F R Chowdhury
It was not long after the liberation of Bangladesh, the Organization of Islamic Countries’ Conference was scheduled to be held in Lahore, Pakistan in February 1974. At that time when Pakistan had still not recognized Bangladesh as an independent state, it was not likely that Bangladesh would attend the Conference. Then something dramatic happened. Through some behind the scene negotiation it was agreed that Pakistan would recognize Bangladesh provided Sheikh Mujib would attend the Conference. Algerian President Bumodein sent an aircraft and Mujib travelled to Lahore on 23-February-1974 where he was given a very gorgeous reception like the one normally reserved for a King. President Bhutto received him and General Tikka Khan (butcher of Bangladesh) saluted him. Sheikh Mujib forgot all about the genocide in Bangladesh and embraced Bhutto and kissed his cheeks. He even invited Bhutto for a return visit to Bangladesh. It was as if Sheikh got the revenge by having his one time captors waiting on the queue to greet him. His ego was satisfied. Nothing else mattered. He even agreed to release those 195 Pakistani real war criminals that were kept in India for handing over to Bangladesh. Back in Bangladesh he ordered the release of all Razakars, Al-Badr, Al-Shams etc. On more than one occasion Sheikh Mujib said that it was time to forget 1971 and that it was time to move forward.
If we go back to history of the creation of Pakistan in 1947, we know that Jamat-e-Islami originally did not support the creation of Pakistan. Yet, later they became a big political force in Pakistan. Hussein Suhrawardy did not agree to a Pakistan without whole of Bengal or at least without Calcutta. Yet, he later not only came to Pakistan but also became its Prime Minister. Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani was another person who later reconciled to the idea of Pakistan, came here and formed Awami Muslim League (forerunner of present Awami League).
We must not forget that in 1996, Jamat had an electoral alliance with Awami League and during the first period of Hasina Government we never heard anything about the war criminals. In the next election Jamat withdrew the support from BAL (Bangladesh Awami League) and BAL lost the election. BAL felt very bitter about it and waited for revenge. Then Fakhruddin-Moin provided BAL with that opportunity. The BAL attitude can be explained in simple words – “You are not a criminals if you are with me but oppose me and you become a criminal”. What is now happening in Bangladesh is nothing other than what has been explained above. This is politics of convenience and not of genuine policies. BAL suddenly becomes so interested to punish the war criminals and purify the country after 42 years of independence. It is all to cover their misdeeds, corruption and mismanagement. The Shahbag movement is a ploy to divert attention. Not only that, it has now brought the country on the edge of a civil war. The killing, burning and other destructive activities seem to know no ends. With no office, no factories, no school-colleges and no transport, the country is on the verge of economic collapse. BAL does not care. They are bent upon their cherished goals – establish their one family rule and make it permanent.
The police and civil service has been used to suppress all democratic movements. While police chase and break-up all rallies by opposition, they provide full protection to BAL demonstrations. The Shahbag bloggers get 3-tier security and Halwa-puri and biryani to ruin the economic base of the country. They are encouraging school children (who hardly understand anything of this dirty politics) to join bloggers only to ensure that the educational foundation is totally destroyed. This is the best way to destroy the future of Bangladesh as education is the real backbone of the country. This is a conspiracy against Bangladesh and the patriotic forces of Bangladesh should rise up and defeat them.
In a democratic society people can have different views. People like Professor Gulam Azam and Moulvi Fard Ahmed supported united Pakistan. This does not mean they are enemies of Bangladesh. In that case Suhrawardi should have never become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. No one should forget that during the language movement in 1952, Professor Azam was the Secretary-General of DUCSU (Dhaka University Central Students’ Union) and a key leader of the language movement. Irrespective of his support for united Pakistan in 1971, he should be respected for his contributions to the cause of Bengali, our mother-tongue. Moulvi Farid Ahmed of Cox’s Bazar was the greatest parliamentarian we had. In the days of Ayub Khan, Farid Ahmed was the most vocal MNA from East Pakistan raising questions in the national assembly against all sorts of discrimination that East Pakistan suffered. He should have been an asset for Bangladesh if he was still alive.
It is wrong to refer to a party or a group of people as being Anti-Bangladesh forces or those trying to undo our independence. This is rubbish. The BAL is dividing the country and establishing a reign of terror and killing. We are all equal Bangladeshis and we all love our country very dearly. It is only a political ploy to divert attention away from real issues. Why was Jamat a patriotic political party when it was in alliance with BAL and today they suddenly become anti-state elements and war criminals? We know the reasons, – nothing other than attempt to hide their failures, corruption and bungling. Their biggest failure was the PeelKhana massacre. Instead of quick and decisive action they created political drama and negotiation with rebels to allow mass murder of our very competent officers. They cannot trace anything about the disappearance of BNP leader Ilyas Ali and his driver. They could not resolve anything about the murder of Sagar-Runi even after one year of the incident. They helped and encouraged corruption to such a height that World Bank had to retreat from their commitment of funding Padma Bridge. Till today the nation has been kept in darkness about the identity of those corrupt persons responsible for defaming the country. Another unique case of car load of cash bound for minister’s residence has now been hushed up. However, the nation has come to know the identity of two new super patriots. These are enough for a Government in any civilized country to resign and quit.
The shameless BAL government is clinging to power by dividing people and bringing the nation close to a civil war. They found their loyal people to create another drama at Shahbag Square. These bloggers are determined to find new agenda until all real issues are suppressed or forgotten. They want to cripple the economy of the country. They also want to isolate Bangladesh in international diplomatic arena.
Bangladesh must maintain good relations with all countries. It is not in our interest to develop hatred against any country just to please another country. Bangladesh should support and foster SAARC initiated by Late President Ziaur Rahman. Land-locked Nepal and Bhutan must be given access to international trade. Pakistan should be allowed to use Mongla for their trade with Nepal and Bhutan. Similarly Bangladesh must utilize Gwadar for its trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Having due regard to national security, Bangladesh should also allow transit and transhipment for India and china as far as possible.
Enough is enough. No more madness. We do not want the continuation of violence, killing, burning and other destructive activities. The BAL government should immediately agree to an election under a non-party, neutral care-taker Government. Let our offices, factories, schools and colleges operate to full capacity and try to recover the losses. I urge up on all political parties and personalities to have respect for each other and have more tolerance. Please refrain from any ambition of family dynasty. Party is higher than individual and country is higher than that. Let us work together and move forward to a peaceful and prosperous Bangladesh.