Smriti Sen Gupta
Following her party’s landslide victory in the December 30 general election and forming the government for the straight third-consecutive term, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seems to be genuinely determined this time in combating corruption. When it comes to combating militancy, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister has definitely exhibited courage and determination by combating militancy, although some of the international observers did not take Sheikh Hasina’s abrupt decision of building a bridge of political relations between Awami League and pro-Caliphate Hefazat e Islam (HEI). For a traditionally secularist Awami League, HEI, a group that denounces democracy and demands establishment of Caliphate is a huge mismatch. Policymakers of the ruling party though say, their relations with HEI was “purely political” but lately we have been witnessing with grave worries the way HEI has been gradually getting its nefarious agendas implemented by the ruling party. There is no doubt, to the Western policymakers; Awami League’s connections with Hefazat e Islam would only leave a wrong signal. Under any pretext, Awami League’s attraction for Hefazat actually will result in disastrous consequence for the oldest political party in Bangladesh.
Ever since forming government for the third consecutive term, Sheikh Hasina has been repeatedly declaring her government’s “zero tolerance” towards corruption stating her government will continue its fight against graft to keep up the country’s development spree and uphold its achievement. She said, “Though it’s not possible for any country to root out hundred percent corruptions, it’s a responsibility of our government to check corruption so that it cannot impede the upliftment of the country and ruin all our success”.
She further said, “Our war to stamp out terrorism, graft and narcotics will continue”.
While people may feel encouraged knowing about government’s determination in combating corruption, there still are reasons to be pessimistic as in the past, we have witnessed how masterminds of the share market scam, Multi Level Marketing scam, Sonali Bank scam, Basic Bank scam, Janata Bank scam, Agrani Bank scam and the merciless looting in the financial sector have been handled in a dubious manner. There also is reason to be doubtful when some party lawmakers are accused of amassing wealth worth billions of Taka during the past ten years by abusing power.
Here an important point should be mentioned. When military-backed government came to power in 2007, people of Bangladesh cheered at its drive against corruption. This was the only reason that brought popularity for that government. People of any country are against corruption and they do appreciate any government’s initiative in punishing corrupts without considering their political affiliations. There should also be effective initiatives in finding wealth possessed by Bangladeshi nationals abroad, who had purchased those properties and even deposited cash in foreign bank accounts by smuggling-out millions of dollars from Bangladesh. Local and international media should extend fullest support to the Bangladeshi Prime Minister in her drive against corruption.
For Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a massive crackdown on corruption and starting real investigation thus sending even some of her partymen behind bars would not only increase her popularity at home but also will help her in getting international appreciations.