Khaleda takes battle abroad

Syed Bashir

Khaleda Zia is not known for writing columns in newspapers, neither at home or abroad. But now she has written one for ‘Washington Times’, calling upon the US and western nations to come forward to ‘save democracy’ in Bangladesh.

Her attack against her rival Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is vitriolic and her delight at the World Bank action against corruption in the Padma Bridge project is unconcealed.

She is also taking a dig at Hasina , saying she aspires for the Nobel Prize .

In the process, she seems to be seeking an useful ally in Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus who nurses grievances against the Awami League government for obvious reasons.  Which is why Khaleda in her column attacks Hasina for the treatment meted out to Yunus and goes on to laud the US Congress and its leaders for coming to the Nobel laureate’s defence.

But the key focus of the ‘Washington Times’ column is unmistakeable.

It pushes the agenda for restoration of the caretaker arrangement in Bangladesh constitution so that the parliament elections due this year can be held under a neutral dispensation.

She describes the provision as an ‘insurance’ that can effect peaceful transition of power if the regime changes.

Those who follow developments in Bangladesh are familiar with the way the BNP and its leader Khaleda Zia have pitched for the return of the caretaker arrangement ever since the Hasina government annulled it through the 15thamendment.

3The column in ‘Washington Times’ repeats the arguments that Begum Zia and her party has already made.

But the real catch of the column is different.

It is a bit of a trial balloon seeking foreign intervention to bring back the caretaker system, when the street protests and road blockades have not worked and the Awami League is safe in its huge parliamentary majority to knock out any bill that the BNP may be allowed to introduce for restoring the caretaker.

Which is why the BNP is not asking for just being able to place a bill for restoring the caretaker – it wants a guarantee from the government that the bill will be passed and Bangladesh constitution will get back its caretaker provision.

That is where Hasina seems to be in no mood to oblige – and that now sends the BNP chief to test the waters abroad , specially find out  how the West reacts to her appeal for ‘saving democracy’ in Bangladesh.

In the process, she praises India for her democracy and says that when Myanmar is emerging from military rule into a democracy, it would be a tragedy if Bangladesh slips into one-party rule or rather one-family rule.

But neither India whose democracy is sixty years old nor Myanmar where it is just restored have a caretaker system for holding elections. For that matter, neither the US nor the UK or any western democracy has a caretaker provision in their constitution. India has her Election Commission . But Khaleda is clearly worried that without a caretaker neutral administration, polls in Bangladesh will be rigged.

The US has recently conceded that its ambassador in Dhaka  Dan Mozena is actively mediating between the ruling coalition and the Opposition to break the deadlock created over the caretaker issue.

The million dollar question now is how Hasina and the Awami League reacts to Khaleda’s suggestion of foreign intervention on the caretaker issue.

Source: opinion


  1. Your this “Kangaroo” Parliament is elected by the people and for the people. This is the symbol of democracy. The only way Khaeda can talk about democracy is to go to Parliament not to foreign countries.

    • who are you J Adams?it sems an agent working for you know what majority people of bangladesh is considering?go to the people and listen.people have no interest about this useless parliament.did you see what is going on in parliament?is there any people demanded discussion over padma bridge / nation wide open corruption /serial killing of prominent leaders/controlled justice set by govt etc etc?
      dont be an agent rather talk about people and their feelings

      • Aren’t you sounding like an agent of Khaleda? Have you ever heard of Khaleda writing an article or any sort of political commentary in her life? Who is this agent writing for her? Don’t you think she only cares about her Foreign Masters rather than her own people? If she really cares about her own people she should be able to solve her problems in her own country with her own people. Isn’t a shame on her to spill her own dirty rotten garbage on other people? Why is she crying out loud in foreign soil? Isn’t she sounds like Mir Jafar of 18th Century?

        Did you forget about Hawah Bhaban? Did you forget about August 21 bombing? Did you forget about the misdeeds of BNP that leads to One Eleven?

        Because of the agents and “Chamcha” like you, Khaleda dared to talk against the people of Bangladesh in foreign soil. I haven’t seen any political leaders of any civilized countries talk against her own country in foreign soil. It is only possible for foreign agents like you and Khaleda. Shame on you!!

  2. I guess both of you are right. It is the ‘Kangaroo Parliament’, and that it is the democratically elected one. Khaleda’s so-called ‘vitriolic’ criticism of Hasina is her expression of frustration, since she can’t express herself in her own country, so she chose an international media. I would like to make a point here about the vitriolic reaction Khaled’s article received in our democratic parliament, which appeared to me beyond any norms of civility. Most parliament members who spoke, in reaction to Khaleda’s article, appeared outrageously impatient beyond their acceptable limits. Let’s pray and hope that our democracy survive the bitter wrath of political sectarianism.

  3. bravo Khaleda zia ! she did the right task what was supposed to be done.hasina does not care what people of Bangladesh feel and whatever way they reacts.Hasina will listen to USA and India as she knows they are the lion but people of Bangladesh is nothing to her.i would suggest begum Zia to keep on writing such column in all international newspaper and let the world know what Hasina has been doing in her country and the world leaders should think over how to protect democracy, human rights and freedom of press in Bangladesh.

  4. Kangaroo parliament was created after the downfall of the dictator General Ershad who was the most corrupted person in Bangladesh. Bangladeshis felt they attained democracy after his removal. Actually democracy never set roots in our soil yet. Perhaps it will come one day. But having Kangaroo parliament dictated by their Hench person does not smell democracy. By being majority, you can amend the constitution to your favor, bite the opposition and will never adopt bi-partisan rulings or cooperate with one another. They are out to annihilate each other. The parliament never turned into an effective body yet. Whether it will ever be; let’s wait and see. So long the parties are controlled by one person (as mandated by a clause in the constitution); our parliament will be totally dictatorial. Neither of ladies would like to see that clause removed. The opposition will always boycott like Hasina boycotted most proceedings in the last BNP administration while conniving plots in India and the USA. She brought down BNP through mayhem and a lot of destruction of properties and people. One is not better than the other. We are only spectators like a soccer match. India vs. Pakistan cricket match. We just wave flags and try to grab a piece of scrap the PM and her cohorts throw at us. The parliament is the reflection of the people. People in BD cannot have anything better, if they keep clapping for one of the parties without looking behind the forest.

  5. I am not happy with what Khaleda did. She had no business in taking the issues of her country to another government. If indeed she felt that she did not have much option because her protests in her own country were falling in deaf ears and facing dangerous consequences, the best option for her would have been to take the case to the United Nations, but again the way UN has gone these days this probably would have meant nothing more than crying in the wilderness.

    From another more practical perspective however, Khaleda probably did the right thing – as the leader of disaffected subjects of one part of the empire she took her complains to the emperor!


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