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People remembers General Zia on his 43rd death anniversary

Editorials 2024-05-30, 2:56pm

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Late President Ziaur Rahman



 The people of Bangladesh today remembers Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman who was assassinated by some misguided officers of the Bangladesh Army at dead of night on this day in 1981 sending a shock wave across the nation. The announcer of the War of Independence, the restorer of confidence of the people to build their own future and the initiator of the South Asian Regional Cooperation Ziaur Rahman lives in the heart of the people of Bangladesh as a beacon of hope and inspiration.

When Ziaur Rahman took the responsibility of running the country, restoring the institutions of democracy and freedom of expression and taking a sharp turn towards a mixed economy from a command economy of little more than half a decade, things were happening the way they should happen and an environment was created to unleash the creative potentials of the people who started making investments in agriculture, dairy, poultry, fishery and garment industries.

He created a dent in the Middle East labour market setting the start of the growth of manpower exports which created handsome remittance from abroad and remains the number one mainstay of the economy even today. When Zia told people he dreamt of doubling food production and fish output, sojme people used to scoff at him saying he was living in a fool’s paradise. His bold strides in international relations empowered him to secure an honourable Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with and 80 percent guarantee of Bangladesh’s share of water as apportioned in the treaty.

When the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had a delayed fomal launch in 1985 due to his untimely death, the South Asian leaders pain glowing tributes to him in their inaugural speeches at the Sangsad Bhaban from where the regional group started rolling. The image he created caught the heart and the imagination of the people, particularly the youngsters and his party – the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – was crwned with a huge success in the 1991 general elections held exactly decade after his death. 

Zia strengthened the military infrastructure and helped rebuild the administration which proved competent enough to shoulder the task of running as well a steering the country towards progress and prosperity. He laid the foundations of a new economic order which was consolidated into a free market economy under the able leadership of his widow Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. The momentum given to the economy has brought success after success. He was loved and respected by Indian leaders – President V. V. Giri, Prime Minister Morarji Desai and a host of others - as a war hero and an efficient administrator.

The challenge the people of Bangladesh face today is to restore the spirit of self-reliance that Zia did promote along the lines of human rights democracy. May Allah almighty grant Ziaur Rahman the highest place in the heaven and his soul to rest in peace.