Friday, August 31, 2007

Mainul's 'National Government'

Mainul erroneously calling the military-backed regime a ‘National Government’
A.H. Jaffor Ullah, USA

Of all the advisors appointed by the military in January 2007 to manage the government on its behalf, Mainul Husein is an interesting character. Never mind, he was the champion of BNP all these years and this is the man who said in November and December 2006 that election should be held within 90 days of Iajuddin Administration to honor the constitution. But how his opinion had changed 180 degrees in short order! He hardly sees that the second interim government was formed defying the dictums of Bangladesh constitution. He also has no problem with the emergency rule, which was enforced at the behest of the military. The 120 days limitation of the emergency rule was grossly violated and it hardly ruffles feather in him.

The man who is full of caprice is unprincipled too, to say the least. No wonder he has become the mouthpiece of this military-backed government. His inane remarks have graced the pages of all newspapers for the last 7 months and it is safe to say that he will continue to be the spokesperson for the present-day interim government.

Much has been written in the press about the legality of this military-backed government by scholars and constitutional experts. Dr. Kamal Husein had reminded us that we should not ask this delicate question on the constitutionality of this government because many a time the constitution was maimed and disfigured by the military since 1975. This goes to prove that in the eyes of Dr. Kamal Husein this government is not all that kosher. However, the information advisor, Mainul Husein, is of the opinion that the Fakhruddin Administration, which is a product of cantonment intrigue, is a constitutional government. In his eyes no segment of the constitution was breached by forming two consecutive caretaker governments. The constitution is very clear on this. I have read the constitution quite a few times and I never found the clause stating that multiple and consecutive caretaker government could be formed. Moreover, it is stipulated that a caretaker government should only last for 90 days. It has been over 210 days the Fakhruddin regime is in power and there is hardly any talk about disbanding this administration. The constitution was breached a big time but it hardly bothers Mainul Husein who claims to be a barrister. What a chutzpah!

After saying umpteenth times that the present military-backed government carries a constitutional mandate, Mainul has found out that there is no taker of his tenuous claim outside Bangladesh. Inside Bangladesh it is however a different story. No courts will hear the case if anyone brings such complaint. A housewife in Bangladesh went to court in March-April 2007 challenging the legitimacy of Fakhruddin Administration. The judge advised the claimant not to move against the wind. The judge used a figurative language to warn the claimant not to pursue the case any further. The case was not heard at all. True to the nature of a despotic regime the case was dismissed on flimsy procedural irregularity. So much for the independence of Bangladesh’s higher courts!

Mainul Husein may pretend like the proverbial ostrich thinking that if he buries his head in sand and hears not a think, no one else will either. But times have changed in this age of Internet when news travels at the speed of light, figuratively speaking of course. The comity of nations in this globe knows it all that the military is running Bangladesh giving a civilian façade. Mainul Husein took this onerous duty most willingly to give spin to news stories and sometimes to concoct stories for public consumption. While carrying out this burdensome duty he makes up make belief stories for which lacks veracity. And he did one of those concoction just yesterday (August 27, 2007).

Several newspapers published in Dhaka reported on August 28, 2007 that as per Mainul Husein this caretaker government is really a “National Government.” Hello? Did I hear correctly that the present-day government is a national one? I daresay he is dead wrong. There is not even an ounce of truth in Mainul’s exaggerated claim.

A national government is a euphemism for a unity government when an administration is formed after election — taking leaders from all or important political parties. Mainul or Fakhruddin has no electoral mandate – none whatsoever. They were appointed by the military leaders. Why then Mainul had to fabricate this big lie?

There are some reasons for such outrageous claim. Mainul’s perfidy was equaled only by his gall, to paraphrase Gilbert Millstein. The government has earned enough bad reputation as of late while dealing with mass upsurge that took place extemporaneously. The masses in Dhaka and elsewhere while showing solidarity with Dhaka University students took to the streets defying the dictums of emergency rule. Naturally, Mainul, Fakhruddin and their purveyor – the military – were nonplussed hearing the news of the defiance. Their feelings were hurt and they realized that this government’s Achilles’ heel was the extra constitutional nature of its illegitimacy. Therefore, the spin master, Mainul Husein, is now at it again. His new flout is – Fakhruddin’s is a national government. The UNB wrote as follows:

“Law and Information Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein yesterday billed the present caretaker government as a national government backed by the army that saved the nation from an impending civil war. During a meeting with news editors of the electronic media in his office, he came up with the new terminology for the incumbent government that assumed office on January 12 under state of emergency declared amid a political turmoil over the issues of general election.”

Mainul Husein took great pride while telling the media that his government was able to squash the rebellion against his government in recent week when the masses came out to the street to defy the emergency rule. The distraught law and information advisor is now in cloud nine after the joint forces have quelled the protest movement. He may have conveniently forgotten that power grows out of the barrel of guns. The masses had none while the joint forces had plenty.

Bangladesh’s people are used to take to the streets to show their disdain against any government. The season of discontent is here. Soon the masses will give the clarion call for ousting this despotic regime made out mostly of oligarchy. This government is out of touch from reality and it does not carry one bit of public’s mandate. Furthermore, the days of fooling the entire mass is over. The best exit policy this government would have is to make a level playing field, host the election and just leave. The people have not offered this onerous duty to the military-backed interim government to engineer the polity. The government is pledge-bound to offer election only and sooner they do it is better. However, this tall talk about the changing nature of this interim government to ‘National Government’ worries the hell out of me. To all this I may add – Caveat Emptor (buyer be aware).

Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA
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