INTRODUCTION: Bangladesh celebrated the sixth anniversary of its independence on Saturday (March 26). It was?
INTRODUCTION: Bangladesh celebrated the sixth anniversary of its independence on Saturday (March 26). It was on that day in 1971 that the country's present leader, Major-General Ziaur Rahman, seized a radio station in the port city of Chittagong and declared the independent state of Bangladesh. This year's anniversary celebrations also mark the beginning of the nation's recovery from a long period of economic recession.
SYNOPSIS: The Bangladesh armed forces play a major role in the country's life. There was a strong military presence at the anniversary parade in Dacha, the capital, which was reviewed by Major-General Zip. The General emerged as effective leader of Bangladesh last year following the assassination of Sheik Mujibur Rahman - the country's founding father - in August. General Zip imposed martial law and imprisoned his main political opponents, and postponed general elections that were planned for early this year.
On economic problems General Zip replies to his critics by pointing to recent improvements in the country's economy. Exports rose by 48 per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year, he says; food prices have continued to fall and inflation generally has been brought under control. Relations with India, meanwhile, which had been a problem since the death of Sheik Mujib, are also improving. The Indians supported the Sheik in his fight to win Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan. But India is now displaying signs of accepting General Zip's leadership.