Is the politics in Bangladesh hard to predict? No its easy. It comprises of veneration of leaders of political dynasties without asking for any accountability. Most leaders of political parties try to grab power to have economic powers and plunder wealth. But yet people queue up to vote for them as if its a morbid society just going with the motion.
The 1/11 turnover was propagated as an attempt to change the political system. We heard a lot about the war against corruption. Many big shots were detained using the emergency acts. Some were corrupts, some were not; some were guilty of abetting the corruption. The people thought that they will see justice and accountability now. The judiciary, the lawyers got busy and the rules of law were tested. But in the end the caretaker government backed by the military could direct them whichever way they wanted. They tried to introduce reforms in the parties through some dissent leaders which eventually failed. No third force emerged.
These events had some positive sides too. We have heard some breathtaking confessions by Giasuddin Al Mamun here and here and Abdul Jalil and Sheikh Selim’s confessions also implicated some top leaders.
And the negative sides included the much discussed minus two formula to keep the dynasty leaders out of the country. Now what we are seeing is “manage two formula”. These jailed politicians are coming out in the open and charges are being suspended. What will be the fate of those corruption charges? Will the people of Bangladesh ever see rule of law prevailing and punishing the corrupts? Only time will tell.
The Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina was released months ago under special arrangement (not directly a bail) for better treatment. Mockery of rule of law persisted in the process.
BNP’s senior joint secretary general Tarique Rahman (Zia) was released today according to a court order granting his bail in all the 13 cases for better medical treatment. He was arrested one and a half years ago on charges of corruption, including extortion. Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar (BNP) said the release “reflected the rule of law”. However, would a common detainee ever have the chance to be released like Sheikh Hasina or Tarique? The rule of law is equal to everyone is a myth.
Why was the government forced to release Tarique Rahman? Reports alleged that he was being tortured and virtually was paralyzed. It is not lawful to torture people on custody and everybody is innocent until proven guilty. So these acts are of course deplorable and Tarique Rahman also deserves better treatment like Sheikh Hasina.
Was he a victim of the unlawful menace his party created? Human Rights Watch reported in 2006:
“The government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), in power for the two-and-a-half years covered by the report, has defended RAB killings by saying the victims were ‘wanted criminals’ or ‘top terrors’ who died when they resisted arrest or were caught in ‘crossfire’ between the force and criminal gangs. But a year-long investigation by Human Rights Watch found that many suspects died in RAB custody, either after being tortured or by an extrajudicial execution.”
The government was under pressure because of the recent agitations after a rumor that Tarique was seriously injured, where that was only a freak accident in Bathroom.
Today’s incidents tell about a bad omen that is embarking in this country. Three BNP leaders were heckled by the waiting crowd in front of P.G. Hospital where Tarique is admitted now.
Photos by Rehman Asad
These leaders were accused of showing dissent and being members of the reformer group led by Abdul Mannan. Ehsanul Haque Milon tried to save him by calling a press conference that he was not a part of the reformer group as if they have done capital offense. These attitudes show that those who questioned the dynasty powers will not be let unpunished. They will have their revenge against them for having different opinions in the party. Is this democracy they are practicing?
People will soon forget what Giasuddin Al Mamun told in his confessions about Tarique’s corruption:
“Tarique Rahman remained away from business involvements because of his full-time involvement in politics. However, behind the scenes, he would support Mamun in his business and in securing commissions. In exchange, Mamun would provide Tarique with money for his personal expenses. And a large percentage of the money illegally earned by Mamun, using his links with Tarique, sent to Tarique for his personal and political expenses.”
Soon there will be propaganda that Tarique Zia’s alleged support for militancy was all a lie.
Soon all those who supported a change in the party will be beaten by the hard liners. There will be no difference of opinion, there will be no accountability.
We have seen in Pakistan that PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari (Benazir Bhotto’s husband) nicknamed Mr. 10% for his earlier conviction of corruption will be running for presidency soon. Nawaz Sharif is still facing corruption charges. But he will also be a strong candidate.
The recent city corporation elections showed that the charges of corruption is not material to the Bangladeshis. They love dynasty rule and they will do everything to forgive the charges against them without asking much and soon bring them back to power.
It is an E-Bangladesh report.