High Commissioner narrates story of Bangladesh’s journey to development

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51st anniversary of Bangladesh Independence Day

Zubair Qureshi

High Commissioner of Bangladesh Rahul Alam Siddique at a reception that marked the 51st Anniversary of the National Day of Bangladesh narrated the amazing story of the journey of Bangladesh to progress and prosperity and attributed it to his government as well as people’s commitment towards making their country a stronger and wealthier nation of the world.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam was the chief guest on the occasion. Though the reception took place under the shadow of an impending No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, yet it was well attended and one could see quite a large number of the members of Diplomatic Corps, the government ministers, parliamentarians, opposition leaders, business community representatives, officials from the Foreign Office, etc and of course a large number of Bangladesh nationals and staff of the high commission.

In fact, it turned out to be a show of solidarity and goodwill between Pakistan and Bangladesh. High Commissioner Ruhul Alam Siddique said though for every Bangladesh national March 26 was a special day but for him the day assumed all the more joy and significance as he was hosting for the first time a National Day reception.

Last year, however, he said, Bangladesh High Commission celebrated three important milestones—100th Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; 50th anniversary (Golden Jubilee) of the Independence of the Country and thirdly, confirmation of Bangladesh from a ‘least-developed’ to a ‘developing’ country. While highlighting Bangladesh’s spectacular journey towards development, he said, the country after independence in 1971, started its journey in the wake of a 9-month long bloody and devastated war. At the time, the war-ravaged Bangladesh was facing huge economic challenges as the country’s Foreign Currency Reserves were almost nil, per capita income was US$94, poverty level 82 percent, and life expectancy 47.14 years.

Ruhul Alam further said, after Sheikh Mujib took the helm of affairs in January 1972 the country started journey towards reconstruction and rehabilitation and was soon free of hunger and exploitation however, with assassination of Bangabhandu in Aug 1975, the journey was stalled.

His able daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office in 1996 and resumed the journey where it was halted. Currently she is serving the fourth term. According to Ruhul Alam Siddique, under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, the country has achieved remarkable progress in socio-economic sectors and has been transformed into one of the vibrant economies of the world. “Today, Bangladesh is a knowledge-based middle income country with per capita income US$2591. It Foreign Currency Reserves US$45 billion and life expectancy stands at 72 years,” he said. Bangladesh saw an impressive 6.94 percent GDP growth during the last 7 years, and it was maintained even during the pandemic, he happily noted.

On the country’s Foreign Policy he said it was based on friendship with all and malice towards none. He also called upon the Pakistan government as well as the world community to come forward and resolve the humanitarian crisis faced by Myanmar’s Rohingyas. Bangladesh is hosting over 1 million forcibly displaced and distressed Myanmar nationals, he said.

About bilateral relations, he said both Pakistan and Bangladesh were committed to strengthening their trade, business, culture, the government-to-government and people-to-people ties.

During the July-December period last year, alone when the world was hit by the 4th wave of Covid-19, even bilateral trade between the two countries registered a sharp increase, he said. During this period, Pakistan’s exports to Bangladesh rose by 45pc while BD’s to Pakistan picked by 38pc, he said. This is an encouraging development he said and hoped the trend would continue in the coming days. Later, the guests were served with Bangladesh traditional and continental food.

 

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