Sheikh Hasina Institutionalizes Democracy in Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit: Sheikh Hasina has been steadily moving forward in the struggle to establish democracy since coming back to Bangladesh in 1981. In the gathering of millions of people in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar of the capital, Sheikh Hasina pointed to the Jatiya Sangsad building and said – ‘That parliament belongs to the people’.:

Sheikh Hasina deeply loves the people of Bangladesh and the leaders and activists of Bangladesh Awami League, especially the grassroots leaders and activists. Sheikh Hasina’s indomitable goal is to fulfill her father Sheikh Mujib’s dream of building an independent Sonar Bangla.

Unconditional love for the people of Bengal, the development of their destiny, and positive change in the quality of life are the main driving forces of Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina’s determination to work towards the economic liberation of the people of Bangladesh, freedom from poverty, hunger, exploitation, and discrimination.

She has always fought in the struggle for democracy. She has repeatedly returned from the brink of death. She brought the Awami League to power as a popular party after 21 years in 1996 and has been working tirelessly to institutionalize democracy in Bangladesh.

The Election Commission has been working independently in performing all activities to organize a free, fair, and credible election. According to the Constitution, the Election Commission will run the government for three months. The responsibility of the Election Commission is to provide fair elections. For that purpose, the Election Commission will run the government for three months.

The government means the administration, the law-and-order situation and whatever is necessary to conduct the elections, the Election Commission can do independently. The commission can provide a free, fair, and violence-free election.

The people have to take over the people’s parliament to establish people’s rights. Sheikh Hasina’s homecoming is the political renaissance of Bangladesh – which wiped away all the ink, re-awakened the entire nation, and played an effective role in creating the background to the original spirit of independence.

In continuation of that, today’s developing, non-communal, democratic, digital Bangladesh has opened the doors of immense possibilities for the present and future generations. Democracy has been restored. The Constitution and the National Parliament came into force. The fundamental human rights of the people have been upheld. Rights to vote and food were established.

The trial of Bangabandhu’s killers has been completed. The trial of the war criminals has been completed. The rule of law has been established. The culture of impunity has declined. Bangladesh has become a developing country out of the ranks of the least developed countries. Padma Bridge stands as a glorious step of Bengali self-esteem. People’s love and trust are the source of Sheikh Hasina’s strength.

The impossible task that she made possible by forming the government in 1996 was to bring the assassins of Bangabandhu to justice and later in 2010 to bring the war criminals to justice. The opportunity came to carry forward the ideology of the Bengali nation.

After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu with the family members in 1975, Sheikh Hasina went to Europe with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana. While staying there, she and her family got the news of Bangabandhu’s death. As there was no environment to return home immediately, she left Europe and took political asylum in India with her husband and children.

She was elected the president of the party in the biennial conference of the Awami League held from 13 to 15 February 1981. On May 17 of the same year, she returned to Bangladesh after ending her long 6-year exile. In 1996, under her leadership, the Awami League achieved victory in the movement to overthrow the then-BNP government and establish a caretaker government.

As the leader of the main opposition during the previous BNP-Jamaat coalition government, first, the 14-party alliance and later the grand alliance was formed by combining non-communal-democratic political parties. After 1/11 new conspiracies started. But Sheikh Hasina ignored government restrictions, conspiracies, and fear of death and returned to her beloved homeland on May 7, 2007. Just two months after that, on July 16, 2007, Sheikh Hasina was arrested from her residence Sudha Sadan.

She was detained in a temporary prison in the Jatiya Sangsad area. A series of false cases were filed against her. On 29 December 2008, the Ninth National Parliament Elections were held. A historic victory was achieved. A coalition government was formed. On January 5, 2014, she brought back the constitutional continuity in the country through the 10th National Parliament election.

She is serving as the Prime Minister for the fourth time. Under her leadership, Bangladesh is progressing in every economic index. She introduced Bangladesh as a role model to the world. She has also won the praise of world leaders for fighting terrorism and militancy. She has been praised around the world for providing shelter to Rohingya Muslims fleeing ethnic violence in Myanmar.

She has taken Bangladesh to a unique height. Under her leadership, the final settlement of the Bangabandhu murder case, completion of the trial of the murderous war criminals of 1971, restoration of the spirit of the great liberation war through the amendment of the constitution, settlement of the maritime boundary dispute with India and Myanmar and the opening of new horizons of the Blue Economy through the establishment of the sovereignty of Bangladesh in the sea, the implementation of the border agreement with India.

Exchange of enclaves, the conquest of space through the successful launch of the Bangabandhu-1 Satellite, Bangladesh’s entry into the submarine era, the self-financed construction of Padma Bridge and Metrorail, the establishment of nuclear power plants, Karnaphuli tunnel, elevated expressway, new flyover bridges, upgrading highways to four lanes.

LNG Establishing terminals, achieving self-sufficiency in food, increasing per capita income to 2765 USD, reducing the poverty rate from 40 to 18, increasing the average life expectancy of people to about 74 years and 4 months, formulating modern education policy, increasing literacy rate to 75.60 percent, primary to secondary level on the first day of the year.

Delivering free new books to all students, linking and recognizing madrasa education with mainstream education, establishing medical universities, initiatives to establish one public and private university in each district, formulation of women’s policy, building digital Bangladesh, use of 5G mobile technology.

Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in numerous fields. The election manifesto published by the Sheikh Hasina government in 2008 states that the goal of 2021 is Digital Bangladesh. Last year, ‘Rupkalpa 2021’ was implemented. After the digital Bangladesh construction phase, the new target of ‘Smart Bangladesh’ has been set.

Various programs have been undertaken to achieve SDG targets and ensure upper-middle class incomes by 2031 and to transform into a knowledge-based, high-economy developed, prosperous country by 2041. As a result, the per capita income will increase to 12 thousand 500 dollars. Smart Bangladesh will be developed. Through this, there will be rapid changes in Bangladesh’s agriculture, education, health, transportation, and communication.

Taking over as Prime Minister for the second time on January 8, 2009, she worked tirelessly to implement the Sixth Five-Year Plan, the MDGs, and the First Perspective Plan. She was re-elected in the February 5, 2014 elections and got a chance to take the country forward by forming the government. Prime Minister took 10 special initiatives.
Prioritizes poverty, hunger-free society, housing, education, medicine, employment, social safety net, and digitization in the country. The shelter project has provided shelter to 8,86,617 families till now. In the Mujib birth centenary, she has given 66,189 families a single home as a gift of the year. About 17,500 community clinics are at people’s doorsteps to provide health care.
Now Bangladesh is the third-largest producer of rice in the world and is also self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables. Bangladesh ranks second in terms of the growth rate of fish production in inland open water and Bangladesh ranks first among 11 Hilsa producing countries.
Today, the benefits of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ have spread from urban to villages. Bangladesh has achieved many unprecedented successes. Our beloved motherland is moving forward by overcoming various obstacles Sheikh Hasina has taken up several mega projects. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge was inaugurated on 25 June 2022, and the train journey started recently October this year.
This will revolutionize communication with the South part of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 contributes to boosting the country’s economy by providing all citizens with a wide range of telecommunications services (direct-to-home TV, radio, telemedicine, education, and internet access), Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Dhaka Metrorail Project, Matarbari Deep Seaport Construction Project, Rampal Coal Based Power Project, Bangabandhu Tunnel Construction Project, work of 100 economic zones have been built.
An elevated expressway, 39 high-tech parks, and IT villages have been built. The eighth Five Year Plan has been adopted. The villages are being equipped with all civic amenities. Today we have become a country with self-respect in the world holding our heads high.
The UN has announced the transition of Bangladesh from LDC to a developing country. On the golden jubilee of independence, the UN has made a final recommendation to make Bangladesh a developing country and WTO member states including the EU will extend their support for another few years with all facilities including Tarif.
According to the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh will be the 24th largest economy in the world by 2030. According to the second perspective plan, in 2031, there will be no one to call Bangladesh extremely poor.
Bangladesh moves to developing countries. Per capita income is 2795 USD, human resources, and economic fragility— the criteria for these three indicators determine the eligibility of developing countries to be listed. Bangladesh has achieved the desired qualifications in these three indices. Even in the COVID-19, Bangladesh’s per capita income has stunned the whole world by maintaining economic continuity. Which has multiplied the acceptance.
There have been positive changes in women’s education, women’s empowerment, healthcare, and maternal and child mortality. Women are now contributing at all levels including social, political, and economic. Women in rural areas are not lagging in the touch of technology. They are also moving forward in parallel. Which has brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world. Bangladesh is moving forward on the path of building a golden Bengal of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu.
The young generation is the leader of the future state. To turn the young generation into human resources, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education is being introduced for career-oriented education. The state must give due value to the knowledge, skills, experience, desires, and opinions of the youth.
Bangladesh has reached a newer height in the international arena and transformed the country into a safe and peaceful abode for the next generation. The present government is working tirelessly to build a hunger-and poverty-free developed and prosperous Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.
One of the dreams of the Father of the Nation about the Bengalis was to liberate the motherland and build a hunger-free, poverty-free golden Bengal. The first dream was materialized by Bangabandhu. The greatest achievement of the Bengalis is the independence of Bangladesh, which he has brought.
At present, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s wise and visionary leadership, Bangladesh is fast moving towards realizing the second dream of the father of the nation. With dedication, honesty, and efficiency Bangladesh is surpassing many countries in the world today.
All citizens have to work for a developed Bangladesh, free from hunger and poverty (achieving SDG-1 end poverty and SDG-2, Zero Hunger) and uphold the spirit of liberation war and secularism which the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of. Bangladesh has limited resources, and more population compared with its geographical borders. Bangladesh today is a role model of development to the world.
Bangladesh has also strengthened its position in space. The launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 has added a new dimension to our science and technology. The inauguration of Metrorail and Padma Bridge are both development milestones. Successfully combating the coronavirus pandemic, education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women’s education, 100% increase in salaries and allowances of employees.
Health care, achieving self-sufficiency in food production, social programs for backward communities, the helpless, elderly, and widows. The Awami League government under the leadership of the successful statesman Sheikh Hasina, who has made Bangladesh stand at the top of South Asia and the fifth place in the world, including the country in the ranks of the developing world, is the contribution of the Awami League government.
Digital Bangladesh is already working to improve and modernize the citizens’ quality of life and facilitate the citizens. Services, education, health, management, working methods, industry, trade and production, economy, social and cultural life in digital mode. As technology has become accessible to every citizen of the country, arrangements are being made to reach marginalized people as well. Technology has become a trusted medium in all civic services and livelihoods.
In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the IT sector of Bangladesh has focused on various infrastructural developments including the development of skilled human resources. Bangladesh is trying to be among the top 50 countries in the United Nations e-Governance Development Index for the next five years. One Country One Rate program brings internet access to people at affordable cost.
A nuclear power plant has been constructed and satellite Bangabandhu-1 has been launched now work is underway for satellite Bangabandhu-2. Bangladesh has significantly improved its global SDGs ranking, moving from 120th to 101st place in just seven years.
According to the Global Sustainable Development Report 2023, Bangladesh has ranked 101 among 166 countries in 2022 whereas its ranking was 116 in 2019. One of the goals of the SDGs is to eradicate poverty, ensure food security, ensure good health, improve education, and prevent gender inequality. Bangladesh’s overall score in this year’s SDGs index is 83.5%. Last year the score was 63.27 percent. When SDGs were adopted in 2015, Bangladesh’s score was 59.01 percent. Bangladesh ranked 101 out of 166 countries in the world.
Bangladesh has already become an example in various social progress indices. Intensive management of natural disasters, use of microcredit and its role in poverty alleviation, tree plantation, positive changes in social and economic indicators, etc. have become exemplary examples. Bangladesh has the success to surprise the world.

In particular, education, women’s empowerment, reduction of maternal and child mortality and birth rates, provision of toilets and health facilities for the poor, and immunization of children are among the activities. When the crisis in Bangladesh is intense when everything revolves around uncertainty, black clouds gather in the sky of Bengal, then Sheikh Hasina is our last hope.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist and researcher

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