Bangladesh is celebrating the 34th anniversary of its independence over Pakistan.

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia took part in Saturday's festivities, which began at dawn with a 31-gun salute. The two leaders placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum for the war heroes in Savar, a town outside the capital, Dhaka.

In separate statements, the president, prime minister and opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina, called for a better Bangladesh.

Bangladesh announced its independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971, sparking a nine-month civil war with Pakistan. An estimated three million people died during the war.