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Curious Case of Transparency International in Bangladesh

Written By: Bengalist
25/12/2013 15:03

Next time, think twice before you call the “post-colonial” and “subaltern” narratives as mere academic mumbo-jumbos. One of the folk-wisdoms that these fields suggest is the assertion that developing countries are most vulnerable to the self-appointed vanguards of “correct” behavior from the developed world. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) is putting a convincing case for reconfirming such ‘predictions’ through nurturing a considerable divergence between their own preaching and practice paradoxically, if not deliberately.

As they say it in their own words, Transparency International (TI) is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It mainly visions for a world in which government, politics, business, civil society, and the daily lives of people are free of corruption. But their credo of ‘politically non-partisanship and independence’ is fundamentally being thwarted by the actions and comments stemming out of its Bangladesh chapter: Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), regarding to the current political upheavals due to the judgment of alleged war criminals of the war of 1971.

Bangladesh, being an archetypal example of an “almost-failed” state coupled with all the vices of ‘third-world’ politics, has been deeply fragmented over contentious debates on judging the alleged war criminals. As all the alleged war criminals have been affiliated to the opposition party in current regime of the Hasina Government, an overwhelming majority of national and international remarks has interpreted the scenes as well-plotted political gimmicks of “appealing” to mass emotions; a good-old-trick of third-world politics. But what has been immensely disturbing is the stance that TIB has been holding in spite of being a forerunner of anti-corruption publicity.

Though TIB has been vocal in condemning extra-judicial killings in the country, their position on justifying the granting of capital punishment has been ambiguous ever since. Moreover, their recent actions and comments on death-penalty are easily prone to be interpreted as ‘politically-correct’. On the other hand, they have been seriously “selective” on commenting on the barbaric police actions of killing over a hundred people as an aftermath of the controversial verdict of an alleged war criminal, Allama Delawar Hossain Sayeedi.

On January 22, 2013 Abul Kalam Azad after being convicted for the war-crime charges, was sentenced to death penalty in absentia. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) expressed deep satisfaction over the verdict against Abul Kalam Azad by issuing statements.

A few weeks later, on February 6 2013; another person alleged of crime against humanity, Abdul Quader Molla was sentenced to life imprisonment. This time, TIB expressed its disappointment over the life imprisonment sentence of Abdul Quader Molla. Not only that, it also demanded a review of the judgement in favor of capital punishment.

Furthermore, when a blogger, Rajib, associated with the “first-wave” of the Shahbag Square movement was brutally murdered, TIB issued a statement condemning and demanding highest punishment for the killers of Blogger Rajib.

Few years ago, after the hanging of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, TIB spent no time issuing a statement expressing its deep satisfaction at the hanging of the five accused.

All the events stated above are “open-ended” and hence open for anyone to infer TIB’s role as a political “cheerleader” rather than a voice against corruption and violation of human rights. Also, it may “seem” that Transparency International Bangladesh gets very excited at the prospect of any capital punishment and throws it full weight behind any possible judicial killing of a person. One may wonder how this selective “campaigning” for capital punishment matches the vision and mission of the organization. If Transparency International hopes that their suggestions are going to be taken seriously anymore in future, it’s high time for revising their thoughts in conformation to their higher agenda concerning TIB.

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About Bengalist

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  • Name: Bengalist
  • From: Dhaka
  • Nationality: Bangladesh
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    student, activist journalist.

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