Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Will the long night of terror in Bangladesh end in 2013?

The current government of Hasina Mujib will complete its tenure in December 2013. Most Bangaldeshis are hoping that this will end the long night of terror which promised a digital Bangladesh. Digital Bangladesh under this Mujib remained as eslusive as Sonar Bangla under the first Mujib. Mujibur Rehamn when he came to power abolished all political parties, and declared himself president for life under Baksal. So much for the quest for democracy. On 14th August 1974, patriotic Benglais murdered him and his entire family. However a counter coup against Khondakar Mushtaque led to General Zia ruling Bangladesh for a decade.

The battle of the begums has begun.
Hasina Wajib (Mujib) came to power through a havey handed judicial coup. It then began a pogram against the BNP and the Jamat e Islami on fake charges stemming from 1971. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to hold that the next general election under the existing President Zillur Rahman a veteran Bangladesh Awami Leaguer.

The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) Asia report no. 226 dated June 13, 2012 titled “Bangladesh: Back to the Future” describes the situaion in Bangladesh as explosive:

”Bangladesh could face a protracted political crisis in the lead-up to the 2013 elections unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government changes course and makes a more conciliatory approach towards political opposition and the military.

The hope, both at home and abroad, was that Sheikh Hasina would use her mandate to revitalise democratic institutions and pursue national reconciliation, ending the pernicious cycle of zero-sum politics between her AL and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Three and a half years on hope has been replaced by deep disillusionment, as two familiar threats to Bangladesh’s Democracy have returned: the prospected of election-related violence and risks stemming from an unstable and hostile military. Instead of changing old pattern of politics, the AL government has systematically used parliament, the executive and courts to reinforce it, including by filing corruption cases against Khaleda Zia, the BNP Chairperson, and employing security agencies to curb opposition activities.

Most worrying, however, is the AL-dominated parliament’s adoption of the fifteenth amendment to the constitution, which scraps a provision mandating the formation of neutral caretaker administration to oversee general elections.

The caretaker system was a major practical and psychological barrier to election-rigging by the party in power. Removing it has undermined opposition parties’ confidence in the electoral system.

According to an intelligence reports, theAwami League, which won through a jdical coup in the December 2008 is destined to face a massive electoral catastrophe losing at least 150 seats. In the last contrevercial elections in 2008, the Awami League got 266. The tables seem to have turned, but Delhi will not allow the BNP and its alliance partner the JeI come to power. The BNP and the Jamaat are considered pro-Pakistani parties in Bharat.

The ALs draconian laws have been promulgated to ensure that the AL wins the election for Joy Mujim. “The fifteenth amendment carries other dangers as well. For example, anyone who criticises the constitution may now be prosecuted for sedition; new procedures have rendered further amendments virtually impossible; and death penalty is prescribed for plotting to overthrow an elected government – a thinly veiled warning to the military which has done so four times in as many decades.

“The fallout from these changes is already clear. The BNP gave an ultimatum to the government to re-instate the caretaker system by June 10, 2012 or face battles on the street.

A BNP-led boycott of 2013 general elections may be in the offing.

“Meanwhile, the military is visibly restive. On 19 January, it announced it had foiled a coup by mid-level and retired officers who sought to install an Islamist government. This followed an assassination attempt on an AL member of parliament in October 2009 by mid-level officers seething over the deaths of 57 officers in a mutiny by their sub-ordinate paramilitary border guards the previous February.

Large-scale dismissals, forced retirements deepening politicisation and a heavy-handed approach to curb dissent and root out militants have created an unstable and undisciplined force. While top-level coup is unlikely, prospect of mid-level officers resorting to violence to express their suppressed anger is increasingly high.

“Should the situation deteriorate to the point that the army again decides to intervene, it is unlikely to be content to prop up civilian caretakers and map a course to fresh election as it did in 2007.

This time the generals could be expected to have more staying power, not to mention less reluctance to carry out “minus-two” their previous plan to remove Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia from politics. Even if such a worst-case scenario seems remote, it is clear that a new electoral stalemate threatens to erode Bangladesh democratic foundations.”

The Awami League ruling party is accused of a number of high-profile corruptions and irregularities:
  • The high handedness of Joy Mujib.
  • The infamous Padma Bridge bribe scandal
  • Corruption centering quick rental power plants,
  • Exorbitant rise in the prices of fuel and electricity bills,
  • Looting of millions of dollars from the state-owned Sonali Bank by some unscrupulous connivance of the influential advisor to the Prime Minister
  • Mass fraud with the public by a number of fraudulent multilevel marketing companies namely Destiny Group,
  • Unipay2U and share market scam, wherefrom,
  • The ruling party siphoned billions of dollars from the small investors.
  • The ruling party also is accused of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of hundreds of people, including some political heavy-weights.
  • International human rights organizations have harshly criticized such extra-judicial murders and enforced disappearances in Bangladesh.
  • According to figures released by local and international rights groups, few hundred people became victims of extra judicial murder while dozens of people became victim of enforced disappearances only during past twelve months.
The Awami League remains intolerant of any criticism or even negative opinion from the citizen or the members of the civil society. It has been the AL legacy since 1971.
  • The naked exhibition of ruling party’s intolerance of opposition opinion was during the recent press conference of the leader of the opposition Begum Khaleda Zia.
  • During the forty-minute press conference of the leader of the opposition asked Hasina to clarify their stand on the future election in Bangladesh
  • Electricity connections at the office of the former Prime Minister were disconnected eight times.
Delhi interferes in Bangladesh and it interferes very heavily. Begum Khaleda Zia wil decide about her political plans after her upcoming visits to India, the US and China.

Begum Khaleda Zia’s party is seeking “cooperation” from Nobel laureate Dr. Mohammad Yunus. Her media aides are also preparing fact sheet about repression of Hindus, demolition of temples and illegal occupation of Hindu properties in Bangladesh during the current AL government–the government that is supposedly pro-Indian.