With the temperature soaring to almost 30 degrees centigrade, Pope Francis went by car to the National Monument of Martyrs of Savar, a few kilometers from the capital, at around 4:00 pm local time (11:00 am in Rome), after the welcome ceremony in Dhaka’s International Airport.
At the Monument, erected in memory of all those who fought for independence from Pakistan in 1971, during the “War of Liberation,” the Holy Father placed a floral wreath.
On his arrival, Civil Authorities received the Pontiff and accompanied him to the Monument, where the Guard of Honour was present.
Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation
The Holy Father signed the Book of Honour and planted a tree in the “Garden of Peace,” before going to the Commemorative Museum of Bangabandhu to pay homage to the “Father of the Nation,” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Francis arrived there at 4:45 pm local time ((11:45 in Rome), and was received by members of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family, who was assassinated in 1975.
Mujibur Rahman, father of the present Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, known popularly as “Banganbandhu” or friend of the Bengalis, assumed a distinguished political role in what was then the Eastern region of Pakistan, shortly after the partition of the Indian Sub-Continent in 1947, reported the newspaper “La Vanguardia.”
Rahman, whose face is on bills [notes] and in every corner of Bangladesh, is considered by the majority the principal figure of Independence, although in polarized Bangladesh, the Opposition Nationalist Party (BNP) defends the role of its founder, former President Ziaur Rahman, the General who read the Declaration of Independence.
The next meeting will take place in the Presidential Palace: the Holy Father will pay a courtesy visit to President Abdul Hamid and will meet with the country’s Authorities.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester