M. Shahidul Islam
The prolonged precipitation of hot wind in the horizon seldom ends up without causing a natural disaster. Our country has been under the spell of unbearable political climate for too long. Shall we not expect a bang anytime soon?
How that bang may manifest itself may not be precisely known, but the world is stunned by the persistent barbarity of the ruling AL since coming to power in 2009. In recent weeks, its repressive juggernaut has unleashed too much of venoms, almost to the point of being infectious and deadly.
After four years of AL rule, no opposition or neutral personalities and institutions can look at the mirror without discovering the scars of its onslaughts on them. This party has insulted all the dissenting intellectuals of the country; shackled media outlets seeking to divulge truth; systematically strived to obliterate all dissents; hedonistically and cunningly by-passed issues to bury its own records of corruptions and criminality.
Today, we’re supposed to mourn the deaths of well over 100 political activists over the last three weeks alone. But, we also must revisit the agonies of the 2009 Peelkhana massacre; the Padma bridge scam; the Destiny, Hallmark, Sonali bank, Bishawjit muder, and a slew of other corruption and criminal indictments which the government has wriggled itself out by cunningly diverting the issues and the headlines one after another.
Yet, the espoused fairness of the war crime trial was troubled by a Skype scandal; the stand for the Shahbag bloggers turned unsustainable after discovery of blasphemous activities of the people the government sponsored to hit the ground to take the Islamists head on.
The latter issue (Shahbag) has so boomeranged that the bulk of the people on street during Jamaat’s protestation are found to be the ordinary, non-descript Muslims who do don’t subscribe to any particular political party.
If one is now asked to take a stock of what the government has achieved so far by indulging in actions that were not only anti-democratic and illegal – many of those actions, like the mass murder of unarmed protesters by police across the country, one finds little in the ledger.
The only discernible achievement so far is that the government is still clinging onto power and finds itself seemingly impregnable to any major pushes from any corner, thanks to the recent visit to Dhaka of the Indian Prime Minister to signal his country’s readiness to stand by the AL at any cost.
We’ve now learnt that India would not rule out the possibility of a military intervention in Bangladesh if the ruling AL is found to be overpowered by forces from any quarter. Such a commitment was made personally by President Pronob Mukherjee to our PM during his recent visit to Dhaka.
The assurance may have surged the AL’s sagging morale, but, to be honest, it stinks badly when one hears that the alleged elected government of a 160 million strong nation needs military protection from outside to survive. That reality has ushered in only due to the fundamental philosophical flaws of most of the AL leaders who think Bangladesh is part of India.
Last week, one of the cabinet ministers, Syed Ashraf, even said our ancestors did not want to join Pakistan in 1947. The minister’s level of punditry is utterly deplorable. He needs to learn that Pakistan became a reality only because the Bengali Muslims voted for Pakistan. Had there been no East Pakistan in 1947, there would be no Bangladesh in 1971. Look at Kashmir, Punjab, Assam and at least 10 other independence-craving nations of the subcontinent who could never make it out of Delhi’s clutches. Now look at the losses of the government so far from such high stake political gambling.
First of all, its desire and the determination to conduct an election without participation of the BNP, Jamaat, et al, had hit the frustrating stone wall. Those two parties have proven their street prowess and demonstrated a die-hard grit not to give in to the state-terrorism of a party that has shown to have little respect for human rights.
Secondly: The scheme to amend the Constitution to replace the care taker provision for polling has failed to bring back any dividend for the ruling AL. We now feel that, if an election is the most desirable solution to the ongoing crisis, it will be an election not under the ruling AL which has squandered all its credibility to conduct anything fairly or judiciously, let alone a national election.
Can the government still change its course to pull the nation from the brink? There being nothing final in politics, to diffuse the ongoing mayhem in the shortest possible time, the government should immediately declare an election schedule and sit with all the stakeholders to devise its modalities. Let’s not forget that, if this particular issue got addressed early on, the nation would not have crawled to a civil war like situation and the AL could even hope to derive some electoral dividend too for its honourable conducts.