Sunday, January 30, 2005

BANGLADESH:Face political terrorism jointly or don't complain about the inevitable

+ The plain truth is, the politics and political leadership are becoming victim of wrong politics of their own doing. They started terrorism in politics and now terrorism is trying to destroy their politics and political leadership. +

Face political terrorism jointly or don't complain about the inevitable
By Mainul Hosein

The entire nation is shocked at the killing of Shah A.M.S. Kibria who served for many years famously nationally and internationally. After joining politics of Awami League he became finance minister. His death at the hands of bomb throwing terrorists not only has saddened us all but also made us disappointed with the political leadership of the country. Killings by terrorism are politically motivated and already many innocent lives have been lost. Not only our political leaders have lacked the foresight to know their common enemy, they cannot even sit and think together for dealing with the crisis which is making the democratic process itself seriously vulnerable. They refuse to appreciate that if democracy goes politicians do not survive.

After the tragic incident at Habiganj Awami League leaders have warned of tough action against the government. But what they have done is to announce their outmoded and overused programme of hartal. They will observe hartal continuously for three days. Hartals are tough for the ordinary people who suffer all sorts of inconveniences. Business people will lose business. Poor ones will be hard pressed to earn their daily bread. The government offices will not be affected by hartal. Such a long hartal punishes the general public and diminishes
people's sympathies for the Awami League's cause.

The plain truth is, the politics and political leadership are becoming victim of wrong politics of their own doing. They started terrorism in politics and now terrorism is trying to destroy their politics and political leadership.

The people are skeptical about the ability of the political leaders to save themselves or the people from the crisis of political terrorism. For some persons and some foreign-aided NGOs, the simple answer is to blame Muslim religious groups. This is an internationally known agenda against any Muslim country. They used this slogan to get support of those who want to condemn Bangladesh and its people as being filled with Taleban or Bin Laden type terrorists so that international isolation of Bangladesh can be imposed. They do not want to admit the possibility that some of those who publicly and openly have been threatening to overthrow the elected government are proving helpful to those who want to destabilise politics of the country.

Surely, nobody has forgotten that Awami League government was defeated in the last general election mainly for two failures. Their failure to check corruption. Secondly, it is during Awami League's rule that the people became deeply worried by the spread of terrorist activities. Bomb throwing incidents took place during Awami League's rule also. The Awami League leaders proved no more competent than the present political leaders in power to identify the culprits. It is now no use making religion or religious groups easy targets.

It is possible that terrorists have a safe way of slipping out of the country once the crime has been committed. Serious and impartial investigation is necessary to find out whose political agenda these terrorism are following and whose protection they are enjoying.

Our big and secular political leaders of BNP and Awami League failed to show their competence for fighting terrorism separately. The political terrorists cannot be stopped by police action only. The government proved wrong by believing that RAB is enough for the job. We said it before also that it is no political leadership or political judgment for fighting political terrorism.

Many observers believe that taking advantage of unwillingness and inability of political leaders to act together, powerful enemies of democracy have remained active and beyond reach. They do not want political stability or economic progress for the good of our people.

Forget the foreign slogan against Islamic terrorism. We urge upon our political leaders to recognise the threat against them. To stop terrorist attacks against political leaders, they themselves should take up the responsibility jointly and earnestly.

Only through joint investigation by the government and Awami League all doubts about free and fair investigation can be removed. We see no reason for hesitation on the part of Awami League not to respond to the call of joint probe into the killing of Mr Kibria and others. Awami League has many allegations against the government for not being sincere about investigation into the acts of terrorism. The government has also the argument that every time an act of terrorism is committed Awami League leaders are too quick to call hartal and demand
resignation of the government. So they are not really interested in punishing the terrorists.

We suggested joint probe into the bomb attack at Sheikh Hasina's meeting in August last year. We again suggest that BNP and Awami League should form a joint committee to investigate honestly and sincerely into the bomb attack at Habiganj which killed Mr. Kibria and four others. It makes no sense to blame anybody for such heinous crime without knowing the truth. This time the government has shown its readiness to accept joint probe with the Awami League. Awami League leaders must grab this offer.

Any sensible person can see the danger if political killers go free. Today the Awami League leaders are victims in their hands. Tomorrow, if BNP out of power, its leaders will not remain safe from them.

Politics is not about blind arrogance or reckless self-centredness.Politics and political leadership are human enterprises of a shared wisdom and experience. The politicians may differ among themselves but they cannot survive alone or in isolation in the face of grave challenges. They must either face the common threat of political
terrorism jointly or they all have to meet the inevitable helplessly.