Mass ar­rests in Bangladesh

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Isi­bil­ity T ap­pears as an­ar­chy and chaos are fast en­gulf­ing Bangladesh, re­spon

of which could sim­ply be fixed on its own Prime Min­is­ter Hasina Wa­jid whose re­venge­ful poli­cies are only serv­ing to ig­nite fire and re­sult­ing in blood­shed. In re­cent weeks, the coun­try is reel­ing from a wave of bru­tal killings with re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, sec­u­lar thinkers and lib­eral ac­tivists the chief tar­gets. While po­lice has ar­rested about 3000 peo­ple on charges of in­volve­ment in grue­some mur­ders, the op­po­si­tion par­ties are ac­cus­ing Hasina gov­ern­ment of us­ing crack­downs to sup­press po­lit­i­cal dis­sent.

Given the de­vel­op­ments of last few years in which Ja­mat-i-Is­lami lead­ers were ex­e­cuted in flawed and one-sided tri­als, con­cerns ex­pressed by the op­po­si­tion par­ties are, there­fore very much gen­uine. The mer­ci­less po­lit­i­cal vendetta be­ing pur­sued by Hasina has re­sulted in cre­at­ing hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal wedge in the so­ci­ety so much so that even the Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion is feel­ing un­safe and los­ing hopes of tol­er­ance and democ­racy in the coun­try. This does not au­gur well for Bangladesh, which had made tremen­dous eco­nomic strides dur­ing the era of Khal­ida Zia who as a true leader fo­cused only on eco­nomic re­forms and took the gar­ment in­dus­try to new heights, earn­ing re­pute for the coun­try world­wide. Un­for­tu­nately, Bangladesh of to­day un­der Hasina is known for ris­ing in­tol­er­ance and the one where the voice of dis­sent is be­ing sti­fled. In the greater good of the peo­ple of Bangladesh, for whom the peo­ple of Pak­istan re­ally feel from the heart, the Bangladeshi PM should re­visit her poli­cies. The task be­fore her is clear: en­cour­age free­dom of thought, ex­pres­sion and re­frain from con­tribut­ing to the cul­ture of in­tol­er­ance by crack­ing down on po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Bangladesh stands at a cross­roads. Only wise de­ci­sions by its po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship could pro­pel the coun­try in right di­rec­tion.

PITY the man in the street for he knows not whether he is com­ing or go­ing. He is be­ing force-fed so many of­fi­cial ver­sions of the same happenings that he can no longer de­cide what or whom to be­lieve or, in­deed, trust. Con­stantly bom­barded by myr­iad me­dia chan­nels each play­ing its own tune, he can hardly de­cide whether to suc­cumb or to plug his ears. Mean­while, the world around him ap­pears to be crum­bling to pieces, while the pow­ers that be keep on in­sist­ing on more of the same.

It is not such a bad idea to look over the shoul­der every once in a while. A look over the shoul­der at re­cent his­tory may thus be in or­der. Some time af­ter the Iraq ad­ven­ture, the Pres­i­dent of the sole su­per­power, speak­ing at the United Na­tions, had ex­horted the world at large to “con­tinue to fight ter­ror­ism”. De­spite the stale­mate in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Great White Chief was in­tent on giv­ing the world more of the same. How much can the world take be­fore it comes apart at the seams was the ques­tion that came to every­body’s mind!

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush (re­mem­ber?) also gave ex­pres­sion to his con­fi­dence that ‘the cur­rent fi­nan­cial mar­ket crises in Wall Street’ would be duly over­come with his pro­posed 700 bil­lion dol­lar res­cue op­er­a­tion that, he claimed, would be en­acted in the “ur­gent time-frame re­quired”. He as­serted this with the


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