Eminent Pakistani journalist Ikram ul-Majeed Sehgal on Sunday said the military top notches backing the present interim government should encourage holding of general elections as soon as possible.
‘I think they have done a remarkable job,’ he said adding that the role of the Army in Bangladesh should be for a short term, with specific reasons and defined mission.
Sehgal, a retired office of the Pakistan Army who is the publisher and chief editor of Pakistan’s Defence Journal told journalists while exchanging views on pre and post election scenario in Pakistan.
Organised by the Dhaka Reporters Unity at its auditorium, the programme was also attended by the DRU general secretary Elias Khan.
Asked to compare the situation in Pakistan, Sehgal said there were lot of communalities in the situation of the two countries which were disturbing.
He said, a comparatively free and fair election in Pakistan has resulted into a hung parliament, and the new government there will have to face major problems of containing price hike of essentials including ata, edible oil, lentils, electricity and water.Sehgal, who has always preferred the non-involvement of the Army in civil matters, said there were very few cases of violence during the recent election in Pakistan as the Army chief had withdrawn all of the nearly 362 senior military officials holding posts in the civil administration.
Asked whether the Bangladesh Army should do the same, he said it would be unfortunate if they do not take the lessons learnt.
Appreciating the role of the Bangladesh Army in the present situation, he said, ‘Some successes are there but failures are also there.’ He, however, did not elaborate.
Referring to the withdrawal of corruption cases against political leaders in Pakistan before the elections and whether he thought that it should be followed in Bangladesh, the editor of the Defence Journal said he was not in favour of withdrawing corruption cases against political leaders.
The trial should be transparent and the natural judiciary process should be allowed, he stated.
Regarding the role of the media in such situation, Sehgal said, ‘If you are doing the right thing, the media is your friend.’
He said, he felt only the other day while talking to some senior journalists that there were pressure on the media.
On the issue of growing ties between India and Bangladesh, including the possible resumption of railway link between the two countries, he said, ‘We should strengthen our links for the betterment of the people.’
He said it would not be possible to wish away India which is a big economic power in the neighbourhood.
‘We have to break down the barriers of apprehensions,’ he said adding that Bangladesh has to use its population to its advantage.
The eminent columnist, now visiting Dhaka, had also presented a lecture at the National Defence College at Mirpur in the morning.