Awami League


Sheikh Hasina is sitting in her chair at the Prime Minister’s Office. Suddenly, the head of SSF, or BGB, or the Engineering Corp for that matter, suddenly comes into her office and tells her that Tanvir Mohammad Twoki, a brilliant young student, has been murdered and that the suspicion is that the family of Shamim Osman is behind it. Hasina stays silent. Or perhaps, more realistically, she launches several blistering ad hominem attacks against the bearer of the news, Khaleda Zia, “shushil samaj,” and her pet peeves of the day. However, she doesn’t order any specific course of action.

Would that make her culpable for the murder of Tauqi?

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BNP has made a mistake! BNP has missed the election train! Khaleda Zia must repent now! I keep hearing version of this argument from various quarters, including individuals in whom I have a great deal of faith and who judgment I regard as sound.

What would have happened if BNP would have participated, and hypothetically, won the election? Would Sheikh Hasina have handed over power to Khaleda Zia and meekly left Gono Bhaban? “I can tell you that Sheikh Hasina will not hand over power. It can only happen over our dead bodies.”  Was Mr. Wazed speaking only in the context of coups, or was it a general statement, encompassing all foreseeable future possibilities? Bangladesh is the country of double standards. That the horrific and murderous attacks on our Hindu communities happened while Awami League is in power, following an Awami League “victory”, with Sheikh Hasina herself handling the Home Ministry, is still somehow all evidence of BNP-JI’s diabolical nature. If the hypothetical victory had actually happened, we would immediately have seen an outcry, and a plausible excuse not to hand over power to BNP.

In the days of yore, when men were men, and giants strode the earth, there used to be a website. It was called unheardvoice. It was, for a while, very good. Then it stopped being as good. Then it disappeared. So it was with great interest that I recently read a newspaper column by Asif Saleh, one of the founders of unhearvoice.

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We are at, possibly, the last lull before the next storm hits Bangladesh. Ramadan will let BNP and AL figure out where they stand and what they want to do next. The months after Eid are likely to be as action-packed and eventful as the stretch between February and May.

One worry I have heard for a long time is that AL won’t allow elections at all. I do not believe this will come to pass. Awami League will certainly tilt the playing field their way as much as possible, but ultimately, I think they will call elections. There is a significant section of AL that believes that BNP will come to any election, under any terms, because the party has seen that it is hopeless at street agitations.

So, the question becomes, under what circumstances should BNP agree to participate in the election?

Here, as in much else, the Mahabharat has a point to make.

Before an epic war, two leaders from the two opposing sides go to see Lord Krishna. He is sleeping, so one sits at his head and the other at his feet. Once he awakens, they both ask for his support. Krishna offers them a choice: they can either choose his vast armies, including the elite corp called Narayani Sena, or himself, in a noncombatant role. The two captains made their choices and both departed feeling that they had gotten the better of the other side.

BNP should make the following offer to Awami League and Hasina, either:

i. They will abide by the terms of the 15th Amendment, and go to election with the current EC, with all the current MPs and ministers still remaining in office, only if Sheikh Hasina steps down and lets someone else, potentially President Abdul Hamid or Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, act as interim head of government, or

ii. Hasina can stay as PM, but Parliament has to be disbanded, with all MPs and ministers resigning, and an interim group of ten advisors, as non-partisan as possible, to act as the cabinet similar to the past caretaker governments. Hasina could be the caretaker chief.

And then sit back and let Hasina mull the choices, and the consequences of each.

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“How do we characterize or categorize the people of Shahbag? Who are the people of Shahbag? … What is the class character of this group, what excites or drives this group? Who they were during different periods of our history- how they were represented during different historical milestone of Bangladesh.”

© Arif Hafiz

© Arif Hafiz

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“Those who want to “help” (!) the country, they have some small addiction to hunting. To sate their hunger, it is the Bishyajits who have to be the hunted deer.”

Ruling Awami League party activists chop an innocent man to death. They suspected that he was an opposition activist supporting the nationwide blockade. Recently, Home Minister has urged party activists to take over law enforcement and resist opposition activities.

BCL Hartal

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