Thursday, August 23, 2007

What’s Next?

Bangladesh has faced an unprecedented unrest since the Army backed Caretaker government has taken over power on January 11, 2007. At the beginning, the Caretaker Government has enjoyed over pouring support from the masses as it came into power with popular mandates for ensuring a free and fair election and driving corrupt politicians away permanently. Its popular support started evaporating as the election process slowed down, consumer price hike reached at its peak, political process stalled as political activities remain banned and popular support plummeted as suspicion about the Army’s ultimate motive grew as special interest political figures enjoyed favor to regroup and reappear under a new political platform.

The current volatile situation erupted as a few soldiers got involved into fighting with Dhaka University students and beat them while they’re watching soccer game on August 20th. While students started protesting against this incident of maltreatment by the military personnel, it exploded unexpectedly as the Police force has brutally tortured mass students to quell their protest. The protest turned violent as mass people joined students to condemn the attack on students. This is a first visible sign of massive dissatisfaction with the Army backed Caretaker Government. The Army through its Information Advisor Barrister Moinul Hossain is claiming alleged foreign money and influence behind this uprising which is an old tactic to divert attention from the root cause of this unrest. This alarming sign demands to shift priorities for the Army. It needs to show respect for popular demand to return to democracy as quickly as possible. Bangladesh can not afford an army backed non elected government for a long period as its credibility and legitimacy are in question. International community is seriously paying attention to this worsening political development in Bangladesh as Google news item currently show more than 489 stories about curfew situation in Bangladesh.

Times Online reiterates concern expressed by the international observers as it states,
Some analysts and Western diplomats see the protests as the first clear indication that time is running out for the interim government. “Regrettably, the incumbents decided to take the path of repression,” the English-language New Age daily wrote in an editorial today. “The public discontent will simmer on and will find manifestation in different forms and style, sooner than later.”

The current army backed regime shows huge insensitivity to people’s interest and demand. BBC reports about high stakes in Bangladesh following the massive unrest. It says,
“…adding to the mix is a growing fear among many - particularly students and professional groups, that the military has a long-term plan to depoliticise the country, and cement its control over society. They point out that while politicians are being vilified relentlessly, military men are being appointed to various key institutions. The much-talked about National Security Council with a strong role for the military is close to being formed. The current student demonstrations may have been the opening shots in another long battle - not to get rid of military rule, but perhaps to prevent one”.
We cannot speculate what’s next waiting for Bangladesh. While blaming invisible powers behind this trouble could be a nice try, but not a smart one. The Army backed Caretaker Government has lost its credibility as it stalled the election and political process for unknown reasons when the nation is loosing patience. Army may dream for a Pakistani or Burmese military model to replace political institutions which will backfire tremendously as the people of Bangladesh have outgrown military regimes. History knows the end result for an unelected government as the Army needs to relearn this historical lesson once again until it becomes too late.

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