November 29, 2010
So, Zafar Sobhan thinks BNP is mafia. This made me laugh. You see, that’s the thing with Bangladeshi politics — you have to laugh at it, because the alternative is to howl in despair.
Let’s be fair to Zafar. It’s not just him who thinks this way. I’ve heard it from many AL leaning folks over the years: the last BNP government was like the mafia, Tarique ran Bangladesh like a crime lord, the corruption and violence all pointed to mob rule. So let’s lay off Zafar. He is just more articulate than the most.
Instead, let’s look at the message. So, the BNP government was like the mafia. What does that mean?
Well, how does the mafia work? There is a system of patronage, whereby the Don confers favours on those under his protection, and they in turn does the Don’s bidding. Then there is extortion. You want to do business in a mob neighbourhood, you pay a protection fee. And finally, anyone stepping out of line has to be disciplined — made to sleep with the fishes.
BNP was all of these we are told. Hawa Bhaban cronies ran the country like a private fiefdom. There were rampant extortion, from the top to bottom. And there were killings like the 21 August.
The 21 August was a crucial turning point. After that event, many people said ’we used to follow Zia’s ideals, not this Khaleda-Falu politic’. For many who had no love of AL shunned BNP because of its mafia-type transformation.
That was then. What do we see now?
We see that minister’s brother’s company is given lucrative contracts for electricity generation without any tender process. And then we see that act being indemnified through legislation.
We see prime ministerial advisors openly declaring that only the ruling party members will be appointed for government job. We see the public servants humiliated because they wanted to follow the law, and not the party diktat.
We see dissenting voices shut down and thrown into jail by partisan judges.
What was that about patronage, favor, and extortion?
Not as bad as BNP, you say? Not like AL is killing opposition politicians, like the BNP did on 21 August.
Never mind that no one has actually produced any evidence of BNP being involved with 21 August (as opposed to covering up afterwards). For the partisan AL mind, it’s a given that BNP did it. And AL is not as bad.
Except for the inconvenient fact that AL is, of course, as bad if not worse. In Natore, an upazilla chairman was killed in broad daylight a few weeks ago. The entire thing is available in youtube. And Sheikh Hasina personally saved the killers by saying ‘this was BNP’s internal conflict’.
We don’t need Julifikar Ali Manik’s complicated conspiracy theories. All this happened in public media. Sheikh Hasina intervened to save killers.
As I said, after 21 August, many BNP supporters abandoned their party. I don’t know a single AL-er who owns up to Hasina’s action after the Natore killing. None.
You know why?
Because AL is a cult. It’s a cult whose members believe that their party can do no wrong. It’s a cult whose members believe their leader can do no wrong. It’s a cult whose members simply refuse to face the reality, and would prefer to believe in conspiracy theories where everything is someone else’s fault. It’s a cult whose members, otherwise perfectly fine people, lock away parts of their reason, compassion, and conscience.
The 21 August assassinations will hang over BNP until it unconditionally apologises for it, and the real killers are convicted and punished. Until that happens, the charge of ‘BNP is mafia’ will bite.
BNP may be mafia. But so is AL. And AL is also a cult. No matter what happens to BNP, until the AL-ers free themselves from their mental slavery, Bangladesh will remain doomed with a plague on both houses.
November 29, 2010
Posted by Rumi under Army
, Awami League
, News and events
| Tags: Khaleda Zia
| 1 Comment
Published in BDnews24.com opinion Section on November 28th.
It’s not personal
The manner in which the leader of the opposition and former prime minister Khaleda Zia was evicted from her cantonment residence was outright shocking to most observers of Bangladesh politics. Not only the physical eviction itself, but the way the opposition leader was literally pushed out of her home of 38 years by an overwhelming government force, speaks volumes of its ‘autocratic’ mentality. The whole chain of events surrounding the eviction process was totally unforeseen in the history of democratic Bangladesh.
Notable in the chain of events were the mind-blowing fast tracking of judiciary, manipulation of hazy legal jargons, and ultimately bypassing of the highest judiciary to push forward with the government’s agenda to remove the opposition leader from her home. The media manipulation of the event was also unprecedented for a democratic government. Advancing on what the previous military-controlled regime did, from the day before the incident, the media was fed with concocted stories of Khaleda Zia leaving her home willingly. And on the day of the event and the day after, the naked dishonesty and partisanship of the defence department’s press wing, ISPR, was simultaneously a painful reminder of the demise of the armed forces as neutral public servants and the last nail in the coffin of an institutional balance of power under present government.
November 28, 2010
The eviction of Khaleda Zia from her residence of 38 years has forced pro-Awami League media personnel to display a particularly riveting form of bipolar disorder. With exceptions such as Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, most of these reporters/columnists/commentators have had to acknowledge that evicting a former prime minister forcibly from her residence, while her case is pending in the Supreme Court, is just not done. On the other hand, they can’t really come out and condemn Sheikh Hasina for these actions either; that sort of negates the utility of being a pro-Awami League media person. Thus, the bipolar disorder. Condemn eviction, but… bring up the cancellation of the house allotted to Sheikh Rehana by her sister, Sheikh Hasina, or somehow turn this about Sheikh Mujib’s murder, or, if everything else fails, blame Lord Clive.
Zafar Sobhan adds an interesting twist to this approach. His take is – yes, Khaleda Zia has been evicted, but… she’s not dead yet, and BNP is just a “mafia” while Awami League is an actual political party. So, whatever.
Mr. Sobhan is an extremely capable media personality. He is one of the individuals described here whose views about Bangladesh shape how the world media sees us. Such drivel should be beneath him. That it’s not, is a good sign of where our politics stands right now.
How does one deal with the claim that the party that has administered Bangladesh for ten of the last twenty years, and at the nadir of its popularity, still commands the allegiance of one in three Bangladeshis, is a mafia? Not that particular leaders of BNP have indulged in criminal actions in the past. Not that its student or youth wings contain criminal elements. But that the entire outfit is a criminal organization?
In a sense, it’s an extremely simple solution to a pressing problem. A problem that is growing more pressing by the day in Bangladesh. Normally, when the party in power fails, the opposition is given a mandate. But what does one do when there exists a sizable group of individuals who have staked their careers and professional reputations on the premise that the opposition will never, ever come to power again? And when the party in power, which was supposed to govern uninterrupted till 2021, has seen such precipitous drops in its popularity that it doesn’t even dare hold an election to elect the capital’s mayor?
Apparently, one labels the opposition the “mafia.” Because, you know, they’re criminals. And not just any criminals, but a particular group of state-designated criminals. They type of designated criminals who don’t have rights.
Here is the money quote from Mr. Sobhan’s article:
Two senior AL leaders were separately assassinated, and another 24 party members were killed in a grenade attack that came within seconds of wiping out the entire party leadership. For all the troubles it faces, the BNP leadership has not had to fear assassination.
What he leaves out, of course, that both the assassination of senior AL leaders, presumably Ahsanullah Master and SAMS Kibria, were prosecuted during BNP’s tenure and those involved were convicted and sent to jail, again during BNP’s tenure. Convictions that the current government has not revisited or appealed in a higher court.
And what about the 21st August grenade blast? Almost two years after this government’s ascension to power, it is still busy taking time from the courts to prolong its investigation, no doubt to implicate as many BNP leaders in this case as possible.
And finally, when responsible individuals like Mr. Sobhan make absurd accusations about whether BNP is a mafia, it makes us wonder whether journalistic ethics is sleeping with the fishes. His description of the events involving Ziaur Rahman’s home, where his wife slept, where his sons played with their toys, makes us wish that the law enforcement individuals who evicted Khaleda Zia had left their guns and taken the cannolis. Of course, when one’s being evicted facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference? While Mr. Sobhan needs the BNP so that he can point at them and say that’s the bad guy, we all have to ask, is this the end of Rico? We fear that our esteemed friend may end up, like a lot of other AL supporters, sobbing, broken-hearted, in a Havana cafe and saying, “You broke my heart. You broke my heart.” Perhaps the Appellate Division will make BNP an offer they can’t refuse, but we fear a lot of people are soon going to be saying hello to the Police’s (and RAB’s) little friend.
All jokes (and forced analogies) aside, it doesn’t take too much imagination to think of Khaleda Zia as the broken Don Corleone, while her heir recovers in the Sicilian countryside (London). The problem for Mr. Sobhan is I’m sure he remembers, as we all do, how that one played out.
November 25, 2010
After the military coup of 1/11/ 2007, the political role that 1/11 military leadership, did irreparable harm to the image of the military in public minds. The latest incident of using ISPR ( MoD’s media wing) to malign the opposition leader acted as the last nail in the coffin of the credibility of the military institution as a nationally respected organization. What the ISPR did regarding the eviction of the opposition leader from her home is reprehensible beyond expression.
In a nutshell what ISPR did is
1. On the day before the eviction, started a campaign of lie that Mrs Zia is vacating her home on her own
2. On the day of eviction, while keeping journalists, family members, political leadership away from her house, kept on lying that Mrs Zia is leaving her house willingly.
3. After Mrs. Zia complained of forceful eviction in a press conference, ISPR kept on their self contradictory lies and gave a tour of the bedroom/ personal items of the opposition leader to the media. Their attempts to hide forceful rentry and breaking of doors did not escape journalists curious eyes. And the most disgraceful thing ISPR did was planting a porn magazine in opposition leader’s bedroom wardrobe, some alcoholic beverages and inviting journalists to take photos of that. This was so disgusting that even most of Government friendly columnists / news papers bothered not to talk about it.
So when 26 retired army officers belonging to BNP protests the mindless partisan use of ISPR; over 150 retired army officers convenes a press conference and reads a statement supporting the acts of ISPR and repeating all the over-used negative political talking points against the opposition party. In the press conference, the politically divisive and hateful languages of ex Army chief Lt Gen Harun Ur Rashid clearly indicates the partisan agenda of Gen Harun and the sector commander’s forum he now leads. If General Harun sincerely wanted war crimes trials, he could have kept himself out of this dirty petty partisanship and extend his hands to embrace/ motivate BNP supporters to join the war crimes trial campaign of sector commander’s forum.
November 24, 2010
ছি ছি হাসিনা, এই রকম করে না. আমরা জানি খালেদা কত্ত খারাপ. ইন্ডিয়াও জানে. ওর ছেলেদের কে আচ্ছা সে পিট্টি দিসি না সবাই মিলে. লাগলে আবার পিটাব. আর দুষ্টুমি কোর না, কেমন?
That’s how someone described the Economist article (over the fold) on recent political events in Bangladesh. The article says: BNP, particularly Tarique, represents kleptocracy and Islamist extremism and his return has to be prevented at any cost, so AL can feel safe in its project to trash Zia, so long as nothing too egregious is done. If this is any guide to the thinking in the Embassy Row, then BNP is in lot more trouble than appears.
Now, how does the Economist write its articles on Bangladesh? There is no Economist correspondent in Dhaka. There is one in New Delhi. James Astill, the guy in Delhi, is well versed in the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is reputed to prefer Lahore over Delhi. He is not really a pro-Indian kinda guy.
So how does he write a piece like this? Well, he doesn’t really know all that much about Bangladesh. He gets his views from a few dozen English speaking, Gulshan-Banani-Baridhara living folks. He visits Dhaka once a while, sips cold beer at Sonargaon, and talks to men and women in their 30s and 40s working in the corporate and NGO sectors. And he writes what they think.
It’s that class of Bangladeshis — confession, the current blogger is from that class, as is the owner of this blog — who overwhelmingly think this way. This class of Bangladeshis, who read the Daily Star, and dine at Le Saigon, influence not just what James Astill, Nicolas Haque (Al Jazeera) or Amy Kazmin (Financial Times) thinks, but also what the Embassy Row thinks.
And there are hardly any BNP voice in this crowd. There is no BNP equivalent of Zafar Sobhan to write regularly in the Guardian, no Asif Saleh with a social network across corporate, bureaucratic and civil society elites.
The most desparing thing is, I don’t see any appreciation from anyone connected with BNP leadership that this is a problem.
November 20, 2010
Upon becoming the president after three years of post-liberation chaos, the 1974 famine, 8 months of Bakshal fascism, and the 15 August massacre, Khondoker Mushtaq Ahmed promised a lot of things: prompt return to democracy with a free and fair election, economic stability, end to corruption, you know, all the stuff every politician and their qurbani cow promises. Mushtaq was in Bangabhaban for some 83 days. In that time, he made one change of national import. He gave us a national dress.
Yes, it was discussed in the Cabinet that the then national dress of
penguin Mujib Coat didn’t represent our national character, and we needed something that involved a Sherwani and a cap as our national dress.
Thirty five years later, Awami League is once again in office. There is high inflation, electricity shortage, poor law and order, you know, all the stuff every politician and their qurbani cow promises to fix before the election, but somehow never deliver. On top of that, questionable treaties are being signed with India. And oh, just to add a bit of 1970s retro, the opposition is being cracked down on. While all this goes on, what does the cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina do?
Why, in true Mushtaqian fashion, it decides we need a national tree.
Dear reader, now that we have a national tree, rest assured all the problems will be solved, and we will have a digital shonar Bangla before long. Any reader who disagrees with this assessment is clearly a sympathiser of war criminals and belongs to the anti-liberation forces.
November 20, 2010
Posted by tacitaeterno under Awami League
, Sheikh Hasina  Comments
It’s hard to know what the Awami League government was thinking when they decided to evict Khaleda Zia from her home. However, it did not go completely as Sheikh Hasina had planned. Khaleda Zia’s televised press conference affected almost everyone. As Syed Abul Maqsud put it in a column aptly titled “The Government’s Truth:“
স্বেচ্ছায় বাড়ি ছাড়ার দৃশ্যটি দেখে অন্তত কিছু মানুষ তাদের জীবনের সর্বোচ্চ সুখ উপভোগ করেছে। কয়েক কোটি মানুষ হয়তো মনে মনে বলছে, বেশ হয়েছে। তবে আট-দশ কোটি মানুষের মনের অবস্থা আমাদের মতো অ-মনোবিজ্ঞানীর পক্ষে জানা সম্ভব নয়। তাদের মনোভাব জানা যাবে ২০১৩-র ডিসেম্বরে। (“The way in which the home was ‘voluntarily left’ has probably given some people the greatest happiness of their lives. Perhaps a few crores of our people thought to themselves: this isn’t too bad. What the rest eight or ten crores thought is unknown to non-psychologists like us. However, we shall find out in December 2013.”)
Syed Abul Maqsud’s political orientation is not unknown. When columnists of his stripe start talking about December 2013, one must realize that this is the most serious message they can deliver to the Awami League Government. They are politely reminding Sheikh Hasina: “এই দিন দিন না আরো দিন আছে“
As Maqsud noted, the full extent of the reaction to this event shall not be known until well into the future. But the fact that there was a reaction was evident to everyone. Awami League had not expected this; they thought they what happened inside Jahangir Gate would, so to speak, stay inside Jahangir Gate. They even issued a press statement “thanking” Khaleda Zia forleaving voluntarily. However, once it became apparent that explaining away this action was going to be a bit more complicated than that, Awami League quickly set out to bring this reaction in their favor through a two-prong strategy.
November 15, 2010
This blog was posted July 2007. Sheikh Hasina was just arrested by Gen Moeen and Masud government. The arrest was very humiliating. She was pushed, shoved, forced, dragged. Her glasses were falling off. No one spoke much against it. Media, intelelctuals kept quite. Except one person, her political rival Khaleda Zia. Let look back at the statement…
The Daily Star Reports,
Setting a rare example, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday demanded immediate release of her arch political rival Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina, and regretted failure of the administration to protect her [Hasina] dignity while being taken to court.
“I am deeply disheartened to see that being a former prime minister, chief of a political party, daughter of a national leader, an aged woman as well as a distinguished citizen of the country, she [Hasina] faced a disgraceful and indecent situation on the court premises,” Khaleda said in a statement, signed by Maruf Kamal Khan, deputy press secretary to the former prime minister.
BNP leaders however said they are not aware of any such statement.
“It [indecent situation] hurt all conscious people and destroyed the image of the government both at home and abroad,” Khaleda said. The situation could have been avoided if the government would have dealt with the matter carefully and consciously, she added.
The BNP chairperson said, “I think it would be better if her [AL chief] trial is held without arresting and sending her to jail or opposing her bail prayer.”
Calling for immediate release of Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda stressed conducting the case keeping her free. It would decrease the possibility of social and political instability and confusion.
November 13, 2010
Photo, courtesy of the Daily Star.
National leader of Bangladesh, late Presiedent Ziaur rahman lived in this house from 1972 till his death in 1981. This was a house he was allotted as the deputy chief of staff of Bangladesh Army.
After his death, the then elected government’s cabinet decided to give the property to the widow of the slain president in a 99 year lease. That widow is now our leader of opposition.
Coming back to power for the second time, PM Sheikh Hasina seemed hellbent in evicting the opposition leader from that house and then demolishing this residence of late President Ziaur rahman.
A legal battle is underway in the court in this regard. A hearing is scheduled to take place in the Supreme court on Nov 29th.
However government looks like too impatient to wait till final resolution of the legal process.
So far from the sketchy news coming out of Dhaka cantonment where Mrs Zia leaves, the followng incidences have been confirmed.
1. Military PR wing issued a press release that opposition leader is leaving the house on her own. However the opposition leader, through her press secretery has denied any such claim by the military.
2. All the staff of the opposition leader residence have been rounded up and taken to police station.
3. Police and military trucks have taken position in front of opposition leader’s house.
4. Telephone line has been disconnected from the residence of opoosition leader.
5. Cantonment officials went to opposition leader’s house to take over the property.
6. Police and paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion forces has entered opoosition leader’s house and they were seen at the roof.
7. Opposition leader is being debied to meet her lawyers and political collegaue.
8. Opposition chief whip and other colleague of the opposition leader were barred from entering cantonment.
9. Law enforcement agency members were reported to be using hand mikes instructing the opposition leader to evacuate the home and promising stern action otherwise.
10. Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s General Secretary, in a press briefing, informed that the opposition leader is under house arrest at this time.
11. Sporadic clashed with opposition activists and law men are being reported from different parts of the country.
12. An attempted rally from opposition main office was dispersed by the police.
13. Lawyers of Mrs Zia, the opposition leader, went to meet the Chief justice in his residence begging for a legal remedy.
[ UPDATE 12 NOON BDT]
14. Apparently there is a media blackout about the events regarding the residence of the opposition leader.
15. The main opposition party called a down to dusk general strike for tomorrow.
In the evening, after daylong siege, Law enforcement men breaks open Opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s home, breaks open into her bedroom, indiscriminately beats her staff and family members, dragging her out of her bedroom and escorts her out of her home for 40 years.
Later in the evening in a press conference, Mrs Zia talked to the nation of her ordeal.
November 10, 2010
প্রয়াত পটুয়া কামরুল হাসান একজন শিল্পী ছিলেন আপাদমস্তক. যা ভেবেছেন সত্য সুন্দর ন্যায়, তার জন্য লড়াই করে গিয়েছেন আজীবন . তবে ‘ একজন দূরদৃষ্টি সম্পন্ন রাজনৈতিক ভাষ্যকার’ এভাবে তাকে কখনো ভাবা হয়নি. আমার জানা মতে. এরশাদ বিরোধী গণআন্দোলনের মাঝ পর্যায়ে এসে পটুয়া কামরুল আঁকেন বিশ্ববেহায়ার বিখ্যাত ছবি .
কামরুল যা বুঝেছিলেন আশির দশকে, আমরা তা আজও সত্য বলে টের পাচ্ছি সিকি শতাব্দী পরে এসেও. পতিত স্বৈরাচারী এরশাদ গতকাল এক অনুষ্ঠানে দশ ই নভেম্বর কে গণতন্ত্র দিবস বলে দাবি করেছেন এবং বাংলাদেশে গণতন্ত্র ফিরিয়ে আনার সব কৃতিত্ব দাবি করেছেন. সবচেয়ে ঘৃণ্য ক্রূর পশুর ও এর চেয়ে বেশী চক্ষুলজ্জা থাকে.
Yesterday was 23rd anniversary of the killing of Shahid Nur Hossain. Shahid Nur Hossain was in a political rally staged at Dhaka’s zero point to demand resignation of the illegal autocrat. Ershad’s police took aim at Nur Hossain, shot and killed him. Nut Hossain was easy target as his chest and back was marked with graffiti demanding fall of the autocrat and rise of democracy ( গণতন্ত্র মুক্তি পাক, স্বৈরাচার নিপাত যাক).
Here is how celebrated photojournalist Pavel Rahman describes the event.
November 10, 2010
I grew up in the back lane tin shade colony in Banagram near Narinda of old Dhaka. For me, mere going to school was a big leap, doing well or thinking of continuing beyond high school was not even in my dreams. School was no fun for me also. How would you like to be confined to a place where you are always rebuked and yelled at by your teacher for being the bad backbencher of the class? In addition, not only academically, I was also the social backbencher too. When my friends used to come to school with nice dress, nice shoes and school bag, we had to wear the same dirty shirt, pant, and sandal throughout the year and carry he books in hand. Tell me, how I can be a good student. Who will help me with homework? The 1/1/2 room shanty my auto rickshaw driver father manages to rent, does not enough space for us 5 brothers sisters. So most our day and evening are spent on the streets.
November 8, 2010
লিখতে বসেছিলাম এক বিষয়ে। সে লেখা সরিয়ে রাখতে হলো। নভেম্বরের প্রথম সাত দিনের ১০টি দৈনিকের ৭০টি সংখ্যা পড়ে মনে হলো, প্রসঙ্গ পাল্টানো দরকার। একটি জাতির সংবাদমাধ্যম যদি ৩৫ বছর পর ভোল পাল্টাতে পারে, রাজনৈতিক নেতারা যদি ভোল পাল্টাতে পারেন, একজন উপসম্পাদকীয় লেখকের পাঁচ মিনিটের মধ্যে প্রসঙ্গ পাল্টাতে অসুবিধা কোথায়?
খুব বড় মিলিটারি রেজিমেন্টেশনের মধ্যে ইতিহাস গায়েব করা হয় অথবা বিকৃত করা হয় এবং সত্য ধামাচাপা দেওয়া হয়। শান্তিপূর্ণ গণতান্ত্রিক পরিবেশে এবং সম্পূর্ণ বিনা প্ররোচনায় ইতিহাসকে ডাস্টবিনে ছুড়ে ফেলার দৃষ্টান্ত শুধু বাংলাদেশেই পাওয়া যাবে। কঠোর সামরিক ও রাজনৈতিক নিয়ন্ত্রিত রাষ্ট্রে সাংবাদিককে সত্য চেপে যেতে হয়। কিন্তু গায়ে পড়ে সত্য গোপন করা অতি নিন্দনীয় কাজ। আজ বাংলার রঙ্গমঞ্চে কুশীলবদের রাজনীতির অভিনয় দেখে ক্ষুধিত পাষাণ-এর পাগলা মেহের আলীর মতো বলতে ইচ্ছা হয়: ‘তফাত যাও! তফাত যাও! সব ঝুট্ হ্যায়! সব ঝুট্ হ্যায়!’ আজ বাংলাদেশে যাঁদের বয়স ৬০-এর ওপরে, তাঁদের অধিকাংশের অবস্থা পাগলা মেহের আলীর মতো।
১৯৭৫-এর নভেম্বরের প্রথম হপ্তায় অ্যাবসার্ড নাটকগুলো অভিনীত হয়েছে এখনকার ৬০ বছরের বেশি বয়স্ক মানুষদের সামনে। তাঁরা সব দেখেছেন, তাঁরা সব জানেন। এখন আর নতুন কিছু যোগ করা যাবে না।
বাঙালি স্বার্থসিদ্ধির জন্য সব সময়ই একজন নন্দ ঘোষ খোঁজে। নিজের দোষ তার ওপর চাপিয়ে দাঁত বের করে হাসতে হাসতে বাঙালি দিব্যি ঘুরে বেড়ায়। আওয়ামী লীগের নেতৃত্বে প্রতিষ্ঠিত মহাজোট সরকারের আমলে জিয়াউর রহমানকে নন্দ ঘোষের ভূমিকায় বসানো হয়েছে। অবশ্য জিয়া ও এরশাদের সময় নন্দ ঘোষ ছিলেন অন্য কেউ।
November 8, 2010
This was written for Uttorshuri in two installments on Taher Day during July 2006. I am re-posting this on the eve of November 7. This post is not intended to demonize veteran Freedom fighter and ambitious patriotic leader Colonel Abu Taher. No one argues that Col Taher was a patriot and he wanted to prosper Bangladesh in a way he believed to be right way.
Every year late freedom fighter Colonel Taher’s death anniversary is observed with discussions about his life, his dreams, visions, achievements and his valor. Newspapers publish memoirs, detail articles and columns demanding justice for Taher Killing.
The events of this year included an additional element; speeches and interviews by American journalist Lawrence Lifschultz leading a campaign for Taher’s retrial.
Lawrence Lifschultz, in his speeches, urges the concerned authorities for ensuring a fair re-trial of
1. Jail killing of four national leaders
2. Taher death sentence
3. The freedom fighters killed during coups against Zia rule
4. General Manzur’s Killing
5. Death sentence and execution of freedom fighter officers convicted of murdering Zia.
Some of these demands are quite logical and to set the records straight, all these killings definitely need a neutral and fair reevaluation. However it is also interesting to see some deliberate omission from Lifschultz’s list.
The significant omissions are the killing of two sector commanders of our liberation war. They are major general Khaled Mosharraf and Colonel A T M Haider.
Khaled Mosharraf was arguably the most valiant of the military leaders duringmour war of independence in 1971. He almost died in the war with a bullet hittingmhis forehead. After his injury, then Captain ATM Haider took over the command ofmthe sector. He was also another valiant freedom fighter who representedmBangladesh during Pak surrender on 16th December.
More than thirty years later, our nation still doesn’t know much about their killing. It is not exactly clear how they were killed, exactly who killed these brave souls, who ordered the killing, in what situation they died, whether they were executed or they died in gunfight.
It also another big mystery why these two sector Commanders deaths are not mourned every year as it happens in case of Colonel Taher. And there is rarely a call demanding justice of these killings. Also a curiosity arises, why Lawrence Lifschultz does not mention Khaled Mosharraf and ATM Haider in his list.
November 6, 2010
Posted by tacitaeterno under Army
, Awami League
, Due process
, Sheikh Hasina Leave a Comment
Five Army officers have been convicted in Court Martial for attempted murder on Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, MP. They are: Major Helal, Captain Rezaul Karim, Captain Rajib, Captain Fuad, and Captain Subayel Ibne Rafique. They have each been setenced to five years of jail, stripped of their army rank, and denied any retirement benefits. They will be serving out their sentences in Dhaka Central Jail.
Bangladesh has an unfortunate tendency of either seeing such attacks go uninvestigated or using them for political gain. The investigation and trial of the attackers on Sheikh Taposh could have been an exception to this trend. Court Martial proceedings are much more restricted in nature than civilian trials, that much is understood. However, to hold the entire trial in secret, and only allow it to appear in the media once the sentence has been delivered seems to be much more restrictive than was necessary.
A Daily Star report by Julikar Ali Manik says that the five officers were charged with “Violation of Good Order and Discipline,” under section 55 of the Manual of Bangladesh Army Law. The relevant section states “Any person subject to this Act who is guilty of any act, conduct, disorder or neglect to the prejudice of good order and of military discipline shall, on conviction by court martial, be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.”
Five Army officers, on their own, reach a conclusion that a Member of Parliament and a nephew of the Prime Minister is responsible for one of the worst carnages in our nation’s history. They do so by expressly going against the Prime Minister’s words, who is also their boss because she holds the defence portfolio. They disavow the investigation report compiled by the Army itself. They steal explosives and munitions and attempt to murder a Member of Parliament.
November 5, 2010
BNP observes November 7 as a national day and a rally is held in Dhaka annually by BNP to commemorate the event. As usual, BNP has been planning on the event for quite a long time. Today it was revealed that BNP was not allowed hold the rally in the two main public meeting places in Dhaka. After not getting permission for Paltan and Muktangan, BNP decided to hold it’s rally in the limited space in front of it’s office.
However in the same newspapers that published this news, also published were reports and photos of a grand rally that took place in Muktangan today. Here is a photo of the grand rally…
While the government talks about secularism and banning of religion based politics, in practicality it prefers the religion based Taliban themed political outfits over the main opposition party. Refusing main opposition permission to hold rally in Muktangan, the site of the above rally of today, is an evidence of the double standard of this government.
November 4, 2010
Online poll for Today’s Daily Star Readers.
[ And by the way, people who read the Daily Star can be considered moderately pro AL people]