The latest news from Bangladesh is that AL secretary general Mr Abdul Jalil, ex BNP leader/state minister/now leading BNP dissident Lutfuzzaman Babar and businessman/MP MA Hashem of Partex group have been arrested by the joint forces.

There have been many arrests so far, Bangladesh is now under state of emergency and these three new arrests should not be a major shock to anyone.

However events leading to these arrests may make political observers raise some eyebrows.

Mr Jalil was in TV yesterday asking the CTG about the exact dateline of the 18 month time frame requested by EC for holding the elections. Mr Jalil has been very visible all along and spoke of his party positions on different issues. I never heard him speak ill of this government or try to destabilize the current govt. Still it is very clear that Mr Jalil has been arrested for speaking out. The powerhouse in BD now wants everybody to be scared to death, not talk at all in fear of arrests. A typical scare tactic to gag people. They did the same thing with Brig Gen Hannan Shah. Similarly when Sheikh Hasina came out strongly demanding an early election date, cases were filed immediately against her.

Lutfuzzaman babar’s arrest is also quite alarming. Just that day, an editor, Mr Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, during his meeting with Army Chief, demanded arrest of Babar. He clearly mentioned to the army chief about why this man has not yet been arrested and “how dare” ( Shahosh pay kivabe?) he host a dinner at his residence for the American Ambassador. I am not going to say whether Babar is innocent or not but I wonder why a demand by a partisan editor to the army chief will led to his arrest? This is not the first time that the government has bribed the editors by arresting people some powerful editors abhore. It was the case with Barrister Nazmul Huda, Masaddek Ali Falu. Even some editors dictated who should and should not be the the advisors to CTG. Even the army chief conceded that one advsior was stopped on his way to the Bangabhavan because one newsppaer published derogatory reports about him. Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury’s demand led to Babar’s arrest. But Is Mr. Chowdhury morally perfect? Didn’t he used his newsppaer as a propaganda tool by letting publish fabricated news reports?

And lastly Mr Hashem. OK he was almost arrested earlier and at that time he was let go after his public announcement denouncing politics. I saw Anwar Hossain Monju was let go after similar announcement and Monju is apparently now in USA. What certainly happened to arrest Hashem even after his retirement from politics?  Monju was spared! Governmnet should take into account the latest accusitions by some quarters that one businessman advisor is using his clout in the government to harras his business opponents.

One inteersting this will be to watch is how Babar’s US connection will help him. Will he be released?

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