July 2008


An earthquake just hit Dhaka. The magnitude was 5.6 in richter scale. Everybody I know in Dhaka felt the jolt. Hence I re-post this blog two years two months later.

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Thousands more die in Indonesia. Earthquake strikes once again. Poor Iran, Indonesia, these countries lie on the fault line. Historically most of the earthquakes happened on the fault lines. California is also situated on a tectonic plate border, the fault line. And all the structures in California are built earthquake safe.

Here is a map of all the major and monor tectonic plates of the world.

platemap

If you can locate Bangladesh in the world map, you will see two plate bounderies, i.e. two fault lines cross Bangladesh. On the noth, the Indian plate clashes with the Eurasian plate and on the east, Indian plate borders Australian plate and continues to Burma plate.

I am not a geology student and won’t pretend to know or understand the basics of the importance of these plate bounderies and earthquake possibilities.

Different newspaper reports inform us that many scientists have been warning about the probability of a devastating 8-9 richter scale catastrophic earthquake in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Bangladesh.

So, major earthquake is also possible in Bangladesh. Are we ready?

Can the authority in Bangladesh speak out with certainty that at least one, only one single rsidential apartment in Bangladesh have been bult to withstand a7.0- 9.0 richter scale earthquake?

We we talk about issues, a variety of issues. There is a word in english dictionery, ‘Priority’. Should we, as a nation, relearn the meaning and implication of the word?

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 It has been almost one and half year. The pressure started soon after the military coup of January 11, 2007 and it continues today. The pressure over the months has gotten astronomically uglier.

I am talking about a political leader and chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Two time elected PM Mrs. Khaleda Zia. I am talking about this person who ruled the country for over ten years, who lead anti dictatorship movement for nine years, who was the first-lady of the country for nearly five years and who was in Pakistan army custody during the nine months of our liberation war.

 
Now , thanks to a military coup, Mrs. Khaleda Zia is in jail. Even Pakistan army did not jail her. They kept her under house arrest. So did Ersahd. He did not dare that either.

 
The current government not only jailed her, they tortured her. They have arrested both her sons and tortured them inhumanly. And the military intelligence people ( Who affectively are the government these days) made sure that Khaleda Zia is informed of all the graphic detail of the tortures on her sons.

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The military coup of 11 January 2007 is unique in modern history. This is probably the first of a kind where a military coup took place under an impeccable disguise of diplomat supported media sponsored military enforced civil society takeover. Martial law usually follows Military coups and this special constitutional provision of martial law usually provides the very important legal and political protection of the coup leaders.

The problem with 1/11 was that although the coup, thanks to co-conspirator media, was very easy; in the after math, the legal-political protection of martial law was not there. This was, IMO, was the most challenging side of the disguised military coup of 1/11.

There is no martial law; it means that the authority has to use the prevailing laws and processes to achieve the effect of martial law.

Initially a subservient chief justice served the purpose quite effectively. The state of affairs is a bit muddy these days with the ascension of a new chief justice. It will be a matter of time before we will know whether the new CJ will continue to follow the order of the General. (After all, you only can offer presidency to only one person, not two).

In the meantime, in addition to the hiring the chief justice to work as the military government’s button man, the ruling military authority has also engaged a multiple layer of safety network. The layers include, among others,

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The current election commission in Bangladesh is, in my view, the worst and most biased election commissions in the history of Bangladesh. Today, they hosted a grand voter roll completion ceremony. Guest of honor was the army chief Moeen, his personal Secretary AKA Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed and a corps of diplomats. There was no politician, not a single one ( except Gen Moeen U Ahmed). Politicians were not invited.

EC should be thanked for at least exposing who they consider their real clients are and where their allegiance is. In an ideal world, EC is there for dealing with political parties and politicians. But this SH ( Shamsul Huda, Shakhawat Hossain, Suhul Hossain) election commission does not believe in that. Their decisions are made in the military intelligence office and definitely their allegiance lies there and it is also getting clear that they don’t want the politicians to participate in the elections they plan to conduct. They don’t care what the politicians say. For them it is more important what the diplomats say. Hence diplomats instead of politicians were invited in today’s voter roll completion ceremony.

The government, the election commission and their trumpeteering media have been boasting, for months, that how many less number of voters are their in this new voter list. Inferring an easy conclusion, the message our government/EC/ media cronies want to spread is that in this 2008 voter list there are 12 million lesser voter and this means this government has prevented registration of 12 million fake voters.

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Central Vice President of BNP’s student wing JCD, and ex VP of Barisal BM College student’s union, Mr Moshiul Alam Sentu was arrested from Dhaka yesterday. It was reported in Newspapers yesterday. This second page small report in a vernacular daily described how he was picked up and taken to undisclosed location yesterday.

If Bangladesh media still retain the slightest trace of sensitivity, I feel Mr Sentu will get a better coverage in tomorrows newspapers from Bangladesh. He was killed today by RAB.

 

Just like that. That easy!

Members of the defence forces pick up an opposition political leader without any arrest warrant and take him away blindfolded. Then within several hours, without any court proceedings, any charges, any chance of defense, that man is shot and killed. And this is executed by members of government law enforcement agencies and defence forces. And that is not the end of the story. The tortured and mutilated body of the victim is then thrown in a public place in his own locality for public viewing.

Welcome to political season 2008-2009. Welcome to post 1/11 Bangladesh.

Then the Goverment backtracks, Frees Nizami…

Photo BDNews24

This is clearly an attempt to weaken and isolate Khaleda Zia and put pressure on her into submission. And look at this garlanded national hero, Nizami. Thank you General Moeen U Ahmed.

And thank you General Moeen also to bring back the rule of law again. As a result of this new rule of law, fallen dictator, the corrupt of the century, most ill natured ruler Bangladesh ever had, HM Ershad gets his cases dismissed one after another. Just today he got cleared off the ENG corruption case. All thanks to a submissive judiciary, a friendly attorney general office and an order from Moeen U Ahmed.

So now we have an Ershad. A friendly Hasina after a done deal and now apparently Nizami joins the league of extraordinary people.
Whether this is the fact or not, the current developments lead us to believe that General Moeen, Sheikh Hasina, Motiur Rahman Nizami and HM Ershad are now on one side. A battle line is being drawn. On the other side is a lowly illiterate ignorant widow Khaleda Zia, matric pass, jailed in a solitary confinement. Both her sons are in captivity and brutally tortured.

I do not want to see Sheikh Hasina in the same eye with the other three in her league. And I still have the hope that someday she will wake up and understand what company she is aligning herself with.
Let’s keep hoping.

 The current election commission in Bangladesh is, in my view, the worst and most politically biased election commissions in the history of Bangladesh. Today, they hosted a grand voter roll completion ceremony. Guest of honor was the army chief Moeen, his personal Secretary AKA Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed and a corps of diplomats. There was no politician, not a single one ( except Moeen U Ahmed). Politicians were not invited.

EC should be thanked for at least exposing who their real clients are and where is their allegiance. In an ideal world, EC is there for dealing with political parties and politicians. But this SH ( Shamsul Huda, Shakhawat Hossain, Suhul Hossain) election commission  does not believe in that. Their decisions are made in the military intelligence office and definitely their allegiance lies there and it is also getting clear that they don’t want the politicians to participate in the elections they plan to conduct. Who cares what the politicians say. It is more important what the diplomats say. Hence diplomats instead of politicians were invited in todays voter roll completion ceremony.

The government, the election commission and their trumpeteering media has been boasting, for months, that how many less number of voters are their in this new voter list. Inferring an easy conclusion, the message our government/EC/ media cronies want to spread is that in this 2008 voter list there are 12 million lesser voter. This means this government has prevented registration of 12 million fake voters.

Last week one political leader of southers town of Barisal, young and very popular in his community, Mr Moshiul Alam Sentu was picked up by the members of government law enforcement agencies and defence forces. Within several hours, he was shot and killed and his body was thrown streetside in his locality for public viewing. It has been reported that sincce the undeclared martial law of 11 January 2007, Mr Sentu was hiding out in capital Dhaka out of fear of arrest. He was not able to go home. Like Mr sentu, there are hundreds of thousands of grassroots political leadership and activists who are living out of their locality as they are in constant fear of arrest by local law enfocement men if they go back to their locality.

 

Mr sentu was one of  the 12 million less voter our ED is boasting of.  Sentu could not go back to be registered as voter. Going to military camp meant risking life for him. The fact is that Sentu was not the only one citizen missing from the new voter roll. Those hundreds of thousands activists who are afraid to go back home are also missing from the new voter roll.

Additionally, there has not been any report on what percentage of rural- socially underprevileged citizens did go to the military camp set up for voter registration. And then also remained unreported is what proportion of the indigenous hill people, who are alreday in an uneasy relationship with the members of the armed forces, did go to the military camps to get enroled as voters.

Before the attempted 2007 election a strong and concerted effort was made to convince the nation that government was not ready for an election. Almost on daily basis, newspapers published stories about in which remote corner of the country, how many voters were not registered. TV cameras used to go to peoples’ homes and the members of the family used narrate dramatic stories on how no one ever came to their home for voter registration. As the election got nearer, a great hue and cry was started for printed voter list. Just research the print media of Bangladesh available online; you will see all these stuff. AL lead 14 party leadership, that murderer Ershad, civil society org Shujon/ CPD, some media all started the chorus, how dare you call for election schedule without ‘x’ number of printed voter list available for all the agents. And definitely we all heard, again and again and again that without participation all the major political parties, an election will never be acceptable.
Now let’s look at what happens at the present. Pro government media (These days in Bangladesh, there are hardly any anti government media) are giving daily headlines on how festive the nation is over the election. Military controlled TV outlets are starting their nightly news with elaborate and inflated images of the festive electioneering. Interestingly however, these time nobody talks about a printed voter list. We now have an election, but we do not have a printed voter list yet. 

We also forgot the very premises this government is here. The premise was to ensure a fair, free and all party participated election. Isn’t this the reason 1/11 happened? And what we are having now, is it a fair, free and all participated poll? Where are our bloggers, where is the media? Something has seriously gone wrong with this nations’ conscience.

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