Photo: Mrs. Khaleda Zia in a Press Conference, by Liton Rahman,DrikNEWS.
Mrs Khleda Zia, Chairperson BNP and Leader of Opposition (now abstaining from the Bangladesh parliament) has issued two statements recently about the running of the affairs of the present government. Awami League led Mahajote Government has just completed its first year. Neutral observers would agree that Bangladesh has made notable progress in many areas despite of several constraints and crisis. After massive misrule, poor governance, state sponsored corruption and terrorism nation has just started turning around. Agriculture sector has achieved massive growth. Law and order has significantly improved. The government has initiated process to normalise relations with neighbours. Several contentious issues are expected to be discussed with positive frame of mind during the ensuing visit of Prime Minister Hasina. Yes some areas like Energy, price spirals of essentials need a lot of improvement. Government is endeavouring to that effect.
Mrs Khaleda has said, “The country is not being run by the elected representatives of Bangladesh. The country is run through remote control from outside.The government is acting against the interests of the country”. In another lecture in a Conference she said, “People with receive with garlands if PM Hasina returns with achievement from India but if she returns sacrificing the country’s interest she will make her path thorny”.
Leader of the opposition in a democratic form of the government is the PM of the shadow government. Democracy provides scope for opposition to debate any government actions and policies in the parliament. Unfortunately on silly pretext opposition led by Khaleda is abstaining from parliament. It is trying to blackmail the government raising new excuses. Opposition is issuing controversial statements on issues which they themselves muddled up while they ruled or misruled the country in the past.
Wonder why Khaleda and BNP are so allergic about India? Can any one deny our geographic reality? Can a tiny country afford to remain hostile to India? General Ziaur Rahman who created BNP in the Cantonment using state power and while still in uniform had to take shelter in India during liberation war and take their assistance to lead his Z force in the liberation war. Mrs Zia off course was the guest of the occupation force and did not see it all. During her rule Bangladesh sheltered Indian and Pakistani terrorists and made Bangladesh safe passage of Arms haul for Indian separatists Guerrillas to destabilise India. The present government is endeavouring to control these. What is the harm if Bangladesh and India can jointly combat terrorism for the mutual benefit of both countries?
Bangladesh and India are also endeavouring to resolve boundary disputes and border disputes. Extradition treaty of convicted criminals is also under discussion agenda. India is also due to assist Bangladesh in dredging rivers and improving Railway infrastructures. They are trying to reduce trade deficits ensuring removal of tariff and non tariff barriers on Bangladeshi export commodities access to India. What are the harms in these? Bangladesh and India are talking more positively on river water sharing issues – Tessta Water sharing, Tipai Mukh Dam, Energy sector Co operation. Wonder how Asian Highway Network is also going to harm Bangladesh? What are wrong in these?
I think all sensible citizen of Bangladesh deserves right to seek explanation from Khaleda about her statements. What made her convinced that the country is not being run by the elected representatives? She must be very specific in her statement. Who according to her is running the country? Her second part of the statement even contradicts with the first. If she is convinced that some force other than Mahajote government is running the show then the question of protecting the country’s interest cannot be apportioned on them. If some neutral person analyse Khaleda statement he/she may conclude that these are highly irresponsible and unbecoming of a person who also ran the government as head of it.
Regarding her other statements about making the path of PM thorny after return from India visit it must be said she acted like illiterate village lady. PM Hasina will be dealing mostly issues which could be resolved if Khaleda approached these with positive frame of mind during her rule. Tipai Mukh Dam issue did not come up all on a sudden now. Over the 5 years rule of BNP- Jamat last term there were no fruitful discussions. Bangladesh did not even try to assess what were the aims and objectives of the projects? The opposition did not allow its parliamentarians to visit India when MP Abdur Razzak led Parliamentary team had useful discussions. Without knowing the implications it is highly unethical of a person to even talk about it. Wonder whether she understands the difference between dam and barrage! Bangladesh is following correct strategy now. Nothing that harms Bangladesh we believe will be done at TMD. That is the assurance Bangladesh is getting from Indian authority.
Maritime boundary dispute is another contentious issue. Mahajote Government in one year achieved significant progress. May we ask Khaleda what her government did over her 2001-2006? Bangladesh never even officially protested when India and Myanmar encroached our maritime area in several of their surges for exploring petroleum. Bangladesh did not make any efforts to explore or even carry out survey of its maritime resources. The present government has taken positive initiatives. Bangladesh is carrying out discussions with neighbours and at the same time served official notice of arbitrations against claims of neighbours. Will Mrs Khaleda tell the nation where the faults of Hasina government here are?
People have voted at least 30MPs of BNP to debate and discuss national issues in the parliament. But opposition is boycotting parliament. The country is running much better than before. There are no organised terrorism, no anarchy, and no major acts of corruption. Government is endeavouring to reconstruct the country from the ruins left behind by Khaleda government. In one year several milestones have been achieved. Khaleda with anti liberation forces are indulged in anti government conspiracies. In this situation the statements of Khaleda are unfortunate and deplorable. She is unfortunately trying to throw stones sitting in the glass house.
Kh. A. Saleque (Saleque Sufi) is the ex-Director (Operation) GTCL and writes from Australia.
[Read all posts by Kh. A. Saleque]