PM should act to fend off conspiracies, if any
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, once again warned the people on Friday of a possible extra-constitutional takeover of power by the quarters who had tried to ‘execute the minus-two formula,’ i.e. the banishment of two top politicians of the country, between January 2006 and December 2008. In an official address to nation on the government’s completion of four years in office, the prime minister also urged ‘people’ to remain alert to such a possible takeover. In a bid to substantiate that the ‘non-party, caretaker government’ in question was politically ambitious, she said that ‘the three-months caretaker government … tried to stay in power for ever and it implicated political leaders in false cases to implement the minus-two formula.’
That the military-driven caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed had illegally run the country for two years and tried to forcibly oust Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia from the political arena is beyond any question. It definitely committed heinous crimes by doing these from both legal and political points of view. It deserves to be punished for the crimes. But the question remains as how, and why, the criminals escaped legal proceedings for the crime, let alone punishments. The answers are that Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League loudly supported the criminal regime and the public perception is that the Awami League was virtually benefited out of the extra-constitutional takeover. The criminals escaped not being punished as a reward by the incumbents.
Then, if the illegal rulers had implicated politicians in false cases, how is this that Hasina’s government withdrew almost all the ‘false cases’ against leaders of the Awami League and its political partners and had retained all ‘false cases’ against the Awami League’s political opponent BNP for the past four years? The answer is the Awami League has indulged itself in political opportunism and double standards. Under these circumstances, how does the Awami League expect that its political rival would come forward to save the situation that the PM has been warning all concerned about?
Notably, the military and the ambitious local and foreign players succeeded to stage the extra-constitutional intervention because the erstwhile government of the BNP had tried to install a non-party, caretaker government of its choice to influence election results and the Awami League resorted to extreme violence to undo the BNP design. This time the Awami League appears to have been bent on presiding over the next national polls, understandably to control the entire electoral process, including the results. Why should the Awami League expect that its power contender would sit idle only to see that the Awami League, which has failed to meet its major election pledges, retains power for the next five years by way of manipulating elections?
Finally, if the prime minister is really aware of any move of extra-constitutional takeover, and that too aimed at forcibly removing the two top leaders from politics, which is highly atrocious, why is she not unearthing the plan and arresting the people hatching the conspiracy?
However, we strongly believe that Bangladesh cannot afford another extra-constitutional takeover, and that whether the country would again be exposed to such a possibility would depend primarily on the action and inaction of the incumbents of the day. If the prime minister takes effective initiatives to reach a negotiated settlement with the opposition on conducting the next general elections under a mutually acceptable interim administration, one has no reason to fear about any extra-constitutional intervention in the political process. If she hesitates to do so, we are afraid, history this time would blame her for any unwarranted consequences.
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