Vol. 5 Num 1002 Mon. March 26, 2007  
Front Page

Independence day today

The nation celebrates today the 36th Independence Day and National Day to pay tributes to the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for independence.

On March 26, 1971, independence of Bangladesh was formally declared, leading to the Liberation War against the Pakistani occupation forces and resulting in the emergence of a sovereign state on the global map.

After the Pakistani forces brutally cracked down on the unarmed people of the then East Pakistan on the night of March 25, 1971, the Bangalees fought for independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu and joined an all-out guerrilla war.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Bangladesh's independence at 00:30 hours on March 26 after the Pakistani crackdown, just an hour before he was taken prisoner from his Dhanmondi Road-32 residence.

People at large took up arms, Bangalee policemen and paramilitia men and army personnel defected and trained the people for war. They fought without proper food, shelter, training, or firearms. But it was the determination to free their motherland and the all-out support of the people that finally saw the birth of a nation nine months after March 26,1971.

After many years of political and economic exploitation, the Bangalees' nationalist sentiments paved the way for the massive victory of the Awami League led by Bangabandhu in the 1970 Pakistan national elections.

The Pakistani junta in the then West Pakistan, however, refused to hand over power to the then East Pakistanis. They stalled installation of the newly elected parliament and started ethnic genocide aimed at extinguishing all signs of Bangalee nationalist movement.

In the face of this, the inevitable declaration of independence came on March 26, 1971.

A 31-gunshot salute at dawn will mark the beginning of today's celebrations. National flags will be hoisted atop government buildings, while important public buildings will be illuminated tonight to give them a festive look. It is a public holiday today.

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will lead the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar at sunrise.

Leaders of different political parties, socio-political organisations, freedom fighters and people of all lifestyles will then place wreaths at the memorial.

The president will take salute at a ceremonial march past by contingents of freedom fighters, armed forces, Bangladesh Rifles, police, BNCC and Ansar-VDP at the National Parade Ground in the capital at 10:00am. The chief adviser will also attend the programme.

Armed forces' music bands will play patriotic songs at different venues in the city to entertain the public. The venues are Rajdhani School premises (Manik Miah Avenue), Farmgate and Mirpur Stadium from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.

A number of navy ships will remain open for people's visits at Sadarghat in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Khulna, Mongla port and Barisal from 2:00pm to 5:30pm.

Bangladesh contingent deployed in UN mission in Liberai will celebrate the Independence Day with due respect and solemnity, and the programmes include special prayers, reception of local guests, cultural session and sports.

The Awami League (AL) will hold a discussion at the Engineers Institute Auditorium where party's senior leaders will speak.

Other political parties, social and cultural organisations have chalked out separate programmes to mark the day.

President Iajuddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and AL President Sheikh Hasina in separate messages have paid tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War.

President Iajuddin Ahmed called upon all Bangladeshi citizens, living at home and abroad, to work united with continued efforts to expedite overall development, economic self-reliance and democratic progress.

The president said one of the prime objectives of the independence was to establish a happy, prosperous and self-reliant country.

"Keeping that in mind, Bangladesh has already achieved significant progress in the fields of education, healthcare services, family planning, food production, micro-credit, telecommunication, rural infrastructure, sanitation and empowerment of women," he said.

"We have to go a long way to realise a self-respectful and self-reliant Bangladesh, which was the desired goal of our independence," he said.

The president expressed his firm conviction that progress and prosperity in all areas of national life will be achieved if we devote ourselves to nation building and keep national interest above everything.

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed in his message urged all citizens, regardless of their class, creed or political affiliation, to stand united in the spirit of 1971 to achieve the goals of the Liberation War together and fulfil the dreams of the martyrs.

"Through the combined efforts of our citizens, we can fulfil the dream of a modern, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh," the head of the caretaker government said.

"I also recall with deep admiration and gratitude the sacrifices, forbearance and contributions of our freedom-seeking people living at home and abroad, as well as the unflinching support and cooperation of the governments and peoples of the friendly countries," the chief adviser said.

The chief adviser said the present government is carrying out a number of fundamental reforms to strengthen democracy and establish good governance.

He also mentioned an "all-out drive" to curb corruption and crime and establish the rule of law, undertake initiatives to infuse dynamism into the economy, increase public welfare and uphold people's interests.

"Through the continued support and cooperation of the people, we can unite as a nation in making these programmes stronger and more sustainable," he added.