Bangladeshis’ democratic aspirations unmet: Imtiaz

Bangladeshis’ democratic aspirations unmet: Imtiaz

Rabiul Islam | Prothom Alo Mar 26, 2019

ImtiazThe country has advanced on the economic front but there is deficiency in politics, Dhaka University professor Imtiaz Ahmed has observed.
“The people’s aspirations that they had before the independence still remain unmet,” the professor of international relations told Prothom Alo in a interview.
The full text of the interview is given bellow:

Prothom Alo: How do you view Bangladesh after 48 years of independence?
Imtiaz Ahmed: Bangladesh has achieved much on the economic front. It has obtained over 7 per cent growth. The economy is now a model for many countries. The country is also ahead in human development index in comparison to the neighbours. In peacekeeping, Bangladesh is among three countries.

Bangladesh has done better in RMG (readymade garments) sector. It is in the second position in the world after China.
But its political structure remains weak. There are clashes among the political parties. The two major political parties—ruling Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party — are also engaged in conflict.

Human rights are in deficit. Our economy and politics are not progressing keeping hand in hand. So a negative image persists.
Had the politics been better there would have been a big investment.

Prothom Alo: How far have the people’s aspirations for independence been fulfilled?
Imtiaz Ahmed: The aspirations for democratic rights and social justice still remain unfulfilled due to deficiency in electoral system, corruption and intolerance.

Prothom Alo: Why is it not happening?
Imtiaz Ahmed: There is a lack of democracy within the political parties. They want continuation of the undemocratic trend. They want to cling on to power at any cost. The ruling party does not want to give space to the opposition.

Also on the international arena, undemocratic atmosphere is prevailing. So there is no pressure on Bangladesh.

Prothom Alo: Why are we still struggling to get facts-based books to know authentic history of our liberation war of 1971?

Imtiaz Ahmed: It requires research for writing correct history of the liberation war. We have crisis in research. We have not carried out research seriously. We have some failure. Immediately after the independence, most of the countries suffer. It takes time. There is no short-cut method. Nowadays research is being carried out by private organisations.

Prothom Alo: Is it not possible to prepare a list of freedom fighters and martyrs?

Imtiz Ahmed: Those who are really freedom fighters should say they do not want such a list. I individually cannot claim that I am a freedom fighter. I was a student of class IX. I went to Agartala. Wasn’t the boatman who helped me to reach there a freedom fighter? I think there should be a change in the certificate. The politics of certificate should be stopped.

It was possible. We have to do it. During the census, if a number of questions are included, an accurate list can definitely be made.

Prothom Alo: How will you evaluate the country’s current political situation after almost half a century of independence?

Imtiaz Ahmed: There is a deficit, for sure. So many are worried. However, the people are conscious. They want change in politics. Lethargy has been noticed in the political arena. But the change is difficult without a movement. People are now discontent.

Change will come, but it is difficult to say how and in what form it will come. The aspirations for democratic rights existed in the past and still exist.

But there is a hope that the movement is launched from outside politics. Safe road and quota movements are glaring examples. Such movements will increase in future.

Prothom Alo: How can we overcome this stalemate?

Imtiaz Ahmed: We lack professionalism in every sphere of the state. We have to establish professionalism in everywhere including education, bureaucracy and defence. Those who go to power forgot how they ascended to it. But it cannot be done again and again.

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