Bangladesh PM vows to honour social activists
March 24 2016 11:01 PM
Sheikh Hasina

By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said those working silently for the nation will be  honoured and her government is working to collect their names.
“Many people working silently for the nation across rural Bangladesh go unnoticed, and our government is working to collect their names to honour them in the future,” she said.
She was distributing the ‘Swadhinata Purashkar 2016’ (Independence Award),  the highest state award, at a function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina urged people  to work together to build a country imbued with the Liberation War spirit.
“We’ve gained this hard-earned independence through the blood of millions of martyrs and we want the benefits of independence to reach every doorstep in Bangladesh…our main goal is to ensure a beautiful life for all,” she added.
She said Bangladesh will move ahead overcoming all barriers and hurdles in the days to come to secure its rightful position on the global stage.
“I am confident we’ll be able to make the country a prosperous one, and no one will be able to suppress us. I believe, we’ll be able to overcome all the barriers and make a prosperous country where there will be no hungry people and we’ll repay the debt of the millions of martyrs,” she said.
Hasina said a nation must have a course of direction, vision and philosophy for development. She stressed that the Awami League has outlined its vision for the nation’s development – with target years of 2021 and 2041.
Turing to poverty alleviation, the prime minister said her government, since taking office in 2009, has been making relentless efforts for the socio-economic development of the country. Fifty million people were lifted out of abject poverty and graduated to the lower middle-income class.
“We’ll reduce the poverty rate further to make the country free from poverty,” she said.
 Extending her heartfelt congratulations to the Independence Award recipients, she said these eminent persons and organisations have contributed a lot to different spheres of national life, including the Liberation War, literature, culture and development.
 She hoped the new generation will follow the footsteps of the Independent Award recipients.
 Since 2009, some 55 eminent personalities and four organisations have been honoured with the Independence Award for their outstanding contributions to independence, liberation war and various fields of national life.
Besides, she said, some 327 foreign friends and 11 organisations were honoured over the years for their contributions to the Liberation War.
“I think it is our duty to honour those who have stood beside us during our Liberation War,” the prime minister said, adding, “I firmly believe we’ll be able to turn Bangladesh as a developed one. Let’s repay the debt of millions of martyrs”.
Later, she handed over the Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award) 2016 to 15 distinguished personalities and the Bangladesh Navy in recognition of outstanding contributions in their respective fields.  
The recipients are finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith for defecting while working in the Pakistan embassy in the United States in 1971 and mobilising public opinion in favour of the Liberation War, jute and textiles minister M Imazuddin Pramanik as an organiser of the Liberation War and a freedom fighter, poet Nirmalendu Goon for his outstanding contributions to literature, late Moulvi Asmat Ali Khan as a successful politician, freedom fighter and noted social worker, squadron leader (retd) Badrul Alam (Bir Uttam) a successful pilot of F-6 supersonic aircraft who had a prominent role in the formation process of Bangladesh Air Force after the country’s independence.  
The other recipients in this category are shaheed (martyr) Shah Abdul Mazid as the police super of Rajshahi district who led the formation of a police force to resist Pakistani occupation forces in Rajshahi Police Lines in 1971, M Abdul Ali, the then deputy commissioner of Rangamati who embraced martyrdom while organiser fighters in the Liberation War in the district, late AKM Abdur Rouf, who defected while working in Pakistan High Commission in London and handwrote the first constitution of Bangladesh in 1971, KM Shihab Uddin, who defected while working in Pakistan High Commission in Delhi in 1971 and established the first mission of Bangladesh in Delhi and Syed Hasam Imam for playing a bold role in organising cultural activities in favour of the Liberation War.  
In the field of language, late Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam were given the award for their pioneering role in achieving recognition for February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
In the field of science and technology, late professor Dr Maksudul Alam, an agriculture researcher, got the award for decoding the genome sequence of ‘Tosha’, a local variety of jute, while Dr Mohammad Rafi Khan (MR Khan) received the award for achievements in the field of medicine.  
Rabindra Sangeet exponent and researcher Rezwana Chowdhury Banya received the award in the field of culture.
Besides, the Bangladesh Navy got the award for its unparalleled contributions to the Liberation War and its untiring efforts in guarding the independence and sovereignty of the country’s maritime
 Each award carries a gold medal, a 3,00,000 taka cheque and a citation.

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