Published in BDnews24.com opinion Section on November 28th.

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Rumi Ahmed

It’s not personal

November 28, 2010

khaleda-cry300pxThe 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.

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Please accept the results, Madam Khaleda Zia.

It is a really a bad time for your party and your family, no doubt. And it is extremely difficult to view anything positive out of these results, we know. And it also nearly impossible to give a positive spin to this whole debacle.

Still you have the chance to score a major victory out of these devastation. You would have been the ultimate victorious if you accepted the results and congratulate the winner. People of Bangladesh don’t forget, unless you let them forget (Exactly the way you let them forget great Zia and culprit Ershad and remember Syed Iskander, Shameem Iskander, Shahrin Islam Tuhin, your sons and all the sycophants). If you would have come out graciously this time, they would have remembered this five years later.

And if you complain of election irregularity, please come up with some credible data and fact. Someone has lost from a seat where from he never lost, can not be the proof of massive rigging. Even if there were engineering, would it change the results in 250 seats? Even if BNP was deprived of win in 70 seats, AL still gets a very comfortable majority. And even if AL-CTG-Military axis manages to engineer massive rigging and falsely win in 262 seats, where were your organization? Your party was supposed to be the largest in the country, how come the other side gets by doing all these major rigging? Where were your polling agents? Why did not your party protested early on in the day. Or why we did not hear of any massive scale rigging until after the result came out? How come your party becomes such a fool to manipulate?

If you have some proof of election engineering, let us know. No engineering can cause such a massive loss. But let us know to authenticate your rhetoric. You definitely need to ask question about Election Commission’s reluctance in announcing Noakhali 3 constituency where the brother of army chief was losing. You need ask question on results from hill tracts. But nothing should preclude you from accepting the verdict of peoples’ rejection of your party’s rule. No engineering can cause such major defeat.

So please accept the results, congratulate Mrs. Hasina and start soul searching. Weed out the opportunists and re-unite the party. You threw a big challenge by nominating Nasir Uddin Pintu etc. You have lost in your challenge. Now accept the defeat and clean the party of those who are not liked by people. You forced Dr B Chowdhury out of party, bring him back. Bring back Col Oli- Sheikh Razzaque Ali, Major Mannan et el. Start working on new leadership from selected student leaders of the 80s.

And definitely bring back late president Ziaur Rahman.

Accept the results, Madam. Accept the result. Don’t follow the hated destructive path of the politics of rejection and exclusion.

Please accept the result. And bring back Ziaur Rahman

One of the many very negative characteristics of BNP’s 2001-2006 government is ‘paranoia’. During the whole five years Khaleda Zia was captivated by an uncontrollable suspicion of an Awami League hatched, bureaucracy-NGO supported conspiracy against her government. She could never accept her 1996 street defeat in agreeing to CTG system and her election defeat which she always believed as engineered.

In fact Khaleda Zia’s mortal hatred or ‘possibly’ fear of conspiracy originates much before her 91-96 governance. Depriving her husband of the army chief position in 1972, attempts to send her husband out as ambassador to Czechoslovakia throughout 74-75, events of 75, numerous attempts to kill her husband between 75 and 81 have made Khaleda Zia very severely obsessed with conspiracy theories. En masse defection of top tier BNP leadership, multi-pronged attempts to dismantle BNP did only embolden that paranoia. Then throughout her anti autocracy movement through 1990, she had been struck several times by betrayals. Notable among those are BNP Secretary General Obaidur Rahman’s secret liaison with Ershad, Sheikh Hasina’s somersault to join 86 election. Even at the fag end of anti Ershad movement the jewel in Khaleda’s crown, some senior leadership of Chhatra Dal, decided to betray her by colluding with Ershad.

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More than anybody else, the government is making the most noisy statements suggesting release of Khaleda Zia. It is very clear that after releasing Sheikh Hasina, government is no longer comfortable keeping Khaleda Zia alone in jail.

What Khaleda Zia should do now? She has already made it clear that she is not interested in leaving the country without her sons. It seems that she wants to send her sons abroad but she herself wants to stay back. She apparently is not showing much eagerness for her own freedom too.

Now the question is, would the government allow Tareq Rahman and Arafat Rahman to leave the country and let Khaleda Zia stay at home, free? If they let it happen, how a military -AL deal we are talking about will be successful? And more importantly what will remain of the so called ‘ 1/11 revolution”?

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