Vatican City, Mar 24, 2021 / 06:00 am
Pope Francis sent a video message to the people of Bangladesh on Wednesday as they mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence and the centenary of the birth of the “Father of the Nation,” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh when it declared independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971. He is called the “Father of the Nation” for having played a leading role in securing independence.
He also served as the second prime minister of Bangladesh, beginning in April 1971, until his assassination on August 15, 1975.
The Sheikh “knew that it is only in such a pluralistic and inclusive society, in which every person could live in freedom, peace and security, that a more just and fraternal world can be built,” the pope said.
Francis said that Bangladesh, “Golden Bengal,” has a unique natural beauty and is a modern nation striving to join unity of language and culture with respect for different traditions and communities.
“Bangladesh is a young state, and it has always had a special place in the heart of the popes, who from the start have expressed solidarity with its people, sought to accompany them in overcoming initial adversities, and supported them in the demanding task of nation building and development,” he said.
He expressed hope that relations between the Holy See and Bangladesh would continue to flourish and that the country would grow in interreligious encounters and dialogue, as he witnessed during his visit in 2017.