The situation in Bangladesh is grave. As it bleeds it gets leads in western media. Media houses like Al-Jazeera, New York Times and Guardian portray Bangladesh violence as a power struggle between the two major political parties.
This stereotypical Hutu-Tutsi clash theory has paved the way for American interference in the internal matters of Bangladesh. As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established a tribunal to try war criminals of 1971, the aggrieved Jamaat leaders invested a huge amount of money for media campaigns. Evidence of such payments to lobbyists and PR firms is readily available.
War criminals backed by Jamaat are now desperate to install BNP in Dhaka so that they can be freed to resume their business of politics. The tribunal has already read out a few of its verdicts which prove Jamaat guilty. The party has also lost its registration at the Election Commission and is now recognized as a political entity only by the US ambassador to Dhaka. Otherwise Jamaat has been socially boycotted even by the people of Bangladesh.
It appears quite odd when the same Jamaat has been recently ex-communicated by the US ambassador to Islamabad, a replication of what we see in the Middle East where Al-Qaeda is a US friend in Syria but enemy in Iraq.
As the Jamaat in Bangladesh has lost its legal status to run for election as a party and recent polls show a huge downfall in its public support, Jamaat’s interest in the upcoming elections makes no ethical sense. However, the main opposition party is heavily dependent on Jamaat for its money and muscle due to BNP’s own organizational shortcomings and financial weakness. The popularity of some BNP leaders cannot be doubted but they are being held hostage by Jamaat-backed terrorism against Sheikh Hasina-led All Party interim government. BNP has been frequently requested to join this All Party cabinet for peaceful elections, negotiations are at play to curb the power of the prime minister and BNP is being offered important portfolios like the Home Ministry or whichever it thinks can ensure a level playing ground. So much so, Sheikh Hasina has even offered to step down and hold elections under the President; a person widely accepted by both the parties. But it’s the Jamaat that calls the shots for BNP in an undisguised attempt to foil civic progress in democracy with militancy and so-called Jihad.
Opposition leader Khaleda Zia is looking forward to an American interference. She published an open letter to American President Barak Obama requesting him to intervene in the internal politics of Bangladesh. Her aim seems to be quite apparent: to somehow regain power and install her son, Tariq Rahman, exiled in London and facing charges of corruption and violence, as her political heir to the throne.
The ongoing violence also aims to get an unelected third force into play as an interim administration which could then be coerced to serve the purpose of right wingers in Bangladesh. The All Party government is trying its best to stop that from happening.
Meanwhile, Gonojagoron, the progressive youth movement started on February 05, 2013, continues its nonviolent protest against the ultra rightwing Jamaat. This socio-political awakening has the potential to breed Bangla Nobojagoron (Renaissance).
During the past five years of Sheikh Hasina governance, Bangladesh has emerged as the one of the most promising economies of South Asia; per capita income doubled, economy maintained a 6+ GDP growth and the country achieved record monetary reserves. With education reforms, women empowerment, mother and child health care, push for digitalization, enhanced power supply abilities and necessary infrastructural developments, the country is now considered a direct foreign investment destination of choice. Investors, especially from India and Pakistan, are finding an investment-friendly ground in Bangladesh.
No magic can fix decades of political corruption but Sheikh Hasina cannot be accused of not trying; matters of corruption revealed by media have mostly been taken care of one by one and those involved face trials. This is more than what can be said for the previous BNP regime under Tariq Rahman.
Bangladesh is not a heaven yet, simply a land of happy people filled with the warmth of traditional hospitality. That opens the door for both friends and foes. We strongly hope that America would not undermine this hospitality as well as our strength to resist any sort of foreign interference. Bangladesh is neither Syria nor Afghanistan. We have a higher rate of education, both modern and mystic. Even the great conqueror Alexander didn’t make any attempts towards this Delta. He wisely said that no one should dare to control people whose minds are in harmony with the magical relation between river-tides and full-moon.