Days after political turmoil in Sri Lanka, anti-Bangladesh forces began orchestrated propaganda equating Bangladesh seeking funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – under the creditor’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) — to a ‘bailout package’, which was later dispelled by the multinational lender to be untrue. Instead, IMF clearly said, there was no reason for Bangladesh facing the consequence of Sri Lanka, as its economy was strong enough backed by sufficient foreign currency reserve. An official of IMF said, even though Bangladesh’s reserves have come down, the stocks are still high enough to cover four to five months of prospective imports”.
Meanwhile, a new World Bank report said, Bangladesh has made remarkable economic and development progress in the past five decades and now the country needs a strong reform agenda to sustain its growth trajectory and further accelerate the growth rate in the long term.
The report urged strong policy reforms in three areas critical to sustain growth: stem the erosion of trade competitiveness, address vulnerabilities in the financial sector, and ensure orderly urbanization process.
The report also explored the implications of digital development and climate change as cross-cutting themes in these reform areas.
“Over the past decade, Bangladesh has been among the top 10 fastest growing economies”, said Dandan Chen, World Bank acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Under the magnanimous leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has not only emerged into the paragon of progress and prosperity, it also has made substantial achievement in containing terrorism and militancy, while Sheikh Hasina has effectively uprooted existence of anti-India separatist groups, which were operating from Bangladesh. This has certainly helped India in getting rid of decades-old notoriety of the insurgency groups, which were continuing terrorist activities within Northeastern states in India. But of course, policymakers in Bangladesh need to take further measures in completely eradicating existence of religious extremists and jihadist forces from the country by making further advancement towards restoring the secularist spirit of the country. Bangladesh can adopt policies of other Muslim countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, for example, which has become a developed country even by maintaining Islam as its official religion. And under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, it is not a difficult task.
Sheikh Hasina’s magic
During the pandemic, when many developing nations were struggling in managing vaccine, Sheikh Hasina has very successfully arranged vaccine for this huge population. Also, Sheikh Hasina government’s effective handling of many challenges posed by the pandemic are to be admired and applauded. While many of the critics of Bangladesh were making “pundit opinion” stating millions of people would die during the pandemic, the number even did not cross four digits, which certainly was a grand achievement of Sheikh Hasina and her charismatic leadership.
Currently, like all the nations in the world, Bangladesh also faces challenges posed by the Russia-Ukraine war and series of sanctions and counter-sanctions. Hopefully soon, this hurdle will also be gone as Bangladesh also is looking for alternative sources to buy good grain and crude oil.
As to food production, Sheikh Hasina has always been giving heavy subsidies to farmers, while she has been focusing on maximizing cultivable land and modernization of farming which will ultimately lead Bangladesh towards self-sufficiency in food production.
Sheikh Hasina is a persevering stateswoman determined to ensure that her country gets the ‘developed’ status. And surely, much to her unshakeable commitment and relentless struggles, Bangladesh is more poised to navigate a sea of hurdles ahead of the looming recession than many European nations.
Sheikh Hasina, a leader of towering height
Following the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and almost all the members of his family, Sheikh Hasina was forced to live in exile for six years. On return to Bangladesh in 1981, she had to continue arduous battle against military dictators General Ziaur Rahman and the General Hussain Muhammed Ershad and finally succeed in restoring democracy in 1991.
Subsequently, when military dictator Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) came to power in 1991 and then in 2001, Bangladesh topped Transparency International’s global corruption index for rampant corruption and loot of public wealth. BNP, with its political ally Jamaat-e-Islami turned Bangladesh into cocoon of terror by sponsoring militancy thus helping notorious Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkatul Jihad (HuJI) in emerging into militancy dinosaurs. During this black rule, BNP-Jamaat also extended patronization to anti-Ahmadi Khatmey Nabuat Andolan, while organizations such as Organization of Repatriated Soldiers from Afghanistan and Palestine were openly flexing muscle on the streets of Dhaka city and other parts of the country, burning US flag and chanting slogan – “Aamra Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobey Afghan” (We shall be Taliban, Bangla [will become] Afghanistan).
Properties and worship places of Ahmadis, Hindus and other religious minorities fell under regular attacks by Khatmey Nabuat Andolan, other religious bigots and members of BNP-Jamaat.
When Awami League came to power through a landslide victory in December 2008, Sheikh Hasina began battle against a rabidly radical political bionetwork that includes Jamaat-e-Islami – escaped at least 19 assassination attempts, and now remains the best hope to rid Bangladesh of menace of militancy and religious bigotry. From initiating a war crimes trial to taking on radicals who staged ‘Boycott French products’, ‘Boycott India’ and ‘Death to the US’ protests and calling for an end to girls’ education to putting an end to the notoriety of the country as a safe haven for transnational terrorists, Sheikh Hasina is surely the biggest bulwark against those militants. Achieving such a feat in a Muslim majority country, once ruled by such elements, was not any easy task.
Bangladesh is heading towards another general election in January 2024. International community, which aren’t willing to see Bangladesh emerge into another Afghanistan or worse needs to extend full support to Sheikh Hasina. They need to remember; disciples of Osama Bin Laden or Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi are trying to ride into power with the agenda of transforming Bangladesh into a Sharia state or even a Caliphate.