London based prestigious newspaper; The Economist has come under serious criticism by prominent leaders and academics of the ruling party in Bangladesh for publishing two commentaries on its Saturday, May 26 2012 edition titled “Bangladesh’s toxic politics: Hello Delhi” and “Politics in Bangladesh banged about“.
Rejecting outright both the articles, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said, “The British magazine is used to write against the Awami League by taking bribes from anti-liberation forces and the BNP.”
He alleged that the newspaper carried many reports with malafide intention soon after the present government assumed power. Condemning the magazine’s comment, “As Sheikh Hasina looks ever more strident, people may start tiptoeing away from her”, Hanif referred to the recent survey of the United States-based Gallup poll that showed 77 percent people of the country kept their trust in Hasina.
Protesting the comment, “It is up to India try to stop Sheikh Hasina ruining Bangladesh”, Hanif said, “Bangladesh is an independent and sovereign state. The people elect the country’s prime minister. Involvement of any third country in its internal affairs is illogical and contradictory to its sovereignty.”
Referring to the commentaries published in The Economist, vice chancellor of Dhaka University and pro-Awami League academic Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said, “It’s nothing but a well-conceived conspiracy of an undemocratic force of beneficiaries.”
While the ruling Bangladesh Awami League is under serious media criticism at home and abroad for its miserable failure in identifying the killers of Saudi diplomat Khalaf bin Mohammed Salem-al Ali and subsequent abduction and murder of a front-ranking leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP], M Ilias Ali, the supremos of the ruling party are visibly seen behaving in the worst ever desperate manner by ignoring the rights of expression as well as freedom of press. Political persecution in Bangladesh now has reached to its peak and it is anticipated by many quarters that the ruling party actually is now working on its blue-print of retaining power during the general election in 2014 by totally ruining any potential political opponents. It also has started using its leftist coalition partners, who also are even making open statements demanding exclusion of former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia from politics.
It may be mentioned here that the ruling Bangladesh Awami League has now become totally reluctant in investigating the murder of the Saudi diplomat was found dead following gun shoots in his chest in Dhaka’s upmarket diplomatic district of Gulshan. The murder took place at a time, when the Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have had a strained relationship recently, though Saudi Arabia is a major donor in Bangladesh. At the same time, Saudi Arabia currently employs more than two million Bangladeshis in that country. Since independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Khalaf Al Ali is the first diplomat who has been murdered in the capital city’s posh diplomatic enclave, which was already believed to be the most protected areas in the country. The reluctance of the investigating agencies and the government in identifying the killers of Saudi diplomat Khalaf bin Mohammed Salem-al Ali has finally left a very negative signal to the policymakers in Riyadh. It is feared that the Saudi government may take stern punitive actions for such negligence in investigating the murder of their diplomat by expelling more than 2 million Bangladeshi workers from Saudi Arabia.