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International concern for Bangladesh

Written By: HarunurRashid
31/08/2013 13:50
Bangladesh in Intl. Media

There is a growing concern for Bangladesh as the timeline for the next general elections is fast nearing its deadline. Up until now there has been no change in the attitude or even body language of the two major political parties for a fruitful dialogue to happen. Ban Ki-moon’s telephone call to the Bangladesh Prime Minister underlines the genuine worries of the international community. The US ambassador has been urging upon the rivals to sit for a dialogue and resolve the crisis which he hopes will pave the way for an inclusive, free and fair election. The UK has made it clear that they would like to see a participatory election in a free and fair atmosphere. The EU too has made it explicitly clear that the election must be participated by all the political parties in the country.
Ban Ki-moon’s concern is understandable. With the massacre in Egypt and an uncertain future of democracy there, he is now watching with horror the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and a consequent reprisal which might trigger off a deadly conflict any moment engulfing the whole region. Ban Ki-moon’s hands are already too full and he would hate to see another human tragedy take off with full fury which might involve loss of countless lives and property.
We understand that the chief executive of the world body has been assured by the PM that her government is willing to sit for a dialogue, but it is only the opposition that in their indefatigable search for excuses refuses to come to the table. That evening Khaleda Zia too received a call from Ban Ki-moon and she did not mince words in letting him know that an election under the present government was not acceptable to her party. 
So it looks the purpose of the distinguished call has aborted. But analysts feel that the call has sounded an alarm that should not be missed by the stakeholders in Bangladesh. That the international community is carefully watching the situation is evident. It should also be clear to everybody that the question of holding an inclusive election can no longer be evaded. It is no longer an internal affair of Bangladesh in a way that you can tell off others to stay out of this standoff. If an election is held without the participation of the major parties in the country, the international community - mostly our well-wishers, donors and business partners will not feel inclined to extend economic cooperation which is vital for the nation. 
The whole situation has taken on a different turn with the Nobel Laureate Dr Yunus stating categorically that elections without the caretaker government will not be acceptable. Even Ershad who has dodged the demand for quitting the grand alliance has come out into the open saying that election under the present EC will not be acceptable. 
With the human rights situation raising international concern, the grand alliance itself is developing invisible cracks with Rashed Khan Menon preferring to keep a golden silence over the human rights issues and political persecutions. Other left-leaning partners, who once deplored top AL leaders are talking through their hat (beware of dogs and Dr Yunus, for example) to prove their allegiance to their new-found friends. But this type of vituperations will not be missed by the world celebrity friends of our Nobel Laureate who put up an ad in a New York daily in support of the poor man’s banker and his baby. They who value Yunus’s opinions may not have missed his unconditional support for the CG as the only alternative to hold an inclusive general election. 
Adilur has been taken to custody for mentioning a particular figure of the casualty on 5 May night at Shapla Chattar. This has boomeranged on the authorities as his arrest sent alarms around the world and people who did not even bother about the figure now shows an interest in the night operation of the security forces to disperse the encamped whites. The discovery of bag full of bones and human body parts in the city garbage disposal area has added to wild speculations. It is easy to send one Adilur to prison, but how can you stop the individual counts of millions of villagers who pray for the departed souls of the orphans? 
We live in a very small world today and friends or foes are only a click away from us. It is useless to maintain and sustain a ministry of information at the cost of public money. 
You can hide nothing however hard you try to conceal things. And it is fatuitous to take the man on the street for a fool. He is not lettered perhaps, but his political insight is excellent. He watches things like a crane without a word, but he knows when to swoop on the fish happily playing in the clear water below. Read ballot paper for fish and ordinary man for crane. The rest I leave to your own judgement.

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About HarunurRashid

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  • Name: Professor M Harunur Rashid
  • From: Dhaka
  • Nationality: Bangladesh
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    Professor Harunur Rashid is a Cambridge Gradute, former professor of North South University, now Teaching English at International Islamic University Chittagong(IIUC), Dhaka Campus. Contributing as an Associate Editor of The Independent and former DG of Bangla Academy.


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