a la Pakistan?

Tasneem Khalil

Tasneem Khalil

Photo: General Moeen Uddin Ahmed.

[Zafa Noor, USA.]

A day after the most controversial adviser of current government Mainul Hosein claimed the current government was a “national government backed by the army,” General Moeen Uddin Ahmed decided to put the chip back in its place by the following statement:

“I don’t think so. Government is here and it’s a caretaker government


25 Responses to “a la Pakistan?”

  1. Corporal Shihab

    Zafa: Why don’t you see the comment in plain text. Government has many hands to run the country. It is the civil administration, police, armed forces. Parliament and the judiciary are separate and with the same goal all of the bodies are moving forward. May be slow… but they started get going.

  2. Tahsin Hyder

    I don’t think Zafa tried studying the nature of Bangladeshi politics. Since the liberation of 1971, there were 9 presidents in just 11 years that came and went back to graves or jails. Who’s talking about democracy then. Till 95 BNP ruled the nation. Then what, people were so dissatisfied by the regime that they again wanted a change. So AL came to power. That what? It dragged the country into more lawlessness. Then BNP’s rule again. And now see this. We need some alternative that can reform the structure of administration so that it can work towards building safety in the coming years. Look at the judiciary at the moment. People from village sell everything they have before coming to the courts to seek justice. You will find people in courts spending years, even decades. What’s that for? Even high level government officials still believe that the separation of judiciary must be a “very lengthy’ processes.

  3. Anon

    Interestingly, BDNEWS24 is reporting that Professors Anwar Hossain and Haroon-or-Rashid has alleged “mental torture.” Please note they alleged mental torture only, not physical torture. Now, what does this tell us about the credibility, motives of our Fox-style podcast interviewer and Sanjeeb Hossain?

  4. Imran

    I am sad to see Professor Anwar Hossain apologizing to the army, “from the jawan to the chief of army staff,” in his words. He used the word “khoma” in his statement. I believe that such a statement is despicable. The students demonstrated against military dictatorship. They demonstrated so that the military would lift the emergency thus re-instituting the people’s freedom and making way for democracy. I say that Dr. Hossain has betrayed the students, teachers and above all, the people of Bangladesh. He may claim that he did so under duress but who gave him the right to do so on behalf of the students of DU? The problem with today’s so-called leaders is that they cave in too easily, only to save their souls. It is because of such crude attitude, the country is in the hands of Moinuls and Moeens.

  5. Mash

    Imran, I think you are being too harsh on Dr. Hossain. It it fairly clear that they are making these statements under duress. They have said as much. We should all protest the dehumanizing treatment being meted out to these professors.

  6. Muhamad Lodhi

    Zapa apa, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of tree-hugging. Try it at least once. 🙂 I think Gen. Moeen Uddin Ahmed shaheb would like us to be duped into believing that he’s emulating the Indian model rather than the Pakistani model.

  7. Someone

    I specially want to say something about two comments.

    Dear Imran, don’t be upset so much. Even our pioneer Galileo once begged for “forgiveness,” and we why he said this then. Dr. Anwar was “apologizing”! We can assume how it was possible. By playing this drama, our army has widened their distance with the people, students and teachers. Obviously the army will suffer for this.

    Another matter… dear Zafa, don’t think our army chief is such a poor thinker. We always like to say that their brains lie in their knees. But surprisingly their poor brain has always governed countries years after years. Martial law is a model, is a pattern. In Bangladesh, you know (I am surprised why you don’t quote this in your write-up), before the take over of power, Lt. General Ershad, too, said in an interview in Bichitra with Shahadat Chowdhury, that army is a part of government and we should (need) specify the fields and areas of partnership. Maybe Moeen U is cleverer than Ershad. So he has omitted the last line pu forward by Ershad then.

    We need to think about US policy and regional politics to understand the current political situation of Bangladesh. Also, need to analyze the role of ‘civil’ society. It is really alarming that a portion of civil society and the forth estate are directly involved with army’s political campaign. They have been involved circulating a totally new philosophy and agenda: no political parties but only army and civil society are patriots. Civil society, under the umbrella of a newspaper group and a policy planning centre has arranged many round table to prove their so called patriotism and at last invited and welcomed army to march with them.
    Poor civil society! Now they just fulfilled the dream of Ershad through the hands of Moeen U Ahmed!

  8. Imran

    Mash: When I saw this episode on TV, I was hurt. I just hope and pray that Dr. Hossain did it under duress. Asking the khakis for forgiveness for giving us back OUR constitutional rights is not acceptable. It’s the khakis who should apologize to our nation for making a mockery of democracy during most of the existence of our nation.

    Down with military rule!

  9. ESAR

    I tend to agree with Corporal Shihab. Also Zafa’s statement that, “Army is not…a democratic country” is flawed. In my personal opinion, it should read MATURED democratic Country. In a country such as Bangladesh, where democracy has continuously been abused as a tool for advancement of self serving agendas by professional, corrupt politicians, army (not to my liking) do and always will play a silent yet proactive role in civil government(s). The army chief merely spoke of reality, there is nothing new in his statement.

    Furthermore, the students beating up an army in uniform has far reaching consequences beyond insulting the defence forces. Please don’t forget that in a country like Bangladesh, where political leaders and activists are both prone to destructive actions, the army is the only force whom parties from all spectrum of the political divide fear and thus respect. Should the need arise (as it had taken place during the 1/11 period), the army is the only neutralizing factor remaining that can save the country from political civil war. As such the theory that the 2nd and 3rd days riots were instigated by evil forces, enticing the students to attack the army purposely to destroy the image and respect of the last remaining neutralizing factor in Bangladesh political theatre is too premature to reject. If limbs of students were indeed broken, in front of parents or not, it was wrong. But I support the army’s attempt to root out any element that purposefully, systematically and in a planned manner attempts to destroy the image and respect of the army on the eyes of the populace by attacking them in front of the media for global exposure. I am certain that Zafa is a patriot but, she should give more credit to the army as out last remaining hope for domestic peace. Without them we have only the police, ansar or may be the “gram proteerokkha bahinee” as the last resort!

    Keep on walking.. You will never walk alone!

  10. Only Three Notes

    Lol… I think the army thinks we are stupid. They think that by using puppets and playing with words they will make us understand that the caretaker government is holy.

  11. Toricelli

    Dr. Yunus: A true patriot speaks:

    Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus on Wednesday urged all to have patience for the next 15 months to have a free, fair and acceptable general election to consolidate democracy. Yunus, also the managing director of Grameen Bank, made the remarks to newsmen after a brief function marking the release of a commemorative stamp published by Bangladesh Postal Department on him and his Grameen Bank for winning the Nobel Prize.

    Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed released the commemorative postage stamp and the first day cover at the International Conference Centre in the afternoon. Appreciating the eight-month-old caretaker government’s various pragmatic steps and institutional reforms, Yunus said, “Our main task is to hold elections in a fair manner.” He said the caretaker government took various reform measures and important decisions in only six months, which may take a long time for a political government.

    Yunus said we all will have to be careful so that such steps go on smoothly to reach the goal and do not deviate from the main objective of holding the election in due time. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said the country has got an election commission acceptable to all which is moving ahead wonderfully in the right direction as per its announced roadmap to hold elections by December 2008. Asked about the price hike of essentials, Yunus said it is a temporary matter. Some day-to-day incidents may take place. “But all will have to be careful so that we don’t deviate from our main objective.” Expressing his feelings about the commemorative postage stamp, he said, “I’m so glad and happy for this event to make the achievement (wining Nobel) memorable. (My) Colleagues in Grameen Bank will also be happy.”

  12. Corporal Shihab

    Cipher, posts you mentioned are constitutional posts which can not be removed by even a political government. If you talk about Anti Corruption Commission, yes it is led by the ex-army chief. Please be sure that they are plotting something good for us. Perhaps you have seen the performance of ACC since last government (One IO did not carry out a single investigation in last 8 years). I guess you have also noticed that how they are trying to bring corrupt people to justice. Please allow them some time to come up.

  13. Someone

    Corporal Saheb, I see!

    You are always in favor of the army! You can not even digest any emotional view or informed comment on them. Yes, some army officers are engaged in some constitutional posts. But not only these, there are many other important posts which they captured after 1/11. It is alarming. Some are now in constitutional posts, does it mean we don’t want to say anything about them?

    But just think, why were they appointed? Why not engage any member of the civil society, say, Muzaffar Ahmed for ACC?
    Now ACC is only targeting civilian political leaders, selectively. Why not Syeed Iskandar? Because he is a retired army member?

    What about Moeen Uddin Ahmed? Is he dhoa tulshi pata himself? He took a housing loan in December 2005. Within a year, December 2006, he returned around 60 lacs taka to the bank. How was that possible, if he is not a corrupt man? For details you can see Trust Bank’s year-ending prospectus online. He is Chairman of Trust Bank and his Brother is the director General of that bank, that violates directives from the central bank. And he talks against paribartrantra! May be his brother is an efficient banker. But according to central bank rules and regulations, it is simply illegal. How can we expect something good from these people? Note how Shakhawat Hussain has been rewarded with the post of an election commissioner, though he lost his army job for corruption.

    Hasan Mashud was abroad most of the time for his training and posting… for this reason maybe he is not corrupt like Syed, Shakhawat or Moeen. So Corporal Saheb, please look at your favorite faces… they are corrupted to their bones. And can you name at least one country, where army established DEMOCRACY or worked towards a corruption-free society? Yes, we want a patriotic army, but don’t want it in state power. We allowed them to run the show from January to August. But no more.

  14. Afraid

    What about Moeen Uddin Ahmed? Is he dhoa tulshi pata himself? He took a housing loan in December 2005. Within a year, December 2006, he returned around 60 lacs taka to the bank. How was that possible, if he is not a corrupt man?

    Thanks for sharing the info. But from where did you get this? Can you please clarify?

  15. Nazzina

    Cipher, good to see you here and agree with your thought as well as what Only Three Notes had to say. Imran, I understand your sadness because I was upset to see that as well. I just switched the channel and haven’t been watching the news since then.

  16. Tasneem Khalil

    Toricelli @ #11. Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂 This gentleman never stops amazing me. Read this side by side with this:

    Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus yesterday expressed satisfaction over performance of the chief adviser to the caretaker government.

  17. Corporal Shihab

    Dear Somone, Gen. Moeen is the Chairman of Trust Bank only because he is the army chief. Yes may be nowhere in the world army established DEMOCRACY or worked towards a corruption-free society. But it is Bangladesh and it needs caretaker government… only ONE in the world… Hasan Mashud is a legend for his honesty. Time will prove that. My rank says why I favour the army. But I also honour the emotional comments posted here. But you should also listen me, too.

  18. Cipher

    And here I was thinking at least Internet is still safe to express my thoughts.

  19. someone

    Attention 1: Dear affraid,

    For your kind information about Mr. Moin, please check this:

    http://www.csebd.com/cse/download/Prospectus_TRUSTBANK.pdf

    Attention 2: Dear Corporal Shihab

    Obviously I listen the voice of you and want to listen again…

    See, I have no intention to prove Mr. Hasan Mashud as someone wrong (because I have no information like this). As I said before, because he was in posted almost all time in abroad (you could read or may be already read the article on HMC in Prothom Alo’s Chutir Fade), may be he had no communication with the mainstream of the army- who are basically corrupted and want to share the statepower. But, could you explain, how he said that ‘I do not have courage to ask for wealth statement from advisors’? Is he not in a constitutional post which is more powerful than advisories? Is he a chairman like ex ACC? Is it ambarrasing to ask the statement of ex army officer Mr. M.A. Matin or Tapon Chowdhury or Barister Moinul or Giti ara Safi or Fakhruddin or any others’ wealth and property? May be he will, then, find out that all are like Nazmul Huda or Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir!

    The other thing about bank:

    Well, Gen. Moeen is the Chairman of Trust Bank ‘only because he is the army chief’. But legally, Moeen or Iqbal (who is his brother), only one of them can act as director.

    For verification, I request you, please, go to Bangladesh bank website.

    http://www.bangladesh-bank.org/

    Then, again please, go to Regulation And
    Guidelines
    After that go to and read Prudential Regulations for Banks.

    See, what the law say in here:
    ”1. Constitution of the Board of Directors:-
    b) This restriction shall apply to appointment/reappointment of the directors against retirement or filling casual vacancy subject to section 15 Ka Ka of the Bank Companies Act, 1991. -Not more than one member of a family will become director of a bank. For this purpose family members shall include spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters of the director and other persons dependent on him/her.”

    Is Mr. Moin’s family above on this law, because he is the army chief, not a civil anyone?

    I beg your pardon, sir. Because as a bloody civilian, I have no right to show the rules and regulations, no right to questions about honesty of the army officers!

  20. Nazzina

    Corp Shihab says “Hasan Mashud is a legend for his honesty”

    Oh for God’s sake stop making an angel out of him each and every time. The guy is my relative and I know VERY well what kind of person he is.He planted ONLY marigolds for THREE years!!! He did NOTHING but ruined MANY officers career. Honesty doesn’t come as cheap as not-looting away money but also from the heart as well. He may not looted the army or government funds but this man absolutely corrupt from the very core of his soul!

  21. Iconus Clustus

    This is a lively debate – extremely useful and to the point. However, just like it is in the national level, this forum is also showing the plus and minus of the military rule and I am afraid, it has become quite apparent that military rule cannot and will not take us anywhere closer to the golden deer we are looking for.

    For those who like to blame everything on the politicians and whine about how corrupt and dishonest they have been, I would like you all to consider the following:

    1. Civil administration/s have been in power for about 15-17 years, while the military have been in power for the rest of 36 years of our lives in BD.

    2. Army is privileged — they get a place to live, ration, respect (however psuedo it may be), and now UN mission. So, no need to make more money through active corruption. What they do is follow orders from the big brothers… execute their ideas and remain safe in their cantonments.

    3. It is childish and naive to think they are neutral… someone, I believe the Corporal in the forum, believes that. Amazing… does he not know how many cup de tats took place in this country??? Wonder what all of that suggests to him or the like-minded people.

    4. The bottom line… something political analysts and activists had surmised a long long time ago… the middle and upper middle class elites wanted a revolution… a revolution in their parlance would provide a capitalistic “stable” government that will create an impression of tranquility in the urban centers… this is a want of the West. They could never materialize this with the political parties ruling the country… so, when the conflict between AL-BNP rose to a height which the Western force could aptly call “adequate to announce emergency rule,” they jumped in. Of course, with the help of the military and professed backing of the USA and UK… more so of the UK… look how vocal the Desi-UK man is these days. Along with this sinister plan (and yes, this is sinister, NOT the students rising and revolting against the junta!!!), of course the right-religionists will and always have thrived (which the elites are downplaying only to be suffering in their hands in time…) under such conditions.

    5. Result: Rise of Jamaat. Rise of the middle and upper middle class. Widened gap between the richest and poorest quintiles of population. 150 million duped and sedated for decades to come. USA and UK and possibly India reaping the benefits… the port, the road, the energy deals, and finally the IMF-PSI deal.

    6. Yunus: Though the person has become a joke in the current scene, but if scene from an ideological point of view, he serves all the purposes so very well that it is not funny anymore.

    My thinking has always been something like the following… the West would and could have served its purpose through BNP the best, but Tarek along with this idiotic band of thugs went a bit too far where even a bourgeoisie party like AL had to stand up against them… in fact, they would have completely failed if the people weren’t actually really really pissed of at the BNP government. Therefore, they had to come up with an alternative… YesUddin didn’t serve the purpose, now a WB banker will – especially when he has the support of not just Moeen U, but the biggest military might in the world – the USA. The stupid president there keeps on saying good things about the CTG almost on a constant basis!

    We need to get organized… and that too from the root level… social movements first, and then slowly but surely to address the root causes… true we have fallen a lot behind… but, it is hard to deal with opposition that is so huge… I often feel very very helpless.

  22. someone

    I mean US politics about Bangladesh, that means their foreign policy about Bangladeash. Sorry that I can’t clearly put my idea.

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