Friday, February 11, 2005

BANGLADESH: Waiting for pro-country, pro-people politics

+ The country must not be allowed to be swayed by the whims of a few power-mongering politicians through their politics of ulterior motives embedded in corruption, terrorism and hartal. These creators of human miseries and sufferings have to be rejected by the whole people with unity once and for all for the safety of the people and security of the country.This will, however, not happen overnight. But a process has to start with the formation of non-political or all party citizens' committee in each ward all over the country, first of all to resist the man-made catastrophe of hartals. +

Waiting for pro-country, pro-people politics
S.A. Ferdausi


THE nature of negative politics prevailing in the country is evoking the question, as it is the cause of pervasive trouble for the growth of the country's economy and development.

This kind of politics can be called anything but pro-country and pro-people. If it is so, then what are the politicians of the country for or after? Is it for keeping on the perpetual terrorism and corruption by the political elements of both the opposition and the ruling parties? It will not be unjust if one thinks that Bangladesh is the haven for free style, self-defeating and destructive politics and a country, devoid of congenial atmosphere for investment and business.

The politics of killing of dissidents or opponents, disrespect to others' views, egoism and intransigent attitude of the top brass of the ruling and the opposition parties, hartals and violence claiming public lives and destroying national property, have pushed the country into a vicious circle. The political parties, their leaders and activists sitting on the driving seat are taking the country backward and making its poor majority people to suffer continuously.

But it has been an earnest hope of the people of this part of the world that they would be free from the chain of poverty, hunger and disease since the British colonial rule down to the autocratic political as well as military and the so-called democratic governments for the last 10-11 years.

The politicians who are short sighted, self-seeking and protecting the vested interest and power grabbers are the forces responsible for non-realisation of the long cherished dream of the people.

The ghastly and hateful killing of the Awami League leader and a former finance Minister Shah ASM Kibria and the revengeful 72-hour hartal from 29-31 of last month and the following 12-hour and 36-hour hartal, on the 3rd and 5th and 6th of this months observed in protest and the threatened three-day (Monday to Wednesday) hartal again in Chittagong to paralyse the port (later reduced to Monday's 8-hour token strike) brought the nation to a standstill.

The shedding of crocodile tears by politicians and the protectors of the perpetrators of terrorist activities in the country by Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islam and other Islamic parties and the left parties including the outlawed Purba Banglar Communist party and those of the so-called Bangla Bhai of late in media focus at home and abroad are all driving nail after nail into the coffin of economic advancement of the country and its poverty alleviation efforts.

The incumbent finance minister has rightly said that the execution of the annual development programme (ADP) wound not be possible if the politics of hartal continues. The FBCCI, other chambers and the BGMEA also voiced their indignation and called for withdrawal of hartal affecting port activities and industrial productions and hampering the trade and commerce in the country and multiplying the sufferings of the general public. But who cares?

Politicians are found too indifferent to peoples' wishes and their very pressing needs. The top leaders of both the opposition and the ruling parties welcome the suffering-people for what they say making their hartal programme a success or for not supporting the call. The silent majority of the people dislike their motivated thanks, but the politicians do not care.

The countrymen, particularly the silent majorities are fed up with these self-styled politicians for their anti-people and anti-state activities. They, in fact, want to get rid of these evil forces from society, but they do not have any alternative.

The suffering millions urgently feel the necessity of an alternative and this alternative force imbibed with the spirit of patriotism and honesty has to come up from within the mass people of the country. But the question is where will the alternative come from and how it will come.

This has to come from the civil society comprising all sections of people who are honest and do not belong to any political party. They will run the country ensuring law and order, public safety, security of the country and natural resources, production in the fields and factories and development of trade, commerce and industry.

The country must not be allowed to be swayed by the whims of a few power-mongering politicians through their politics of ulterior motives embedded in corruption, terrorism and hartal. These creators of human miseries and sufferings have to be rejected by the whole people with unity once and for all for the safety of the people and security of the country.

This will, however, not happen overnight. But a process has to start with the formation of non-political or all party citizens' committee in each ward all over the country, first of all to resist the man-made catastrophe of hartals. These committees will have to work to guard against political hoodlums who will try to enforce the unwarranted hartal by keeping the shops businesses, offices schools and colleges, banks and insurance institutions, mills and factories closed and movement of public and private transport halted by way of violence. They will help the police and the law enforcer to nab the motivated activists disturbing peace in the locality and finally will help build a social movement against hartals.

It is encouraging to note that such a process -- though not as exactly described above -- has already started in the country. A newspaper report from the Hakimpur of Dinajpur said the local Awami League, BNP and Jatiyo Party decided to withdraw two-day hartal at Hili land port and also not to enforce hartal there for next five years. The Bangla Hili Customs C & F agents Association persuaded the three parties to take the epoch-making rational decision Friday night (January 4) to keep the import and export going though the port in larger national interest.

This kind of realisation to save the country from the clutch of hartal and any other anti-people and anti-state activities is a crying need and the whole population has to be organised in the form of neutral citizen committees -- locally and nationally -- under the auspices of the civil society. We have to always bear it in mind that people are the source of power, not the politicians.

The report of Hakimpur should serve as an eye opener for the political leaders of all the parties and they should get the message that confidence of the people in them is on the wane and the day is not far-off when they would be thrown away. After all, politics is for the country and not otherwise, this culture has to be established in this country by all means. This is the call of the time and entire population has to respond in the right direction without any loss of time.

It is also expected from the politicians of all parties that they would come back from the politics of hartal and other agitational activities and bring their respective house in order to face the people and get their verdict in the coming national election in 2006.