Bangladesh: A Tale of Success of a Robber and the Failure for the Opposition  

Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal

Shaikh Hasina: a robber

Shaikh Hasina –the ballot-robber Prime Minister of Bangladesh has proved to be the most successful robber in the whole history of mankind. In the past, robbers could only rob a few banks, shops and homes. They could never rob the ownership of a country. But Hasina could make space for her in history. She could rob the statecraft of a country of 170 million. She could successfully engage the country’s police, army, judiciary and bureaucracy in the robbery. Not once, twice. Firstly in 2014 and secondly in 2018.

On 10 December 2022, in a more than million people’s rally in Dhaka, the country’s largest opposition party -Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced a one-point mass movement for ending the criminal rule of fascist Shaikh Hasina. It is indeed too late to take such a bold strategy by BNP. By 15 years’ of criminal rule since 2008, Hasina has already inflicted tremendous damage to the country’s economy, politics, education, judiciary, army and police.

Hasina has almost destroyed the country’s civil and military institutions. She has made them servile only to her corruptive and coercive power. It came to the press that 7 billion dollars disappeared from the country’s reserve. It is also reported that billions of Takas are looted from the government and private banks. 7,500 thousand crores of Taka is looted only from Islamic Bank –the largest bank in Bangladesh. These are done by Hasina’s cronies in the name of fake companies, fake documents and fake addresses. So far, there is no government initiative to make any investigation on those allegations. Neither there is any denial by the government.

The criminal inaction

 BNP and other political parties must do their own audits of the past mistakes that caused such a prolongation of Hasina’s criminal rule. In a country with strong opposition, such prolongation of evil rule never happens. An opposition strategy for her removal should have been taken just after the one party election robbery in 2014. But BNP and other opposition parties failed to do that. The opposition’s awful failures led to Hasina’s huge success in pursuing her criminal policies. In 2013, there was a huge anti-Hasina country-wide mass movement. The government was near to collapse. But BNP and its allies utterly failed to lead the movement towards success. This was indeed the opposition’s leadership failure.

Hasina’s motive was never hidden. In order to remove the barriers against the robbery on people’s votes, Hasina used the subservient judiciary to annul the non-partisan care-taker government system that could hold three credible general elections in 1991, 1996 and 2001. It is worth mentioning that the non-partisan care-taker government for holding the parliamentary election was an all-party consensus formula adapted in 1991 after the end of General Ershad’s autocratic rule. Hasina’s Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) was a signatory to it. But BAL betrayed its own promise for the sake of its election robbery strategy. All opposition parties objected to such dissolution of care-taker government system.

It was the common perception in the opposition camp that while Hasina stays in power, the state institutions will be allowed only to do the robbery on people’s vote to keep her in power. The participation in such electoral robbery would have given legitimacy to the robbery. This is why all the opposition parties boycotted the Hasina-engineered election in 2014. The opposition parties proved to be right on Election Day. No election booth was set up for casting votes in more than half of the parliamentary constituencies. All MP seats were taken by Hasina and her cronies. In democratic countries, elections are held to give voting rights to the people. But in Bangladesh, election is held to legitimise the robbery on the statecraft by a rigged election or thievery on people’s votes.

It is highly disappointing that the opposition parties almost silently tolerated Hasina’s such illicit electoral victory in 2014. They were not seen on the streets as they are now. For 5 years, they utterly failed to launch a united movement to end her rule. When a country is taken by the enemies, inaction is a crime. Such inaction was seen in the opposition camp. After such a successful robbery in 2014, Hasina turned more ruthless and more confident to commit more crimes against the people. She continued with her plan of extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, hanging of the opposition leaders and genocidal massacres against unarmed Islamists. Hundreds of Islamic scholars are still languishing in jails.

The greatest and the ugliest robbery in history

On the 30th December 2018, Shaikh Hasina committed a crime that was never done in the annals of the whole mankind. On the night before the election, in every polling centre, her police forces and the party thugs robbed the ballot papers and stamped in favour of Hasina’s party candidate. The robbery of ballots was done all over the country. This way Hasina and her cronies could easily rob 293 parliamentary seats of a total of 300. She kept only 7 seats for the opposition. The government of India supported the robbery.

It is a huge disappointment that BNP took 15 years to reach the conclusion that it needs a one-point movement for her removal. Whereas in a civilised country, a thief or robber is not tolerated even for an hour. A thief is never employed even as a cleaner of a house or sweeper of a street. He or she has to stay behind the bar. A proven thief is never tolerated even for a moment to stay as a member of the parliament. Thievery or robbery is the violation of law. And every such violation is punishable. He or she is put on trial. But in Bangladesh, an established thief has usurped the highest seat of power. And she could remain in power for 15 years. It is a sheer disgrace for a country and its people.

Sheer failure as a Muslim  

For a Muslim, eradicating thievery, robbery and injustices has another significance. It is a faith-found obligation on every Muslim. In the Holy Qur’an, in sura Al-Imran verse 115, Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala labelled Muslims as the best people on the earth. In the same verse, Allah –the All-Wise has also mentioned the reason why such highest appreciation must go only to Muslims. It is not for their five times prayers, month-long fasting, haj or charity. But only for the Muslims’ prime reason of survival. They survive to eradicate all forms of evils and enjoin good deeds and justice in lands where they live. No other people and followers of no other religion live with such a mission in life.

It is a shame that Bangladesh –a land of 91 per cent Muslim has taken the opposite path. Instead of eradicating thievery and robbery, they have tolerated a robber cum thief as the head of the government! It is the path of huge disgrace. It is a shame the country has gone so low.


BNP’s past failures and the future challenges

It also looks very ridiculous that after staying 4 years in the illicit parliament, 7 BNP MPs have recently resigned. The resignation is announced on 10 December, 2022. If they had love for democracy and hatred against the robbery of votes, they would have resigned from their seats on the next day of the stolen election. It shows how BNP leaders are immature and dishonest politically.

BNP and other opposition parties should have started a one-point movement of removal of fascist Shaikh Hasina since 2014’s fraudulent election. It is a shame that they failed to discharge such political responsibility. This is why, whatever cruelties and injustices now overwhelm Bangladesh owes not only to the criminal rule of fascist Hasina, but also to the unwise and failed leadership of BNP and other opposition parties. Such failure can generate only frustration in common people.

Disunity will lead only to failures

Whenever a country is under the occupation of evil forces, unity is crucial to end the occupation. It is everybody’s job; and it must be done unitedly. Disunity will lead only to more failures. It is a reality that Bangladesh now stands occupied by anti-democratic evil forces. Unfortunately, the opposition parties still stand divided. BNP –the largest party in the country looks less interested in the unity of all opposition parties. They only engage in some fruitless discussions. So, till now, there is no united front. BNP leaders look over-confident. Possibly, they feel they can do the job alone. Such a feeling can only breed more failures in the opposition camp –as seen in the past.

Do the BNP leaders believe that they can do the job of evicting Hasina alone? If they think so, they must have a full assessment of all the anti-democratic fascist forces in the country. These evil forces occupy the deep state of the country and stay united. They are the direct beneficiary of Hasina’s robbery on public money. They are also the collaborating partners in Hasina’s crimes. Hasina spends billions of Taka to finance their luxury. So it will be unwise to think that these cronies will easily betray their paymaster. These people dominate the politics, the police, the Army, the bureaucracy and the judiciary. How can BNP fight against this huge coalition of all evil forces alone?

The BNP leaders must know that if Hasina is removed, they will be the highest beneficiary. Therefore they need to be in the front line of the movement and also must sacrifice the most. The BNP leaders must realise that the removal of Hasina can never be done by the BNP alone. It needs the united efforts of all opposition parties.

BNP also must know that Shaikh Hasina is not like President General Ershad. She is much stronger than Ershad. In his last days, Ershad lost the support of the Army –his only reliable constituency. But the Army still stands with Hasina. There is a reason for that. The Army is the largest beneficiary of the robbery on public money. The Army didn’t enjoy such booty even in General Ershad’s era. Moreover, Ershad didn’t have a strong backer like India. The Indian Hindutva ruling forces will never wish that their own player should lose the game. Moreover, there is an ideological connection. The Awami fascists are the ideological cousins of Hindutva fascists of India. This is why the Awami fascists didn’t condemn the destruction of Babri mosque or genocidal massacres against Muslims in India in the past. Therefore, only an alliance of all opposition parties can remove Hasina.

The way forward

Bangladesh doesn’t belong to a single political party. It belongs to all parties and all people. Any divisive policy is detrimental. It is haram in Islam. Since the country is under the occupation of evil forces, it is the duty of every citizen to do his or her best to get rid of Hasina’s evil rule. Division in the opposition rank will only give extra mileage to Hasina. But, we are yet to see such realisation and wisdom in BNP leaders. Instead, some BNP leaders and some BNP-aligned intellectuals are mongering ugly hate speeches against other worst victims of Hasina’s rule. They are vomiting their filth against their one-time close ally Jamaat-e-Islam. This is utter foolishness. It is a pure suicidal strategy. Such a strategy didn’t work in the past, and will not work in the future. At this crucial point, any vilification of any opposition party will only help Hasina. She loves to see that division in the opposition camp.

The Islamist forces have their own duty too. In a war against the enemies of Islam, staying neutral and inactive is a crime. Hasina has proved herself as the enemy of Islam and friend of the Hindutva forces. Hence, staying as a silent observer in this crucial war moment is not an option. Fighting against the criminals is not politics for a Muslim. It is a great ibadah. It is jihad in Islam. The people are closely watching their role too. Their alienation from the mass movement will only increase their alienation from the people. This way they can only lose their space in politics.

The recent upsurge in mammoth gatherings owes to people’s strong anger against the Hasina government’s immense corruption, crimes and extremely bad governance. The crimes of the Hasina regime have done enough to awaken the people. The opposition leaders couldn’t do such homework on such BAL evils in the last 15 years. So Hasina has done their job. Now the opposition leaders must do their job.

The motivated common people of Bangladesh now need brilliant and courageous leadership from the opposition, not mere lectures. This public anger can be a powerful weapon to dismantle Hasina regime if the BNP and other opposition leaders show their political brilliance, courage and sagacity. The people of Bangladesh are eagerly waiting for that. They must not be disappointed. Otherwise, the people will never forgive them.  12.12.2022

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