Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lesson for Bangladesh from Pakistan

Lesson for Bangladesh in the aftermath of Benazir's assassination
Shabbir Ahmed

A pall of gloom has descended on Pakistan by the untimely death of the charismatic leader Mrs. Benazir Bhutto. She was murdered in cold blood in a public rally organized by her party. The death toll is more than twenty. With her death, the already chaotic political condition of Pakistan will become more and more volatile and uncertain. One might anticipate that going forward the death of Benazir Bhutto will cause more destruction, more instability, and more loss of human lives in Pakistan. It is yet to be seen who were the main conspirators behind her killing. Immediately after her return a few months ago, the killers blasted bombs with an attempt to kill her. Her party pointed fingers toward some people in the government run mainly by the Pakistan's military. This time her supporters and her party leaders are blaming the military dictator Gen. Musharraf for her killing. Benazir Bhutto's husband has blamed the Pakistan military intelligence ISI for the killing.

It is well known to the conscious people of Pakistan and Bangladesh on how Pakistan's military and their intelligence tried to eliminate popular political leaders in the past. The rogue military and their intelligence captured power and manipulated the politics to maintain their supremacy, power, and vested interests. To achieve their mischievous goals, the military junta did not hesitate to put leaders like Husein Shahid Suhrawardy and Sher-e-Bangla Fazlul Haque in jail by bringing fabricated charges against them. The rogue military of Pakistan overturned even the election results that were held in 1970. To maintain their grip on power and continue their dictatorial rule, the undemocratic military rulers of Pakistan adopted a "minus two" policy by forcing Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to live in exile. The military rulers and the military-backed government of Pakistan brought charges of corruption against these leaders to implement their "minus two theory." It is known that under pressure from USA, the military-backed government of Pakistan recently withdrew all the charges against Benazir Bhutto. The military and the civil conspirators of Pakistan had to abandon the "minus two" policy and let both Benazir Bhutto and Miah Nawaz Sharif return to Pakistan. After all, the conspirators do not tend to follow rule of rule, they try to rule by force, and they understand the meaning of force thrust upon them. The civil-military nexus of Pakistan bowed down to the pressure from USA and allowed Benazir to participate in the upcoming election. It is alleged that the ruling oligarchs allowed her but did not provide adequate and necessary security for her protection from dangers. There are charges made by the independent observers and by the supporters of Benazir against Musharraf and the ruling elites for letting her die in the hands of the killers. In fact, Benazir herself wrote about the lack in her security before her death. She even wrote that Musharraf would remain responsible if anything bad happened to her. Now it is proven that the civil-military conspirators did not provide security protection only to let her die.

Now turn your attention to Bangladesh, which is following the legacy of Pakistan. This nation of 145 million became independent by fighting against the Pakistani military and their extremist allies such as fundamentalist Jamaat -i-Islami. Unfortunately, Bangladesh could not able to get out of the system that was created by the military rulers of Pakistan. The civil-military bureaucrats eventually captured power by killing the founding father and his associates, who were time-tested leaders of the people of Bangladesh. The cantonment-born parties named Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jatio Party (BJP) were formed by the civil-military conspirators with the help of a few political leaders devoid of any popularity and people's support. These parties continued to remain in power for a long time mainly to serve the purposes of the powerful quarters. They did not allow democracy to grow and even played conspiratorial role in eliminating leaders like Mrs. Sheikh Hasina. Similar to what happened to Mrs. Bhutto, the security for Mrs. Sheikh Hasina were made inadequate by the cantonment-born BNP while they were in power. On August 21, 2004 Sheikh Hasina and her associates were attacked by the terrorists in a rally in Dhaka. It was reported that the security for Sheikh Hasina were relaxed by the government. The killers charged grenades on the rally of a former prime minister and the head of a leading political party but escaped without getting any resistance.

There are many similarities between the attack on Mrs. Bhutto and on Mrs. Hasina. Mrs. Hasina was addressing a rally organized by her party while the killers attacked. Similarly, Mrs. Bhutto was attacked while addressing a rally organized by her party. More than twenty people died immediately after the attack on Mrs. Hasina. Here in the case of attack on Mrs. Bhutto, so far twenty two people have been killed. In both cases, the respective government did not bother to provide adequate security for the protection of the two leaders. In Sheikh Hasina¢s case, the government twisted the information and deliberately misguided the course of investigation. The ruling military of Pakistan have already started twisting the information of the killing of Mrs. Bhutto. The doctors and the eyewitnesses said that the attackers shot Mrs. Bhutto while the government has released information quite contrary to what has been reported so far. Unfortunately, in the case of Mrs. Bhutto, the attackers were able to succeed by killing her. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina critically survived the attack but still trying to survive politically by overcoming the conspiracies of the powerful oligarchs who are now ruling Bangladesh.

The civil-military bureaucrats and the conspirators destroyed the political institutions of Pakistan. Through conspiracies, they brought charges of corruption against both honest and dishonest politicians. Defiant but honest and liberal politicians were eliminated through many conspiratorial means. Many times, the dishonest politicians were rewarded for cooperating with the powerful quarters to maintain their vested interests. By doing conspiracies and adopting many "minus theories," the oligarchs created vacuum in the political arena. In the vacuum, the Islamic fundamentalists and the extremists grew with the direct and indirect supports of the civil-military bureaucrats. Pakistan has gone close to the point of anarchy and destruction due to the manipulative policies of the military and their notorious intelligence called ISI. Fortunately, Bangladesh is not yet there. But, there are ample signs and indications that tell us poignantly that a similar fate waits for senior most political figures. Hopefully, the ruling elites of Bangladesh will try to learn from the dismal happenings in Pakistan and take corrective actions so that the lives of 145 teeming millions will not plunge into darkness.

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