One would not realise the magnitude of the development works that is going on outside Dhaka and across the country unless one sees it with one’s own eyes.
Roads, bridges, flyovers and new factories can be seen as I travelled the more than 400 kilometers of the new four-lane highway with greenery on the divider.
There was no fear of any head-on collision as reported by the media quite often. I would scream if my driver appeared to be driving into another vehicle, especially big trucks. I suddenly reached Chattogram and was wondering if my watch was showing the right time.
“No sir, we reached Chattogram from Cumilla in 90 minutes,” my driver told me, adding “It’s amazing, sir. How easy it is to drive on this highway now.”
Then what he said surprised me: “We need Sheikh Hasina to continue in power because if she cannot win in the next elections then all these massive development across Bangladesh will stop. I am really grateful to her.”
I fully agreed with him and remembered what my hosts said during my recent visit to India — ‘we want development works to continue whichever party the people votes in the next general elections in Bangladesh’.
If one looks at all the work that has been done or is underway, one would be amazed. It appears the whole country is on a development spree as if to catch up with the rest of the developing countries and on its way to becoming a developed nation.
Infrastructure is needed for the smooth movement of people and goods quickly, to ensure uninterrupted power supply for factories and development of connections by internet for quick communications.
These all have been implemented over the past 10 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and thus she is recognised as the indomitable leader of Bangladesh and one of the most powerful politicians in the world.
In India, I found that top officials and politicians recognised Hasina as the leader who has taken Bangladesh towards newer heights and from a bottomless basket made it into a role model for development.
Leaders around the world were surprised when the mega Padma Bride project was launched, although some were very sceptical, including Finance Minister AMA Muhith. But now, with more than 60 percent of the project completed, foreign agents who want to keep us subservient lost their game. Hasina is thus a leader to reckon with.
I have been wondering why would people need to think about whom to vote as “continuity” is the essence now or else, I fear, all these issues that make us proud now just might nose dive.
Do we dare to rethink or take a chance? No is the one word I think of as far as my Bangladesh is concerned.
On the international front, Bangladesh now has a commanding position and our foreign friends deal us with respect. With India, a milestone solution was the land boundary issue which was settled amicably and the people who lived in enclaves finally found their real independence.
Thus we want respect, dignity, progress and development, we should ensure continuity — which means another five-year term for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Nadeem Qadir is the Roving Editor at The Asian Age and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow. Opinion