April 24, 2004

Current political crisis in Bangladesh and its future

Bangladesh is known in the media of all the western countries as a country of catastrophe, hunger and poverty, of overpopulation and of constant aid from abroad. But in the 33 years of its independence, Bangladesh has proved that it can tackle its own problems to an increasing extent, only the politicians have proved otherwise. By their imprudent actions, they make the people of this country ludicrous and laughing-stock to others. The present government has miserably failed to properly govern the country. Massive corruption and total lawlessness have caused concern among the people in the country.

The human rights situation in Bangladesh cannot be considered satisfactory. Police have arrested about 7,000 people in the capital, specially in places like railway & bus stations in the last four days in a move to tackle the oust coalition government movement by the main opposition. The arrests were made using special power act and without warrants and the detainees are mostly day laborers or people from village who does not have the power or money to resist the police claiming that they cannot just simply detain an innocent person. This is a ploy of govt. to intimidate opposition activists from coming to Dhaka for the protests scheduled. Any opposition activity is resisted with strong police activity and virtually sealing off the area of protest.

These are all proving that the govt. is deparate to save its position. The rule has turned to be an autocratic instead of a democratic one. The govt. media do not highlight the opposition activities and only run state propaganda.

Bangladesh's achievements so far:

1) Self-sufficiency in food for its population of 130 million (over 90%)
2) Reduction in the growth of population to 1.7 percent (3% in the '70s)
3) Self-employment and poverty reduction through microcredit (pioneer - Grameen Bank) - which in now being replicated by more than 50 countries in the world.
4) NGOs like BRAC, Proshika and GSS are doing very well in rural development, basic education, health care etc.
5) The introduction of compulsory school attendance in 1991 and free education for girls up to twelve grade in 2001 and a large-scale general education programme, are contributing towards rise in literacy rate.
6) The GDP growth has steadily arrived at 5.5 percent in fiscal 2003-2004 while there is a forecast for further increase by one percent in the next fiscal year.
7) After the discovery of extensive natural resource base, specially gas, foreign investors are showing increasing interest for investment in Bangladesh.
8) Bangladesh government finances about 45 percent of its annual development budget from its own resources.

I think all the political parties and their leaders should bear that in mind and ensure that whatever happens we should not achieve anything less than above in the future. Otherwise the people will never forgive them. They should always remember, in a democratic setup there will always be a a time for the voters to choose, if not now, at the time of next election i.e. 2005. So there will be no escape if somebody performs badly at peoples expenses. The people will rise and when they rise, they will wash away all the wastes among the politicians.

(Source: The Daily Star)


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