Politics of Bangladesh gains extra momentum
Politics of Bangladesh has gained an extra momentum after the release of Sheikh Hasina, the former Prime Minister and President of Bangladesh Awami League (AL). On the night of June 11, Sheikh Hasina met her party comrades and the representatives of the military backed interim government.
In AL working committee meeting, Sheikh Hasina gave her directives on the issues related to ongoing dialogue and upcoming elections, which are scheduled in the last quarter of the year. AL working committee decided that the party will sit together with the government under the captainship of acting president Zillur Rahman and various decisions including the political ones will be taken jointly by the senior presidium members of the party as of the directives of recently freed party president.
This decision makes Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), another major party, to take a positive move on the issue of dialogue. The detained BNP Chairperson Begume Khaleda Zia, when she was attending a court personally, said that her party will take part in the ongoing dialogue, but first the government should organise an appropriate environment. This approach was proposed by the pivotal leader of BNP only a day later of the release of the top leader of AL, Both of the leaders are facing corruption cases that occurred in their respective tenure of power.
Government also hinted that a process of the release of Khaleda Zia is under consideration. Home Ministry Advisor said on June 13 that if any petition is submitted to the proper authority, government will consider the release process of BNP Chairperson. It should be mentioned that, two sons of Khaleda Zia are also in jail for corruption and many other charges. Khaleda Zia is continuously demanding for the release of her two sons and for sending them abroad for proper medical treatment as they are suffering from multiple illnesses. But Khaleda Zia herself is unwilling to go outside the country though she is also suffering from various health complications.
Now, Government is also thinking about another amendment of Emergency Ordinance and the initiative has already been taken and the Law Ministry has started working on this issue. As per the available information, amendment could be easing the provisions relating participation in election. Under prevailing provisions, a person would not be able to participate in any election if he is convicted in any subordinate court, though his appeal is being granted by the higher court. Government is in a move to ease the provisions and to develop a pavement that the convict, whose appeal is granted by a higher court can participate in elections. Analysts considering the initiative as a back step of government from their crusade against corruption and political disorder.
The situation indicates that the military backed interim government is in a mood to hold all elections as per the roadmap of Election Commission (EC), which is to end on December 2008. A few weeks ago Chief Advisor (CA) of interim government had addressed to the nation and committed that in the third week of the month of December, is the tentative dateline for National Election. EC and other concerned authorities are intending to hold all necessary local government elections before or on the same day of parliamentary election. Authorities were perusing that the politicians of Bangladesh are not in a mental position to strengthen local government system, though a strong local government system is essential for a democratic society. If once a system gets triggered , coming elected political government is bound to continue the same.
Another agenda was in the priority of the military backed interim government that set aside the corrupted ones from the election process. Present behavioral pattern of the government is dissimilar to the said-above agenda, stating many analysts. Many political observers said that government’s behavioral pattern indicates some kind of nervousness in their functioning thus far. They are also saying that government should follow the track of their commitment to the people, all political parties and the government should honor the sentiments and hopes of the people. Afterwards only Bangladesh can reach the goal of corruption free, pro-people, welfare-friendly governance system that could lead the Nation to a mid-income level from low income-line.
Meanwhile, there are significant positive responses from the international community on the parole of Sheikh Hasina. Indian foreign office welcomed the initiative of Bangladesh interim government. Iranian Mission in Dhaka and many other foreign friends of Bangladesh appreciated the government's initiative, sources close to foreign ministry mentioned.
Now it could be said that, interim government is handling dialogue issue with wisdom. Budget is a challenge, but it is also been handled well as it is welcomed by the business leaders with a few reservations. If government is able to manage the fiscal plan, it will not be a very big issue. The elections, in terms of local body and parliament, will be the most important and act as a main challenge for the government and political parties as well. Let us hope for the best.
- The author of this article is a senior Political Analyst and Free lance writer on National and International issues based in Dhaka Bangladesh -
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