Some disturbing reports or basically ill conceived propaganda against ruling grand alliance government of Bangladesh written by someone named Jessica Fox in Sri Lanka Guardian has come to our notice. Only time will prove how much of these are objective journalism and how much are deliberate yellow journalism to confuse readers and vitiate environment of Bangladeshi political climate. These might be aimed at barricading legal processes against war criminals, organized terrorism and corrupt syndicates. Bangladesh now is desperately struggling with several challenges. Though someone should not doubt the sincerity of the ruling government’s effort in war crimes trial, it could be said that the government have not succeeded in all its efforts. There is no doubt that it could not implement all its election pledges.
In a report “Ghost of 1/11 returning in Bangladesh” of the lady published on May 02, 2012 may be analyzed here. People are very much aware of the background of 1/11 .We are aware that misrule of the BNP led 4 party alliance government and its desperate ploy to cling on to power through politicizing all democratic institutions laid the basis of 1/11. Their own laid out Army Junta backed the interim Government headed by their hand chosen personalities including their own President , Dr Fakharuddin Ahmed and General Moin Uddin Ahmed [ 3 Uddins]. People know who was Lt General Masud Uddin Chowdhury .We are all aware that the caretaker / interim government actually maligned all political parties and were aiming to form a new political front. But all those ill designs of few ambitious generals were foiled. So there cannot be any basis of a little known journalist carrying out propaganda war against Bangladesh stating that Ghost of 1/11 is returning to Bangladesh. However, some of the weird matters she raised must be responded to.
There was an earlier report of so called “hit list “of Crusader 100. That report was an ill conceived attempt to create controversy and sour relation between India and Bangladesh. However considering the seriousness of the matter Bangladesh and Indian Government should look into it and take actions against the publications of such trash reports aiming at creating bitterness among neighbors. She wrote about some BNP leaders / activists against whom there has been allegation of plotting some destructive activities and arsenal during the recent hartals. She wrote that there was no trace of BNP General Secretary Fakhrul Islam Alamgir since the lodgment of the case. We won’t go into details of whether or not the allegations are justified or not as this is under judgment. The apprehension of the lady journalist was proved wrong as opposition leaders including Mr. Fakhrul appeared in High court seeking bail only few days after publication of the report.
There has been many unfortunate incidents during BNP led opposition organized hartals over the last few weeks when public properties were vandalized, explosives were exploded inside secretariat in front of Home Ministry, some transports were damaged in front of Prime Minister’s Office [PMO], some innocent people were killed, bus driver was burnt to death. These incidents are well documented. It is the responsibility of any government to protect life and property of innocent civilians. No person responsible for such incidents can remain above law. Lodging cases against persons suspected for plotting such incidents cannot be compared with mass arrest of political leaders of all parties after 1/11. The lady journalist misconstrued the recent police actions of against opposition leaders following several untoward incidents during hartal. The time was very critical as well. VVIPs like Japanese Deputy Premiere, US Secretary of States and Indian Minister Pranab Mukherjee visited Bangladesh almost at the same time.
There is however no doubt that Politics in Bangladesh unfortunately follow mutual hatred, disbelief and mistrust. During 4 party alliance rule Two MPs -Late SAMS Kibria and Late Ahsanullah Master were killed while they were addressing at public meetings. Ruling government at that time took no genuine initiative to nab the killers, uncover the plotters. A deliberate attempt was made at the heart of the capital Dhaka in broad day light to wipe out senior leadership of Awami League including the then leader of the opposition and present PM Sheikh Hasina on Ausgust 21st massacre in front of Awami League office. Present incidents cannot be compared to those acts of BNP regime. Leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia in recent times had several anti government rallies and agitation programs with little or no obstruction from any quarter. There has been no attempt to kill her by government sponsored terrorist groups.
Political leaders in public meetings in Bangladesh are pelting stones at each other and uttering many non sensible phrases. Some mid- level leaders of both ruling alliance and opposition are very often are crossing the battery limits of sensible political statements. The politics is definitely back on the lanes dark of confrontation and chaos [deliberately created by opposition]. But still the situation is much better that that of 2005 which created 1/11.
We do not understand what made the lady journalist to write “AL will make sure that the opposition voices are completely suffocated, while it will march ahead with the agenda of establishing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s one-party system once again in the country, prior to the general election, which is scheduled for 2014”. The lady Journalist definitely has no knowledge of Bangabandhu and his BAKSHAL Concept. It is not felt necessary either to argue with her about it here. She also stated that Indo –US lobby is trying to neutralize Chinese influence in the region. It is not new that International Masters will always try to balance influence of competing forces in the region. USA will always try to neutralize Chinese influence in the region and Indo –US relationship will always try to achieve that goal. It is real and none can deny it.
The Hardliner Mystery
Let us see what the lady journalist wrote about Hardliner Mystery: “All on a sudden, the AL government has gone into hard-line policy by lodging criminal cases against most of the top-brasses in the opposition quarters, while it has also decided to lock them into prison at least for a period between 3-6 months, with numerous charges, which would come at a later stage. The reason behind such tougher decision is, the AL government is pledge-bound of signing a number of treaties during the “joint-visit” of Hillary Clinton and Indian minister Pranab Mukherjee, which will take place during 5-6th May. Washington wants to get the TIFA treaty along with several contracts on the oil-gas blocks at Bay of Bengal singed during Hillary’s visit, while India specifically wants five treaties to be sealed during Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming tour. The Indian desired treaties are: Full fledged corridor facilities to India, both on land and river route enabling it to mobilize “civilian” and “military”cargoes onto the north-eastern states, Allowing Indian Central Bureau of Investigation along with other “counter-terrorism” forces to conduct raids, investigations, interrogations and arrests “in special occasions” within Bangladeshi territory for the “sake of countering terrorism and jihadist activities”, while the Indian counterpart will have legal access to existing data of the Bangladeshi law enforcing and intelligence agencies, Handing over ULFA leader Anup Chetia along with other members, who are inside Bangladeshi prison, Allowing Indian army to join Bangladeshi forces “in case of emergency and necessity” for the sake of “protecting the democratic government” in Bangladesh, Giving 3-4 oil and gas blocks at Bay of Bengal to Indian mining companies.
“It is understood that Indian lobby at Washington has been making strong efforts in convincing the US administration in extending support to Delhi’s demands, in order to ensure Bangladesh from being free from any possible influence of China in particular.”
But what happened in those tours? TIFA was not signed, there were no discussions on offshore gas block leasing and transit matters were not discussed. Pranab was special guest in the concluding session of Biswa Kobi Rabindranath Tagore Birth Anniversary celebration. He off course talked about Indian Government commitment in finalizing all agreed deals at the sonnest. He said that no common rivers will come under River connecting program of India. He reassured that Tipai Mukh dam will not harm Bangladesh. He also announced that 20% of the Indian Loan to Bangladesh will be turned into grant. Hillary Clinton talked about political stability and expressed her concern about ongoing political instability and urged upon all parties to return to discussion table to break the political impasse. Rather opposition leader in her meetings with Indian Minister and US Secretary of state’s complained against government actions requesting Indian Minister to delink with BAL. Hillary met Nobel Laurite Prof Mohammad Yunus and Sir Fazle Hussian Abed of BRAC. These two gentlemen however echoed the demands of opposition leader.
Now that the VVIP’s visit is over can we ask the lady Journalist the following questions: Has TIFA been signed, has any offshore gas blocked been handed over to US or Indian Companies, has transit treaty been signed, has Anup Chetia been handed over? None of her ill conceived speculations and wild guess has come true. So what is the credibility or authenticity of her report?
She also wrote about government actions against Tareq and Koko. All who knows will go with us those two sons of Zia – Khaleda were involved in massive corruption and other unsocial activities during her mother’s last term in state power. There have been several credible evidences against them about money siphoning. Tareq virtually run shadow government through his HAWA Bhaban syndicate. There are several pending cases against them and court has declared them absconding .Tareq and Koko must face legal actions. None is above law. We will never demand any immunity against any ruling party Ministers or their children if there is any authentic and credible allegations against them now or in future.
She wrote about repression of press stating about some actions following publications of some controversial reports in Sri Lanka Guardian. Media – both print and electronic are enjoying the highest freedom now than ever before. True there are some isolated incidents of harassment of some media personality’s .But in some cases some journalists also behave irresponsibly. We are also concerned about abduction of political activists, murder of Journalist couple [Sagar –Runi]. But we also strongly condemn irresponsible opposition actions of creating chaos and anarchy, destruction, arsenal of public property and killing of innocent citizens. The opposition actions following abductions of Ilyas Ali may give wrong signal that Opposition may have plotted this incident to create a situation of launching anti government agitation. But we also want the end of abduction and unconstitutional cross fire and other sad incidents. There has been several other issues of public interest like Market price of essentials, Gas-Power –Water scarcity, grid locks. Opposition is not bothering about all these.
The political situation and overall situation of Bangladesh is now passing through a critical stage. Democratic government has another one and a half year term. Opposition must play its role in parliament in strengthening democracy. There is no possibility of undemocratic force coming to power in Bangladesh in foreseeable future. Opposition must talk across the table with government party to resolve political impasse. All must wait for next election due in early 2014. Government and opposition must go to the people with election pledges. There must be some meeting of minds about the kind of establishment under which the next election will be conducted. What should be the composition of interim government? There is no last word in politics. We must remember people of Bangladesh can do or undo anything. People are no longer naïve in Bangladesh.
We request the Lady Journalist Jessica Fox to refrain from writing ill conceived reports having no basis. These make her credibility questionable.