London::Bangladesh High Commission, London has commenced a nine-month celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and hosted a high-profile discussion and diplomatic reception on Friday where ministers, Leader of the Opposition, members of House of Lords, Mayor of London and eminent parliamentarians from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales paid their profound homage to Bangladesh’s Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the martyrs of 1971 War of Liberation; and highly praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the unprecedented growth and prosperity the country achieved under her visionary leadership.
High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the UK and Ireland Saida Muna Tasneem chaired the event. British Foreign and Development Office (FCDO) Minister for South Asia and Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmed, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Labour Party Deputy Leader and Chair Angela Rayner, MP, Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair at the House of Commons Tom Tugendhat, MP, Conservative Party Vice-Chair Ms Nickie Aiken, MP, International Ambassador of the Conservative Party Lord Hannan, Chair of All-party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and the UK’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali, MP, Apsana Begum, MP, Sarah Boyack, MSP and IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim spoke as panellists.
Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer, MP, and Foreign Minister of Ireland Simon Coveney in separate messages paid deep tribute to Bangabandhu and 1971 martyrs freedom fighters and conveyed their warm greetings to Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina and the people of Bangladesh on the 50th years of Bangladesh’s Independence.
A leading organiser of the Bangladesh War of Liberation in the UK Sultan Mahmud Sharif, British-Bangladeshi community senior members Syed Sajidur Rahman Faruk and Noim Uddin Reaz, and a valiant freedom fighter Mahmud Hasan MBE also spoke at the event.
Paying deep homage to the Father of the Nation and 1971 martyrs, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said, “At the clarion call of the iconic Bengali leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh had emerged as an independent and secular state 50 years ago on this day in 1971.”
The High Commissioner said, “In the past 50 years Bangladesh has come a long way while the country under our visionary Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has achieved unprecedented growth and prosperity.” She recalled with due respect the contribution of the UK government, its people and the British-Bangladeshi and the Irish-Bangladeshi expatriates during the 1971 war. The High Commissioner thanked British Queen HM Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince of Wales and Hon’ble Prime Minister Boris Johnson for their special messages on Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee.
Congratulating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the people of Bangladesh and the British-Bangladeshis, Lord Tariq Ahmed said, “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman laid the foundation of a strong partnership and deep friendship that Bangladesh-UK has been enjoying in the past five decades.”
He lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for upholding the spirit and values of Bangabandhu in building a self-reliant, secular and inclusive Bangladesh with maximal climate prosperity and resilient green future; and reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to remain a critical partner of Bangladesh seeking to support peace and prosperity for all its people.
Representing Conservative Party Chair Amanda Milling, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party Ms Nickie Aiken MP paid deep tribute to Bangabandhu and greeted Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina. She said, “The bond Bangabandhu had established with the UK would continue to guide the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the UK in the post-Brexit and post-Covid era.”
Paying deep tribute to Bangabandhu and greeting Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina on Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee, Deputy Leader and Labour Party Chair Angela Rayner, MP, hoped the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the UK would strengthen further in the next 50 years and beyond.
Rushanara Ali, MP, humbly refer to her Bangladeshi inheritance and said, “The ideals and spirit of Bangladesh’s Funding Father will continue to inspire the British-Bangladeshi and the Bangladeshis all over the world to sustain as a secular and independent nation.”
The video messages of HRH Price of Wales and British Minister Boris Johnson and a documentary on Bangladesh’s development by World Economic Forum were screened at the virtual event. A special musical soiree dedicated to Bangabandhu and 1971 war martyrs was performed by eminent singers Runa Laila, Shakil Zafar, Fazul Bari Babu, Aumit Gupta and Gauri Choudhury. Eminent cultural personality Shompa Reza recited a poem of eminent poet Shamsur Rahman. Sadia Islam Mou and her team and Sonya and her group performed dances. Fifty British-Bangladeshi children from different schools sung the national anthems of Bangladesh and the UK in chorus, marking the 50th Anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.
Bangladeshi expatriate living in the UK and Ireland joined the virtual event and paid their profound respects to the Father of the Nation and the martyrs of the nine-month glorious liberation war.
Earlier on the day, the High Commissioner along with the senior diplomats of the mission raised the national flag at the chancery. Messages on the Day from the hon’ble President, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Foreign Minister and Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs were read out and a special doa was offered, seeking eternal peace for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his martyred families, the martyrs of the glorious liberation war and for a peace and prosperous Bangladesh.