By- Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Political scenario in Bangladesh is really getting fluid, especially when members of the law enforcing agencies opened fire on the opposition protestors on Sunday (January 29, 2012), killing at least four, injuring five hundred plus and arresting more than twelve hundred people. Meanwhile massive confrontation is feared in the capital city of Bangladesh as well as other parts of the country on Monday (January 30, 2012), when main opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party is set to hold a huge demonstration rally from 2:00 pm (Bangladesh local time), while ruling party has also called similar demonstration program almost at the same time, within less than few hundred meters from the venue, the opposition is going to bring out the procession. Leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia will be leading the opposition procession from her party head office in Dhaka. After many years, this is for the first time; Khaleda Zia will be leading any such procession in the country. Political analysts feel, if the ruling party or police (which in recent times continuing to behave as mere political cadres) will try to disrupt the opposition procession, it will certainly erupt massive confrontation in the country, which may even force the main opposition in enforcing seize on the roads in demand of ensuring democratic rights of the people as well as holding the next general elections under caretaker government. Commenting on the latest incident of police actions on opposition protests in Bangladesh and Sunday’s murder of four people, analysts feel that a certain segment of the over enthusiast members of the law enforcing agencies might be committing such crimes, which actually is putting the ruling party into severe consequences. “Members of the law enforcing agencies are actually planting seeds of Bangla Spring by continuing extreme form of repression on the people”, the experts said.
It may be mentioned here that, on Friday (January 27, 2012) a group of Facebook page activists named Blue Band Call were stopped from holding a program in the capital city. Seeking anonymity some influential members of the ruling party said, “We can’t allow any such Facebook activists in becoming active, as we are totally aware of similar movements initiated in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and even in Iran, where the people started campaign against the government initially through Facebook pages and finally those campaigns turned into huge movement, thus compelling governments from stepping down.”
Some of the political analysts in Bangladesh are comparing the Blue Band call with those of Green Band Call in the Arab nations, which actually played key roles in giving momentum to the anti-regime Arab Springs. “If we can closely watch the modus operandi of the Blue Band Call, we can easily understand that they have simply copied the Green Band Call or Arab Spring strategies. Though the organizers of Blue Band Call proclaim their activities to be non political, the very slogans and agendas set in their Facebook page are surely political.
The anti government movements in the Arab world, including the latest one in Libya, were backed mostly by Islamist and Jihadist groups. In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood played important role, while in Libya, pro-Al Qaeda groups have finally been able grabbing power with the help of Western forces. There had been economic interest of the West behind each of such anti-government movements in those Arab nations. Analyzing the possibility of emergence of any such force in Bangladesh with possibly help from the West, political pundits say, “Bangladeshi business and economy are gradually going into tight grips of India, which may not be liked by many of the Western powers. At the same time, India’s arch rival China, which also has already emerged into a global power will not allow Delhi in further expanding its influence within the South Asian nations. Considering all such realities, no one can simply turn-down the possibility of emergence of Arab Spring prototype movement in Bangladesh.”
The pundits say, “In Bangladesh, religion-based political parties such as Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Islamic Unity Front (Islami Oikya Jote), Khelafat Movement (Caliphate Movement), Khelafat Majlish (Caliphate Forum), Hizbut Tahrir, Hizb Ut Towhid, Islamic Constitution Movement etc have already gained substantial strength inside the nation. Some of them also have been able to establish links with regional Jihadist outfits such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Sipaha Sahaba, Kashmiri militant groups or even separatist groups inside India such as United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). It is clearly understood that the ruling party in Bangladesh now fears leaders like Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini of Khelafat Majlish, more than any of such leaders in Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. For months, there are hidden efforts within the Islamist and Jihadist forces in Bangladesh as well as connections with regional terrorist and Jihadist outfits, for formation of alliance or networks, which surely is a huge threat to Bangladesh’s national security at large. At the same time, the recent allegation of foiled attempt of coup by some of the officers of Bangladesh Army has also somehow contributed in further complicating the entire situation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been claiming in public meetings that, main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party is conspiring to capture power with the help of army. This very statement of the current Prime Minister surely does no give any good signal to the future of country’s democracy.
“The sources within Bangladesh Army has for the first time, endorsed the existence of a large number of Islamist fanatics and Jihadists within the Armed Forces. This again has put the very image of Bangladesh Army into stake in the eyes of the international community, and especially to the United Nations, which employs a significant number of members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces for the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces. While Bangladesh Armed Forces enjoy high reputation for its brilliant performance in United Nations Peace Keeping Forces, it may not be strange, if any of the UN member countries or even the top policymakers of the United Nations would now raise fingers at those members in the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces from Bangladesh Armed Forces, saying, there might have been hidden agents of Islamist fanatics or Jihadists, which would be extremely risky for many of the Western nations and their armed forces, who also are members of the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces.”
Bangladesh Awami League (current ruling party) has many failures by now, which would be sufficient reasons for the people of the country to raise voice against the government. Power crisis, though is a bit within tolerant level for the people, due to winter season, it is gets worsened again with the start of summer from the month of April. At the same time, more than 35 million small investors have already lost their minimum investments in the stock market, which has surely turned into one of the major headaches for the government. There is a repeated warning to the government about another possible political and economic catastrophe centering country’s largest Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company, named Destiny 2000 Limited, which already has swindled a few billion dollars from the innocent people as well as small investors by selling fake trees in their imaginary plantation projects. Destiny 2000 Limited claims to have already planted more than 50 million trees under their plantation project in Bangladesh and has already sold these trees with high profit promises to the small investors. But, in reality even a fraction of such so-called trees are non-existent. To cover their illegal activities, Destiny 2000 Limited is continuing to sponsor various big events in the country, which again is seen as a tactics of the kingpins of this fraudulent enterprise in indirectly bribing some influential people. Lately Destiny 2000 Limited has already sponsored Bangladesh Premium League by paying TK.75 million (US$ 1 million roughly), which is actually initiated by this MLM fraudster to some how stop the ongoing process of the Ministry of Commerce in Bangladesh in formulating a law to regulate the MLM companies and stop them from selling fictitious or imaginary items as well as trees, apartments, plots or commercial spaces. At the same time, Destiny 2000 Limited are making frantic bids in saving their skins from the ongoing investigation of the Ministry of Finance as well as Anti Corruption Commission, which already has categorically detected illegal activities of this MLM racket.
Economic experts feel that the ruling party is actually digging its own grave by giving refuge to notorious fraudsters such as Destiny 2000 Limited or scammers in the stock market, as most of the affected people in both of the scams are small investors and members of the middle class in the society. They suggested the government to immediately investigate illegal activities of the stock market brokerage companies in Bangladesh, which are playing nasty games behind the current manipulation in the share markets. They also suggested the Prime Minister to formulate a probe body to scrutinize each of the allegations of fraud and corruption by Destiny 2000 Limited. “Financial irregularities and scams either by the ruling class or their agents were key tools in giving momentum to people’s movements against the governments and ruling parties in Arab nations. This should be an important scope for the ruling party in Bangladesh”, they said.