January 2009

PM declares war on terror . This is how The daily Star highlights the opening remarks of the newly elected Prime minister of Bangladesh. This is definitely a move to please/ payback the benefactors of PM’s government that include neighborhood powerhouse India and global powerhouse USA. However in USA, per an AFP report, the newly elected President Obama ‘declared end’ to war on terror.

Thu, Jan 29th, 2009 12:12 am BdST
bdnews24.com correspondent

Dhaka, Jan 28 (bdnews24.com) – The Election Commission has requested banks and other institutions not to make national identity cards mandatory for their services, as an estimated 15 million eligible citizens are yet to get their cards, an EC official said on Wednesday.

“The EC has already written to the Cabinet Division, Bangladesh Bank, secretary to the President’s office, all ministries, divisions and relevant organisations not to make the national ID card compulsory for opening bank accounts, getting credit and other services,” EC secretary Humayun Kabir told bdnews24.com.

“The Commission took the decision because ID cards have not reached all and a gazette notification by the government is also still awaited.

“Some 20-30 percent of eligible citizens, or 15 million people, have yet to receive their cards for reasons ranging from failing to register as voters or non-collection of cards issued.”

At least 20 percent of more than 80 million registered voters have not collected their cards, he said.

“Mistakes in the cards already issued are another problem,” he said.

“Moreover, the government hasn’t yet issued a gazette notification making the cards ‘mandatory’,” said Kabir.

The National Identity Authorities Ordinance 2008 requires the government to issue the gazette to make the ID cards compulsory.

Director of the National Identity Card Project, Brig Gen Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, told bdnews24.com, “The project will start updating the voter list with photos and distributing the national ID cards afresh, if the government asks.”

“Pilot programmes will be undertaken before updating the voter list and national ID card project. The first such pilots will be done in places around Dhaka,” said Kabir.

According to the Voter List Ordinance, updating should be done annually during the month of January.

“But because of the national and Upazila polls, the Election Commission could not do the job within the timeframe this year,” said the EC secretary.

The fresh updating will start after the City Corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong and subsequent municipal elections, starting in April, he said.

That what about the claim that this Godsent voter list prevented 15 million fake voters?

Come friday, come the ugly TV footage of fist fight, kicking, shoe fight between two groups of people during the friday sermon at the national mosque. This has now become a regular feature of Friday. Even TV news this friday was dominated by one group of people mercileslsy beating another group of people with heavy wooden box meant to keep shoes, shoes or simply with impure kicking, slapping, beardpulling or boxing.


If you watch the videos and listen to the news carefully, the group of Mullahs at the receiving end of all these deshi martial arts are the skinny bearded protesters against the new Khatib. The new Khatib shehib must have some very physically strong supporters and definitely a jehadi force to protect him. ( Of note, during todays sermon, he relied more on his personal force of bodyguards than police).

jjdkhatibLooking at the video carefully and reading at different news, it is learnt that a portion of those chasing those skinny protesting mullahs are undercover policemen. This part is clearly understood. But who are the rest of people, described as ‘Khatib supporting Musallis’ in newspapers who will resort to merciless beating, shoebox banging on human heads and violent contact sports with these protesting mullahs? When those protesting mullahs were resorting to a non-violence and rather civilized protest ( recite Innalillah… at the commencement of Khutba and leave the mosque), Khatib’s supporters, locking the gate from all sides, came on them with brutest force.

Exactly who is this Khatib? And what is going on in national Mosque?

[ Today is 73rd Birth Anniversary of Late President Ziaur Rahman. When he took over the helm of Bangladesh, he was only 39 years old. This post commemorates President Zia.]

What is Ziaur Rahman’s biggest contribution to Bangladesh?


Ziaur Rahman gave our nation a clear identity. After independence, our national identity was declared as ‘Bangali’ and expectedly this created a lot of confusion. This identity ignored the non-Bangali citizens including the indigenous people of different part of Bangladesh as well as the urdu speaking citizens. Ziaur Rahman first coined the word ‘Bangladeshi’ as our national identity and successive government since then has maintained this identity. He also presented his vision of Bangladeshi nationalism and sutured together the geographic, historic, religious, cultural and political components of our nationhood. He based his politics on nationalism at a time when nationalism has not yet become a pan-global craze. In this context he can be called the father of Bangladeshi nationalism or father of our current national identity.


This is not intended to be an anniversary piece on the events those took place in Bangladesh on 11 January 2007. This is why it has not been posted on the anniversary day. This is intended to be an obituary of ‘thing’ called 1/11. And unfortunately this obituary does not have much good to say about 1/11.

As it is clear from the two lines written above, 1/11, as a political-national event has not been clearly defined yet. There has not been any consensus in what to call the events of 11 January 2007 or the ‘thing’ called 1/11. It was definitely not a popular mass uprising as the nation has experienced in 1969 or in 1990. It could be an offshoot of a failed or ineffective violent street agitation. Is it a military coup? May be it was a military coup. But then it would be the first of its kind in this planet with undisguised sponsorship of the United Nations and not so tacit instigation of the western diplomats as well as diplomats from a neighboring country. And it would be those new kinds of relatively soft military coups, as being seen in Thailand, Pakistan etc. In this kind of coup, some senior military leadership work in close liaison with business community, civil society leaders and the media to bring in a government that will be more sympathetic towards the needs of the urban, educated citizenry. 1/11 may indeed be an attempt in that route. Especially initial minus-two formula, nation building speeches by the army chief, en-masse persecution of the politicians etc were copycat events of a typical military-civil society takeover.