Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina accompanied the president of the country, Mohammad Abdul Hamid, to pay tributes to the martyrs of the 1971 war on Monday, March 26, which marked the 48th independence day of Bangladesh. They reached Jatiyo Smriti Soudho (National Martyrs' Memorial) in Savar early in the morning to pay the floral tributes in remembrance of the souls that were sacrificed to earn Bangladesh liberation from the then West Pakistan after a bloody war.
The leaders also observed silence on the occasion and the three wings of the country's military also played homage to the martyrs. Earlier, 31 gun salutes were offered to start the ceremony. Hasina also paid tributes to the chief of the ruling Awami League party along with its other leaders. Other dignitaries - including parliamentarians and army officers -- followed suit. The memorial was later opened to the common people to pay their respects.
US President Donald Trump also congratulated Bangladesh on its independence day.
Bangladesh achieved its liberation after a prolonged struggle with the political and army leadership of West Pakistan after the latter refused to acknowledge its democratic popularity proved in the 1970 war.
The suppression led to a horrific civil war in erstwhile East Pakistan in which several thousands were killed and attained international focus. It was India led by Indira Gandhi who came to Dhaka's rescue by taking on the West Pakistani army, leading to the third Indo-Pak war since independence.
Countries like the US and China backed Pakistan while India got the support of the former Soviet Union and eventually succeeded in pushing Islamabad back. East Pakistan later emerged as an independent nation of Bangladesh.
Two reasons why Bangladesh is celebrating a special independence day in 2018
This year, Bangladesh is celebrating its independence day with an extra enthusiasm and fanfare as the historic March 7 speech delivered by Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibar Rahman was honoured with a special place in the world heritage list.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) included the speech in the Memory of the World International Register in October 2017. The register is a list featuring the world's significant documentary heritage.
Besides, the UN's Committee for Development Policy officially declared on March 15 Bangladesh's leap from the category of the Least Developed Countries to Developing Countries, giving yet one more reason to the people of the country to celebrate the occasion.
A growing economy
Bangladesh in recent years has shown an impressive economic growth despite its small size and population pressure. While the World Bank has reported that its poverty has declined from 31.5 per cent to 23.2 per cent, it has also overtaken Pakistan in terms of GDP per capita.
Today, Bangladesh exports more garment than that done by India and Pakistan together and that has made it a major destination for the international apparel giants.
The country is also inching forward to launch its own satellite Bangabandhu-1.