Bullets won’t end searing cauldron of political crisis

Searing cauldron of violent conflict ceaselessly simmers claiming lives, maiming many and citizens are hamstrung by panic, as unarmed supporters of the main opposition party BNP and 19 others [some 90 per cent as per Org-Quest survey] are picked up by police, RAB personnel and other agencies and killed in the so-called “gun fights”, political workers are “disappearing” and the blockade is hitting the economy hard. All these are happening when the BNP chief Khaleda Zia is absolutely confined to her office; like many others Kalyan Party’s President was debarred from visiting her on 4 February; and almost all her central and district level leaders are in jail. But the government of Sheikh Hasina sticks to its guns and the ministers are threatening to crush Khaleda and opposition politicians.
Over a week back, in Dhaka city near extensively patrolled Jatrabari intersection, constantly crowded by hundreds of people, where vehicles move at a snail’s pace, arson attack gutted a bus; but fully equipped policemen and other law enforcers could not arrest them on the spot. How can arsonists manage to go away scot-free? Is it not incredibly funny? Will not these illogical causes and effects arouse suspicions that “some quarters” — other than opposition — are behind these devilish acts? Is it not too bad and most disastrous to fiddle while Rome [read Bangladesh] burns? By the way, PM Sheikh Hasina holds the portfolios of Home Ministry and Defence Ministry.
While the ruling Awami League (AL) chief, ministers and leaders keep on threatening of extreme action, extrajudicial custodial killings of people linked with opposition politics in mysterious incredible circumstances are happening without respite day in and day out. What is very unusual in a democratic country, unpardonably forgetting that these men in uniform, who are servants of the Republic and tax payers pay for their salary — even the heads of police, RAB, BGB etc are making hardnosed political statements, precisely like AL leaders, threatening the opposition BNP, arguably the most popular party and its allies.
Despite extremely strong security measures adopted by the government, the burn unit of the DMC hospital is filled with shrieks of arson victims, a number of whom have already breathed their last. On 3 February, a petrol bomb, hurled by unidentified attackers, at a bus in Comilla took the lives of seven passengers, and injured another 20. It is feared that the death toll will increase as some of the wounded are in critical conditions. Our words fail to revile the savage monstrosity.
Virtually imprisoned without telephone link and cable TV connection cut off in her office where she has been staying for last 33 days, the chief of BNP [almost all of whose senior leaders are either in jail or are on the run to escape arrest] and her party spokesmen are repeatedly denying responsibility of arson with petrol bombs. In this state of confusion, for obvious reason it is being questioned by the body politic: who are committing these nefarious crimes?
Most unfortunately, the government does not think, in retrospect, why has this terrible crisis — a civil war of sorts without arms — erupted which may not be suppressed through use of bullets. Have people forgotten how the nation’s architect Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won the 1970 elections, and was denied by Gen. Yahya and his gang, an immoral warped path was pursued by the Pakistani military junta which had to ignominiously bite the dust hook, line and sinker?
A very settled issue was unsettled by the government of Sheikh Hasina as she sowed the seed of this absolutely unnecessary crisis which has now assumed the shape of anarchic turmoil. She was all out for a caretaker government (CG) to ensure free and fair general elections and launched movement for CG, joined by Jamat-e-Islami and Jatiya Party, from 1994 to1996 during which years she called Hartals and blockades for 96 days. In those programmes marked by vandalism, bomb blasts, cocktail bursts, gunshots and arson, over 50 people were killed and over 1,000 people were wounded, according to Opinion.bdnews24.com  dated 10 June 2011.
In 1996 Sheikh Hasina had strongly rejected the idea of going to parliamentary elections under the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, but since 2011 Hasina is asking Khaleda to contest elections under Prime Minister Hasina. In 1996, responding to Hasina’s demand, Khaleda had the goodness to hold an election only for amending the Constitution to incorporate the provision of caretaker government (CG) which was welcomed by Hasina. But after three polls under three CGs, Hasina retracted and most unethically rescinded the CG provision from the Constitution, which was politically very much unethical. More than anybody else, Sheikh Hasina’s Adviser HT Imam knows adequately well how “free-fair-credible (!)” was the 5 January 2014 polls [for electing 147 MPs in a Parliament of 300 lawmakers, because the PM had some weeks before ‘made’ 153 persons MPs by her own choice] boycotted by an overwhelming majority of the electorate.
Having said this, we may again advocate the formation of a high-powered Probe Commission manned by at least three retired Chif Justices (of course except controversial CJs like Mr Khairul Haque), seven retired SC judges, eminent jurists like Dr. Kamal Hossain, civil society leaders like prominent independent, non-government human rights activists etc.
We again suggest political solution to this political standoff, not with bullets.

Source: Weekly Holiday

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