Solution sans dialogue, how?

Mohammad Ali Sattar

So the government has decided not to budge from its present stance. Over the last week, Prime minister and her colleagues have made it more than clear that those who are even ‘thinking’ of a dialogue with the opposition are living in fool’s paradise.
Every day the government and AL party men comes out with specific declaration and have been making things clear for all to understand. That is, there would be no talks with the ‘terrorists’.

The recent initiative by Nagirik Oikyo (a non political group) to try and bring the warring factions to table has met the most furious reaction from the government side.
The letter from Oikyo to the President, Prime Minister and Begum Zia for a conciliatory move to resolve the ongoing crisis, has been termed by the government leaders as a ploy to favor the terrorist acts being carried out by the BNP and Jamaat men.
Industries Minister says that the proposal by the civil group is not acceptable and most impracticable. He emphasized that the civil society members have treated the President and Prime Minister and Begum Zia on same footing.

Govt. on hard line
Thus the standing of the civil society men is clear to the government. They are, in fact, serving the purpose of the violent politics pursued by the opposition.
More important was the declaration made by PM’s son and IT adviser to her. In a meet in Dhaka, he categorically declared that there would be no dialogue with the opposition since they are killing people. He also made it clear that government will walk on hard line to tackle the situation.
The Prime Minister, on Wednesday, told the media that there would no conversation with the BNP and Jamaat unless they withdraw the blockade and stop violence. She was perturbed by the media’s role and observed that the media is also helping the opposition glorify their brutal acts. She advised the media men not to highlight the acts of arson and hostility.
Shipping Minister has threatened that Begum Zia’s office will be tattered down brick by brick if she continues with her program. And there has been ongoing protest rally and stone throwing acts around her office. Publicity campaign against Begum Zia and her party members are also underway. Flyers are flying around castigating Begum Zia for her ‘misdeeds’. In one of the printed materials she has been labeled as ‘murtad’.
There is a strong apprehension that Begum Zia might be arrested any time. The call by various political and organizational leaders for her arrest may be complied by the concerned authorities at an opportune moment.
We also have the law enforcing agencies creating all sorts of controversy by ‘cross fire’ or ‘shoot out’ incidents. Almost every day an alleged political activist is being picked up by the police or Rab and later found dead in mysterious conditions.
These things certainly point to different situations that are emerging every day. If the government is really trying to come down hard on all activities of the opposition or so-called political activists then these have to be strictly monitored so that no innocent fall victim.

Lawmen yet to impress people
Rather, the police and Rab would do well if they can contain the petrol bombers. They are yet to   impress with their fitting role in containing violence across the country.
Innocent commuters from all walks of life don’t deserve painful end to their precious lives.  People don’t want to see burn units of the hospitals across the country filled with wailing victims and their close kin.
So the law enforcers ought to be more concentrated on curbing crimes and bring people into confidence. One senior journalist commented that if the police do not stop being rude and unfair with people, why they would expect people to be with them in maintaining peace. This is a crucial observation.
However, the most perturbing point today is, the state administration is all up against any sort of agitation. The policy of random arrests, detention, cross fires and blasting of all comments and suggestions by any quarter shall not bring about a positive outcome for the government and the country.
History is replete with instances of ‘dialogue’ between sore enemies. With the time and inevitability, conflicting parties find no other way than the only path of ‘talks’.
Even US have changed the terminology that they used for the Taliban. From terrorists the Taliban are now ‘armed insurgents’- hence no problem for a dialogue with them.
Our own Chittagong hill tracts peace with the shanti bahini insurgents was a welcome step. This was done only to tame the violence and let peace prevail in the hills. However, not all the conditions in the peace treaty have been implemented by the government.
For the sake of peace leaders around the world are shuttling between countries, spending sleepless nights in negotiating acceptable terms of settlement.

Solve political problems by dialogue
From Africa, to Europe to the Middle East – there has been intensive action going on for a peaceful settlement of conflicts. Even the leaders of hard core foes of West Asia – Palestine and Israel- have met many times across the table for peace.
So we need to understand our own problems. The current situation is uncalled for. The core zP
Giving a tolerable space to the opposition could be one of the steps towards negotiation. The opposition, will surely, look for an opportunity where they can call off the agitation thus saving the people the pain and agony that they endure every day.
In fact, BNP is all for dialogue, may be the agenda needs little bit of modification. It’s now the government to respond for political problems calling for political solution. Dialogue is the means.
How sweetly our leaders manage to forget that democracy remains a far cry.

Source: Weekly Holiday

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