Effective political dialogue is a must

Usually calm and reticent, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam hoped last week that the next general elections “will be free, fair and impartial.” However, much remains to be seen how it will be made fair and credible, for which consequential, effective dialogue is a must in a literally congenial atmosphere.
By all means the only political top brass who ruled Bangladesh three times as its fairly elected Prime Minister, opposition BNP’s Chairperson Khaleda Zia is perhaps the worst political victim in modern history to be confined for months to her office building, harassed with fabricated cases, while her party’s second man Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam slapped with 60 plus fictitious law suits. While over a hundred thousand party leaders and activists are beleaguered with criminal cases, meanwhile some of the BNP stalwarts including Organizing Secretary former MP Iliyas Ali have been victims of enforced disappearance and a number of them died in custody.
What is more, a news item of ‘khabor24bd.com’ dated 03 Feb 2015 said, a middle-aged man named Mufidul Islam, who introduced himself as a worker of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Prajanma League, walked up to the Gulshan office of Khaleda Zia, pulled out a revolver and yelled, “Where is Khaleda Zia? I will shoot her to death.” Police said Mufidul’s weapon was licensed. It was not reported whether police arrested Mufidul. It was definitely a crime, but the police shut their eyes to that criminal. So this is the state of law enforcement, though the guy brandished firearm without any provocation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed opposition BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for people’s deaths due to arson attacks during the three-month long blockade called by the latter when some 70 arson victims died and 45 people got killed in “shootouts” with law enforcement agencies. The BNP has denied responsibility of arson attacks and condemned the violence, reported national TV channels, newspapers including the BBC (4 February 2015), while some Bengali newspapers reported involvement of a number activists of ruling Awami League (AL), pro-AL BCL and pro-AL Juba League in making bombs — thus leaving a grey area in the blame game. The Holiday editorial of 13 February 2015 cited a few print media reports concerning this.
The Bengali daily Prothom Alo including other newspapers on 11 July 2015 reported that the opposition BNP demanded international investigation under the supervision of the United Nations to identify the culprits of petrol bomb attacks and acts of sabotage during its three-month agitation.
The party’s spokesman at a press briefing reiterated the BNP’s demand made earlier as well, days after the prime minister told parliament that a special tribunal would be constituted to try BNP chief Khaleda Zia as the ‘mastermind’ of the arson attacks that claimed around 150 people. Khaleda Zia, however, blamed the police and government agencies for the acts of sabotage.
With the intent to clear its position the BNP and dispel doubts and misgivings, the party has published a book styled ‘‘Petrol bomb terrorism: Awami League Behind It’’ containing a collection of newspaper reports edited and published by BNP’s Human Rights Cell. Khaleda Zia’s Adviser senior Supreme Court (SC) lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain unveiled the book at SC Bar Association office on 5 August 2015, reported bdnews24.com.
Most of the AL cabinet members and law makers often indulge in an uncouth crude fun of repulsive, stinging insult and bad-mouthing whenever it comes to commenting on the Opposition chief.
Besides, hatred runs so deep that PM Hasina berated her political rival (read ‘enemy’) former PM with vitriolic diatribes, one of which was to ask Khaleda to quit Bangladesh and go to Pakistan: it revealed a mindset unbecoming of a head of government, to say the least.
But four months ago, on 15 March last, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu dismissed BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s call for speedy dialogue over interim polls in an official briefing at Secretariat. “…Khaleda Zia’s place is not on the dialogue table but rather in Kashimpur Prison.”
A legal term, Latin phrase ‘sub judice’, meaning under judgment, is used to describe a legal dispute that is being considered by a court of law awaiting judicial determination, also referred to as a bench trial. In Bangladesh including England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Canada and South Africa it is inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offence in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings. Therefore, other than the judicial authority, no one must predict judgment.
Last but not least, the government’s foremost task should be to create democratic environment for consequential dialogue.

Grotesque killing spree
Bangladesh society has degenerated into a ferocious, brutal and violent one where people are not safe as every day bloodcurdling murders are taking place. These are demonstration effects because armed activists of pro-government Chhatra League and Juba League have been continuing there violent acts over the past six years.
The nation shuddered again on 4 August when two wild beasts in human form—-Sharif and his uncle Mintu Khan—-stripped naked a 13-year old boy named Rakib, inserted a high-pressure air pump nozzle into his rectum and filled the body with air as a result of which the boy’s intestines tore apart and lungs burst as air filled the abdomen, police said, quoting doctors.
A prenatal baby in mother’s womb could not escape guntoting criminals’ mortal bullets as was the case of Magura baby shot in mother’s womb,  who was shifted to Dhaka a fortnight back. Thank God, the baby girl and her mother are recovering.
Najma Begum, who was 34 weeks into her pregnancy, was shot during the clash between two factions of Awami Juba League on July 23 at Doarparha, Magura town. The bullet had also injured the baby in her womb. Doctors at a local hospital performed surgery on Najma to save the girl that night.
Another boy, Rajon was beaten to death in Sylhet. Doubtless, this killing spree is the result of demonstration effect which can be stopped only if the causes can be eliminated.

Source: Weekly Holiday

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