When I was at Dhaka after the liberation, my first visit, I saw at the airport a frustratingly long queue inching past the immigration authorities and confusion at the luggage counter. Still I heard passengers shouting Joi Bangla (Long Live Bengal). They looked like people returning to the Promised Land. I found signs of strain on their faces but pride was writ large on every one of them. They seemed to say: "I have done it." I have no doubt that they are ready for another liberation struggle, this time against want and hunger and say: "We have done it." Sheikh Hasina sensed the mood of the people. She won 85 percent of seats in the 300-member house. Khalida Zia plugged the old line of sovereignty and religion which did not sell. Her party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was reduced to a rump of 30. Therefore, the refrain of Sheikh Hasina's election speeches was: Let us build a developed and secure Bangladesh. What probably made the voters put their faith in her after having defeated twice earlier was her fervent appeal to do away with politics of confrontation and to develop a healthy political culture. Imbued by that spirit, she offered the BNP a share in her government. It is a pity that Khalida Zia did not respond positively because the pattern Sheikh Hasina had in mind could transform the politics of confrontation that has beleaguered the region. That Khalida Zia's party members did not take oath is ominous. Does it mean there will be endless hartals and bandhs once again? I do not think that the people will respond to such calls because they have opted for peace and development. In fact, the return of democracy in Bangladesh is the biggest news. The manner in which the outcome of election has been cheered around the world shows that it may pin its hope on Bangladesh as a modern Islamic state. In the last seven years, when there were no elections, there were efforts to see if any other individual or a new system could be put in place to work so that Bangladesh would have relief from the two Battling Begums. But nothing came out of this exercise. It looks as if the backers of such proposals realised that a Bangladeshi was so independent that he or she could not be co-opted into an arrangement that was imposed on the nation. A system in Bangladesh has to come from the grassroots. Otherwise, it would not be acceptable. When I visited Dhaka a few weeks ago, I wondered whether the armed forces would quit after having cleansed the Bangladesh stable to a large extent. Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, who ran the caretaker government for two years meticulously and honestly, told me that the army would never take over. I was surprised over his emphatic 'no'. Slowly and gradually, I have come to realise that the Bangladeshi loves his liberty, which embodies democracy, so much that he cannot be suppressed. Had elections been again postponed people would have come on to the streets. They had given enough indication to the army that people had not won freedom from the Pakistan military to lose it to the men in khaki in their own country. India is not only relieved but also surprised over the landslide victory of Sheikh Hasina. The general impression was that fundamentalism had taken over Bangladesh. It was presumed that the Jamaat-e-Islami, a coalition partner in the government of Khalida Zia, has changed the ethos of the liberation struggle, a democratic pluralistic society, into bigotry and extremism. The Bangladeshis have once again proved that when the purport of their liberation is challenged, as the BNP and the Jamaat tried to do, they cannot and will not take it lying down. Their turnout of the voters was more than 70 percent. Sheikh Hasina stood firmly against the rightist forces and fundamentalists. Even General Ershad's Jatiya party, which won 27 seats, entered into a secular alliance with Awami League. The BNP has come to represent the ugly face of anti-liberation struggle. Khalida Zia had among her supporters some who opposed independence from Pakistan. Her husband General Ziaur Rehman was always considered a reluctant partner in the liberation struggle. As for the Jamaat, it won only two seats and lost many of its stalwarts, including its chief. The party has done enough of damage - it has opened 40,000 madrassas and 9,000 kindergartens. Really speaking, Mujibur Rahman, father of the nation, once again stalked the land, reminding the voters that the task of economic freedom, for which he had fought a relentless battle in the seventies, had not even been started. His daughter and the Awami League have rededicated themselves to the ideals of Bangladesh and placed before the nation a programme-based manifesto - Charter of Change. She neither played a religious card, nor whipped up anti-India sentiment. New Delhi expects that Sheikh Hasina will not allow her country's soil to be used by terrorists against India. They once again struck at habitations at Guwahati a few days before she was sworn in. Her proposal to have a joint machinery to uproot terrorism from the region is worth considering. In the meanwhile, she should dismantle the training camps, which have been operating under the ISI supervision, for preparing the cadre of anti-India terrorist organisations. The real problem is going to be whether Sheikh Hasina can deliver what she has promised in the election manifesto and her speeches. The country of about 180 million people with practically no resources will find it hard because the conditions have become harsher after the global financial meltdown. Yet the confidence and faith which I saw at Dhaka after a few weeks of liberation convinces me that the Bangladeshi can overcome any difficulty. He has to be inspired as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did or as Sheikh Hasina has been doing during the election campaign. The writer is a former member of the Indian Parliament and senior journalist E-mail: knayar@nation.com.pk