allotted one bigha of land in each division at a token price for the Joyeeta Foundation.

About the inauguration of the Joyeeta Tower, Sheikh Hasina said they have built the tower to help grassroots’ women market their products easily and thus become independent economically.

"Earlier, we had established the Joyeeta Foundation to empower women financially," she said.

“Women empowerment is possible if they achieve economic independence through earning money for themselves,” Sheikh Hasina quoted Bangabandhu.

She also recalled the contribution of her younger sister Sheikh Rehana to helping women become entrepreneurs.

Briefly describing the measures taken by her government for women welfare, she said her government is doing everything possible to empower and develop women from the grassroots.

"We have introduced the system of reserving posts for the women in union, upazila and district councils mainly to explore women leadership from the grassroots," she said.

She said they have introduced the system of incorporating the name of mother alongside the father in giving identity of their children replacing the old one that only required father's name.

The prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had given the country the constitution within nine months of the country's independence which guaranteed equal rights of the men and women.

She said there was the provision of reserving 15 seats for women in the constitution which is now elevated to 50 seats.

"Bangabandhu always believed in women empowerment. He reserved seats for the women in parliament to flourish the women leadership," she said.

She continued that Bangabandhu had first appointed women in judiciary and police as the country can't achieve progress leaving women, accounting for half of the population, at home.

The prime minister said she later appointed women as judges of the apex court alongside posting women as superintendent of police and deputy commissioner despite opposition.

Being appointed as the first women SP, Rawshan Ara held dacoits risking her life and proved that women can work successfully in any position, she recalled.

She also said the women have to realise their rights with their own education, talent and skill without depending on mercy from others.
"You (women) have to place your position by your own works based on education, wisdom and skill," she said, adding, "It will not be possible to secure your position by only shouting for rights."

The prime minister expressed her satisfaction saying the women now attained their own position in all walks of the society by utilising their talents.

She called upon the women to bring every inch of land under cultivation against the backdrop of the global economic recession and rise in inflation.
"We have to grow our own food. So, grow whatever you can by utilising every inch of your uncultivated lands," she said.

The prime minister said her government had transformed the country into a developing and digital nation with their round-the-clock hard work and pragmatic and specific plans.

"Now the world considers Bangladesh as a model of development," she said.

She asked the women to be vigilant so that none can hinder the ongoing development works.

She claimed that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami clique had destroyed the country by making it a free ground for militancy, terrorism and corruption.

The prime minister said they are now in hot pursuit to turn Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

Sheikh Hasina called upon the people to vote her party to power again in the upcoming parliamentary elections to sustain the country's development.

"The people of the country got freedom by voting for the boat (AL election symbol). Today, Bangladesh got the status of a developing country because it also voted for the boat," she said.

The prime minister said that Bangladesh is now witnessing democracy as her party is in power.

"People's rights are now guaranteed, economic progress is being ensured and the country is moving forward," she added.