David N Rosenwald
Following its humiliating result in the last held general elections, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) seems to be not learning anything from it. Rather the party is still continuing obeying dictation of its controversial senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman. Hours back, BNP’s imprisoned chairperson Khaleda Zia said the opposition can be form out of the parliament if the party works for the benefit of the people.
Members of BNP who won the December 30 general election have decided to refrain from taking oath as its senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman reportedly is over confident of a “fresh election” within next 5-6 months. In Tarique’s views, international community currently are checking facts regarding the election and there will be international pressure on the Bangladesh government thus forcing it in sitting with BNP and its coalition partners in Oikya Front (Unity Front) and fix the time for a fresh election.
Some policymakers of the party even are thinking President Donald Trump will look into the Bangladesh issues immediately after his success in resolving the financial deadlock due to blockades created by the members of the Democratic Party in the US Congress. There also are frantic efforts in buying attention of the American policymakers against the ruling party in Bangladesh. According to reports published in this newspaper, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its political cohort Jamaat E Islami (JI) jointly are spending lavishly in hiring lobbyists and PR firms in the US and some of the European nations to push the policymakers with the agenda of getting international pressure on the Bangladeshi government in holding a fresh general election within next six months. With the hope of a fresh election, jailed chairperson of BNP, Khaleda Zia on January 13, 2019 has said, opposition can be from out of the parliament if the party works for the benefit of the people, meaning, those members of the party, who had won the election would not join the parliament. It may be mentioned here that, Khaleda Zia is in prison since February 2018 serving rigorous imprisonment being convicted in a number of corruption cases. There also are several under trial corruption cases against her.
On October 29, Khaleda was convicted and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by a special court in Dhaka in Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
Khaleda landed in jail being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case by the same court on February 8. The High Court later extended her jail terms in the case to 10 years.
According to media reports, Khaleda Zia is gradually becoming physically challenged due to numerous diseases. Currently she has to move on wheelchair.
Meanwhile, sitting in London, Khaleda’s elder son and the senior vice chairman of the party, Tarique Rahman has been continuously giving suicidal dictations to his party leaders, which the leaders are compelled to abide by. The latest decision of the party of refraining from joining the parliament also has come from Tarique Rahman. But most of the front-ranking leaders of BNP are becoming increasingly uncomfortable at Tarique’s undue and apolitical decisions, which they feel would push the party towards extinction.
Commenting on BNP’s decision of refraining from joining the parliament, several key policymakers in the US said, if the party [BNP] believes in democracy and democratic behavior, it should join the parliament and continue its demand for a fresh election. By refraining from joining the parliament, BNP once again is repeating the previous records of opposition boycotting parliament, which actually had weakened Bangladesh’s democracy to a greater extent.
According to sources in London, Tarique Rahman is under heavy influence of Jamaat E Islami and most of his decisions are actually coming from JI’s policymakers.
Another source said Tarique Rahman and his mother actually are not confident of winning election in Bangladesh due to serious mismanagement within the party. Under such circumstances, mother and her son are waiting for any “third force” ousting the ruling party in Bangladesh.
For any democracy, what Khaleda Zia and her son are willing to see is dangerous. Any such intervention of a “third force” would not only push Bangladesh towards absolute anarchy, it would also severely damage country’s economic backbone. In that case, foreign investors and countries which have investment in Bangladesh would be the worst losers.