July 18, 2007

Minus Two Formula in effect

I was in Luxembourg when Sheikh Hasina was arrested. I have compiled the reaction of the Bangladeshi blogosphere for Global Voices online. Here it is:

The Bangladeshi Blogosphere went into a tizzy after the recent arrest of the ex Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. She has been arrested on the charges of extorting about $440,000 from a businessman during her term in office from 1996 to 2001. Earlier Sheikh Hasina survived a government bar to return to the country forcing her into exile due to much publicity against it.

Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers & Dhaka have frequent updates on the situation. BBC has some backgrounds on the subject in their article “what the arrest of former PM means“.

Addafication reports that there are also rumors that ex Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia will be arrested soon. Shada Kalo thinks that minus two formula is nearing the end game.

The Bangladeshi politics are influenced by the main two rival major political parties Awami League and BNP led by ex Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and ex Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia respectively (Picture courtesy the Daily Star). Earlier this year, when the country was at the brink of chaos and civil war as Awami League refused to participate in the election claimed to be engineered by BNP, a state of Emergency was imposed. An army backed interim (caretaker) government took control of the situation and started the cleansing process of the confrontational politics and the corrupt politicians. Although their methods are controversial, they have gained popular support as people see the chance of accountability being restored at last.

The recent controversy in the political reform process is the alleged minus two formula backed by the government. This formula talks of deducting these two political icons (ladies) from the party leaderships so that fresh and younger members can pump some new blood in the ailing politics. However to achieve this unusual methods have been taken like using the law against the top party leaders at will.

Addafication questions not her arrest itself, but rather the conditions surrounding it.
The first question that springs to my mind is why now when she has started speaking up again? This case has been filed for quite a while now, from before the whole farce over allowing her or not allowing her to board a British Airways flight from Heathrow back home took place in April. If it is really the law that is being done justice through her arrest, why wait until the woman reverted to her outspoken character once more after a period of relative calm?
Unheard Voices: Drishtipat Blog questions the flaws in the case against Hasina:
Was Hasina involved directly in it? The accusation seems to be purely circumstantial.
Xanthis:: intelligence reports says:
There are enough reasons to believe that the former PM & the president of Bangladesh Awami League has been arrested for some verifications. After the interrogation of several Awami League leaders & members of Sheikh Hasina’s inner circle, some intelligence agencies of Bangladesh government feel that few things need to be cleared.
Meanwhile Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wajed Joy has this to say in his blog:
The grassroots of the Awami League are completely united behind Sheikh Hasina. Due to this the regime’s attempt at creating a division within the Awami League was failing. This is the real reason my mother has been arrested. This was the only way they could silence her.
He also accuses:
It is also no secret that this regime has been trying to form a handpicked political party. They are attempting to do this with some very familiar faces within the two major parties.
Bangladesh politics remarks:
To me, arresting the all prominent politicians in the name of corruption is just a tactic to remove any competition from the political arena for some other interest group to be in power.
Shahzaman Mazumder says:
On principle, I do not support the Minus Two Formula.

If the two leaders are truly guilty of corruption, they should face a fair trial and if found guilty, should be punished according to the laws of the land.
Dhaka Blog contemplates on what will happen now:
Apart from sporadic crashes between AL workers and police in Dhaka, Khulna and Mymensingh there really is nothing much to report. As a friend commented, six months ago, they shut down the entire country and now there is no sign of the concerted, organized movement that we know the AL is capable of. I think it is safe to say that the Awami League is split and the reformists have the upper hand for now.
Addafication has an update that the anti-corruption commission has asked for wealth statements from both Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, which can lead to more lawsuits against them.


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