Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday reiterated her call to the world leaders to come forward to stop the ongoing wars and arm races for the sake of the global welfare.
“The wars and arms race can’t bring the welfare of the people,” she said referring to Russia-Ukraine war and Tuesday’s bombing of a Palestine hospital that caused huge casualties.
The premier made the call while addressing the inauguration of Sheikh Russel Day-2023 and the awarding-ceremony of Sheikh Russel Medal-2023 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here in the city.
The event was organised to mark the 60th birthday of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Russel was one of the martyrs of the August 15 tragedy when he was just 10 years old.
Hasina said the children and women are the worst victims of the wars. Now Israel has started attack on Palestine. Many children were killed in Tuesday’s bombing attack on a hospital. The bloodstained images of children were seen there. Children were also killed in Israel, she added.
She said they can understand the pain and sufferings of the people who are losing their parents and children in the wars as they — two sisters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana— had to lead such life and stay as refugees in foreign lands after 1975 bloodbath.
“So, we don’t want war. I call upon … to stop the war,” said the prime minister.
She said the money spent for arms production and races should be used for ensuring food, healthcare and development of the world’s children. “It is our demand. I also demand it,” she added.
“We want peace. Because, peace brings development and war causes destruction. We don’t want destruction, rather want development and peace,” she said, adding that Bangladesh has always been working for peace.
Focusing on her government’s steps for the welfare of children and success, Hasina said they took all necessary measures for the development of children. So, the rates of child mortality and maternal mortality declined as well as food and nutrition security was ensured for them, she said.
She said the government has been working so that the children can be groomed properly by joining sports and cultural practices alongside education from their childhood.
“I’ve built Bangladesh as Digital Bangladesh. We want peace and progress of the country,” she said.
The PM asked the children to pursue their study as well as obey parents and the loved ones. “The education is the main strength for a person,” she said.
PM Hasina said she and her younger sister Rehana told their children that they can’t leave nothing like money and assets for them and asked them to pursue education. They (their children) in fact pursued education and obtained the degrees from world-renowned universities, she added.
She said now their children are working behind the screen for the development of the country like building Digital Bangladesh, development of autistic children and various development programmes of the government.
“They don’t come to the limelight. They’ve been working behind the screen for the country and its interests. They’ve been assisting us for the welfare of the country,” she said.
The premier asked the children to nurture a high aspiration to take the country forward making themselves worthy citizens and staying away from militancy, terrorism and drugs.
Talking about her government’s vision to make the country Smart Bangladesh by 2041, she said today’s children and adolescents would be soldiers of the Smart Bangladesh and would lead the country at that time.
The PM said the government will set up a Sheikh Russel digital lab in every school in phases throughout the country.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak presided over the event, while ICT Division Secretary Md. Shamsul Arefin, acting president of Sheikh Russel Jatiyo Shishu Kishore Parishad Secretary Chowdhury Nafiz Sharafat, its secretary general KM Shahidullah, organizing secretary Fariduddin Ahmed Ratan and child speaker Amira Nayer Chowdhury spoke on the occasion.
A video message from Indian Colonel (retd) Ashok Kumar Tara, who had a good relation with Sheikh Russel, a video documentary on Sheikh Russel and a theme song marking Sheikh Russel Day-2023 were played at the event, moderated by organising secretary of the parishad Barrister Jahangir Hossain Rony.
In the function, the premier opened a number of projects and unveiled the foundation stones of some other projects of the ICT Division by swapping a smart card.
PM Hasina also unveiled a book titled “Sraroner Aborone Sheikh Russel” featuring his childhood.
The Sheikh Russel Day-2023 is being observed with the theme “Sheikh Russell Diptimoy, Nirvik Nirmal Durjoy” (Sheikh Russel was enlightened, fearless and indomitable).
Russel was born on October 18, 1964, at the historic Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi.
At the function, the premier distributed the Sheikh Russel Medal-2023 and Smart Bangladesh Medal-2023, as well as prizes of different painting, sports and cultural completions.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun (on behalf of Bangladesh Police) and deputy commissioners (DCs) of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka, Panchagarh and Thakugaon districts received the Smart Bangladesh Padak-2023 from the prime minister.