Today is the 19th anniversary of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, reports BSS.
The accord was signed on December 2, 1997 between the government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS) during the first tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ending bloody conflicts in three hill districts.
The then Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah signed the agreement on behalf of the government while Joritindra Bodhipriyo Larma (Santu Larma) on behalf of PCJSS.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages marking the 19th anniversary of CHT peace treaty.
In his message, the President called upon all irrespective of party affiliations to work together sinking all differences to make use of the potentials of hill districts and for the development of the motherland.
"I believe that peace treaty is expediting socio-economic and cultural development of the people in CHT region," the President said.
He appreciated the ministry for CHT affairs for taking various programmes marking the 19th anniversary of the peace accord and wished success of all events.
He recalled that the historic CHT Peace Accord was signed between the CHT Affairs National Committee and the PCJSS on December 2, 1997 at the initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ending longstanding conflicts.
"This is glaring example of resolving disputes peacefully," he said.
As a sequel to the CHT accord, the CHT Affairs Ministry and CHT District Council were formed, he said.
In her message, Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina sought cooperation of all for full implementation of the CHT peace treaty.
She congratulated all living in the CHT region and the countrymen on the occasion.
On December 2, 1997, the historic CHT Peace Accord was signed without the mediation of any third party, with a view to stopping bloody conflicts in the CHT, she said.
"It's a rare incident in the world history," the PM said.
This peace accord brought an end to the long-term bloody racial skirmishes in the CHT region and established the trend of peace and development there, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said achieving the UNESCO Peace Prize is global recognition to treaty.
The PM said the post 75 governments had created divisions between the Bangalees and the hill people for their self-interest instead of maintaining stability there.
The entire hill region had turned into an unrest zone because of killings, grabbing wealth of others and misuse of the state resources, she added.
In 2001, she said, the BNP-Jamaat alliance government had opposed the historic peace agreement and wanted to destabilise the hill region further. But their ill-efforts went in vain, she added.
"We are pledge-bound to maintain peace across the country, including CHT," the PM said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government implemented massive development programmes in different sectors, including education, health, electricity, communications and mobile networks.
During the period, she said, the government took various initiatives for protecting the languages and cultures of different tribal and small ethnic groups residing in the region along with taking initiatives for solving land-related dispute.
Initiatives have been taken to resolve land disputes, she said, adding that the CHT is no more a backward locality because of the timely steps taken by the government.