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UK parliament hails BD success story

Study Circle report launched

February 25, 2023 00:00:00

Study Circle Chair Syed Mozammel Ali speaking at the launch of a report on 'Bangladesh: The Journey of Indomitable Development' in British Parliament on Wednesday.

The British Parliament on Wednesday acknowledged the amazing successes of Bangladesh at the launch of a report by UK-based Bangladesh think-tank, the Study Circle, says a statement.

The report entitled 'Bangladesh: The Journey of Indomitable Development,' highlighted the vast array of sectors in which Bangladesh has seen dramatic progress over the past 14 years, including the economy, interfaith harmony, education, health, and infrastructure.

A cross-party group of leading politicians, as well as diplomats and community leaders attended the event in the House of Lords' Attlee Room, which came the day after the 21 February commemoration of International Mother Language Day.

Launching the report, Study Circle Chair Syed Mozammel Ali, who was gazetted as a 'freedom fighter' for his advocacy for Bangladesh Independence in the UK in 1971, noted Bangladesh's tremendous economic growth.

At 6.9 per cent last year, this outstripped even the so-called 'tiger' economies of South Korea and Singapore.

Mr Ali quipped that, given that Bangladesh has 10 per cent of the World's tigers, going forward, Bangladesh should be championed as the 'Bengal Tiger economy'.

Mr Ali went all to detail numerous of Bangladesh's achievements, including its climate leadership and its support for the Rohingya.

He trumpeted the deep ties between the UK and Bangladesh, particularly the British Bangladeshi diaspora and the 8,000 Bangladeshi-owned restaurants, which he said was like having "like having a High Commission on every high street".

He noted that a great opportunity to enjoy the interchange would come in the next few weeks, as England's men's cricket team travels to Bangladesh for its first tour since 2016.

At that time, England was the only team not to cancel after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, which was widely appreciated by Bangladeshis at the time.

Bangladesh's High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem, said, "Congratulations to Syed M Ali and the Study Circle, which is doing an absolutely brilliant job. This is an empirical, evidence-based publication on Bangladesh's development journey under Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina."

The event was also an early outing for the UK's High Commissioner-designate to Bangladesh, Sarah Cooke, who will be replacing current British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton-Dixon after Ramadan in late April.

Another speaker was Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, who is also the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Bangladesh, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh, and the first UK MP of Bangladeshi heritage.

She said, "This report highlights that Bangladesh has achieved a great deal. As British Bangladeshis we are all really proud of Bangladesh's development."

Conservative peer Lord Popat, another of the PM's trade envoys, and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Commonwealth, said, "What a transformation of a country in such a short time, the incredible story that is Bangladesh, now one of the fastest growing economies in the world, what an achievement."

Chief Guest, Dr Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, said, "Today we are on a real path of progress. One reason for Bangladesh's concrete development is because it has had political stability and continuity."

PM Sheikh Hasina's achievements in promoting inter-communal harmony were particularly celebrated.

The UK Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP, and Jim Shannon MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, joined the occasion.

Dr Rizvi invited Mr Shannon to visit Bangladesh to see the inter-religious harmony for himself.

Conservative MP for Northfield Gary Sambrook and Labour MP for Brent Central Dawn Butler were also among the guests, as were London Assembly Members Marina Ahmad and Unmesh Desai and a significant number of local councillors of Bangladeshi heritage, including Mayor of Camden Nasim Ali, Brent Councillor Parvez Ahmed and Camden councillors Samata Khatoon and Shah Miah.

Former London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi and former Camden councillor Abdul Hai were also present.

Before the event, Study Circle Chair Mr Ali was treated to a tour of the House of Lords by Lord Daniel Hannan, the Conservative Party Vice Chair for International Relations.

The event received well wishes from many other parliamentarians, including Labour's Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Catherine West MP.

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