Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Desai Biswal has told the US Congress that, prolonged political instability would take a dangerous toll on the impoverished Bangladesh. She said, “we believe that all of the gains that Bangladesh has made in its economy, in its development trajectory, that all of their gains are fragile and unsustainable in the long term if it does not have political stability.”
Nisha Desai Biswal put the emphasis on greater degree of political inclusion for such political stability in Bangladesh. To understand the exact meaning of what Ms. Biswal said, someone surely does not need to hold a Masters degree in political science. Even a naive can understand that the US policymakers are not seeing political stability in Bangladesh under the unique form of (One party rule), where the Bangladeshi current parliament is amongst those rarest rubber -stamp parliaments, where it has no opposition party. The whole bunch of the parliament is packed with ruling and pseudo ruling party – the biggest ever mockery in the name of democracy!
We clearly understand that American Policy makers are not at all comfortable at the current political standstill and demised democracy. They also have no reason to feel delighted at the increasing trend of state -patronized terror which includes series of enforced disappearances, abduction, extra -judicial murder and repression on media. Congressman Steve Chabot, chairman of the sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific, House committee of Foreign Affairs, encouraging sustained effort to encourage political progress in Bangladesh said, “if it’s not resolved, I’m afraid the violence is going to escalate and an ally… A good ally of the United States all one that has kind of traditionally been looked upon as a model for a moderate Muslim country – could become just the opposite.”
Similar voice is echoed by Denise Rollins, acting assistant administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Asia Bureau. She said, “The democratic institutions in Bangladesh developed over the past decades were at risk of backsliding without a renewed commitment to participatory and inclusive politics.”
On the World Press Freedom Day, Karin Karlekar, project director of the Freedom House, published a report, where Bangladesh has slipped down three places in the ranking as the repression on the media significantly increased during past few years.
It is well understood that the Bangladeshi government will not pay any damn what Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal or Mr. Steve Chabot or Ms. Karin Karlekar said. Because, the ruling party in Dhaka has already taken a firm anti-west stand copying the policies of Tehran, Pyongyang, Havana or Moscow. Rather they already have started believing that, anti-west policy and ignoring what Westerners say is the only best remedy for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her party in continuing in power until 2041, if not ever eternally. Beside this diplomatic strategy, the Bangladeshi Government also has taken the policy of appeasing Islamists and Jihadist. As part of this strategy, a Bangladeshi court (court of the metropolitan session judge) led by Zahurul Huq, at the instruction of a very influential advisor of the Prime Minister, convicted anti-jihadist Muslim Zionist journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury to seven years rigorous imprisonment. The only “crime” of Mr. Choudhury is, he exposed the rise of radical Islam and Jihadist forces in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government convicted Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury violating or totally ignoring a House Resolution (HR 64) of the US Congress and Congressman Steve Chabot was one of those 406 members of the US Congress who not only voted in favor of this extremely courageous journo but also is one of the strongest defenders of him. There is no doubt, the conviction of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury has left a wrong signal in the West, which surely is no less than that of the case of persecuting Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank.
Future of Bangladesh is surely smoky enough. It will further worsen with the state patronized terror, which includes abduction, enforced disappearance, extra-judicial murders, where members of the law enforcement agencies are directly involved. It is well anticipated that the secretary General of The United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and his team will surely take note of it, so will be the top brasses in United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPKF). No one can predict what would be the ultimate consequences of all those things that happened and happening in Bangladesh. But of course, there is enough room to apprehend – Bangladeshi rulers are going to face massive challenges and series of international pressures in the coming days.
The author is a Bangladeshi living in Kenya.