January 14, 2007

Update on Bangladesh II

Bangladesh is calm after the Thursday night turnaround. Five new advisers were sworn in. Not much controversies were there with the selection. Two of them are from the business community.

The general people have expressed their satisfaction over the state of emergency. Because it got rid of the fear people had a few days ago.

But two disturbing developments are worrying me. First the drive against the corrupt Godfathers, politicians and businessmen has been suspended. While some question this as arbitrary harassment as who is deciding who are guilty this is also not a prescribed process in the rule of law.

And another most crucial development is the curtailing of civic rights. An emergency ordinance is enacted which has the following features:

* Power has been given to the relevant authorities for promulgation of ordinances to restrict all activities subversive to the state or that which may create panic in public life.

* The government may suspend the activities of all political parties, trade unions, clubs and associations and ban any kind of strike or lockout with controlling dissemination of any news or information in this regard.

* Publication or printing of newspaper, book, document or paper and broadcasting and news or information detrimental to public safety can be banned and any kind of such materials can be seized from the printing press along with confiscating machinery of the press or media under the same ordinance.

* The ordinance will empower the government to arrest or detain any person or restrict the entry, living, stay or movement of any person to refrain him from any activity harmful to the relations with any foreign country or in the public interest.

* Under the ordinance, the government can control entry, stay or visit of any person to Bangladesh. The government can also control or disrupt or block any message or news through postal service, radio, telegram, telex, fax, internet and telephone.

* The government under the purview of the state of emergency can control the trade and business to ensure smooth supply of essentials to members of the public. It can also control generation, supply, distribution and use of electricity.

* The government can arrest and try any person if found responsible for violating rules and orders under this ordinance, and can also award capital punishment or life term or 14-year jail or penalty or both.

* According to the ordinance, no question on the legality of orders to be proclaimed under the authority of this ordinance can be raised in any court.

No civil or criminal case can be lodged against any person in the civil or criminal court, who will act on good faith under any rule or order of the ordinance.

Now tell me if the above do not sound like a martial law suspending the rule of law, then what it is?

Ps: Drishtipat tries to find what really happened that made Iajuddin to do the opposite of what he was doing.

More Update: Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil Sunday appreciated the "role of the army" in shaping up the new caretaker government. (BdNews24)


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