Inside Politics

Politics of Lies by Opposition in Bangladesh

Publish: 10:09 PM, 10 Aug, 2023


Democracy survives and thrives on various opinions provided by and debates by political parties, civil society organizations, and individuals. However, if the opinions contain misinformation and disinformation with the intention to malign the opponent, it cannot help democracy flourish. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s happening in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), an opposition political platform, prepared a list of 500 police personnel which it then sent out to foreign diplomats. These policemen of different ranks, BNP leaders alleged, were involved in human rights abuses and voting irregularities in Bangladesh’s national election held in late 2018. 

Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, one of the standing committee members of BNP, told media that the information would be presented to the international community.

The BNP claimed that most of these 500 policemen were working in the field level during the 2018 national election and got promoted for their actions at that time.

Promotion is a regular phenomenon in governmental and non-governmental offices. Many policemen apart from those who have been targeted by the BNP also got promoted for their performance. How can we differentiate?

Probably, the BNP would have been happy if the policemen had lent their support to the party. The Police did not have any constitutional obligation to declare the BNP winner in the 2018 national election. The BNP already had internal problems with the nomination business and external problems of distance from the people due to failure to represent public interests.

Before the state visit of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations, to Bangladesh, some human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International raised the demand for not including Bangladeshi security force members in peacekeeping missions and stricter screening process.

The BNP shared a post of the Human Rights Watch from their official Twitter handle and wrote: “Killers should not be peacekeepers.” The fact is that not every member of the armed forces is  selected for UN peacekeeping duties. They must fulfill some criteria. Respecting human rights is, of course, one of them. In most cases, this rule is followed. So indiscriminate allegations against our patriotic and world-renowned peace-loving members of the armed forces as “violators of human rights” will demoralise the armed forces.

On January 5th, 2014, the 10th national election took place. BNP, the main opposition party, did not participate in the election. Rather they decided to resist the elections violently. They launched a terrorising protest movement. They jeopardised people’s lives and properties.

Ironically, on February 4th, 2014, Khaleda Zia claimed that law enforcement agencies and activists of Awami League killed 242 BNP-led alliance members in 34 districts of Bangladesh. On February 10th 2014, The Daily Star, a prominent national daily, published a report after cross-checking data from different sources and came to the conclusion that it was a “jugglery of figures”.

The report said, “Khaleda put the death figure in Sirajganj at 14 that includes seven members of the BNP, Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal.” But Harunar Rashid Hasan, office secretary of Sirajganj district BNP, informed The Daily Star that “only one Jubo Dal leader was killed during that time.” The Daily Star gave an interesting title to the report, “Sorry, Khaleda” because the figure provided by Khaleda Zia did not match facts on the ground. It was far-fetched from the truth.

Lies have many facets. In Bangladesh, they mainly revolve around the number of victims of human rights abuses. In this way, unfortunately, the discourse of human rights has been politicised. The numbers of disappearance given by different human rights groups are far from the number provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Definitely, the UN report is not beyond questions.

Sultana Kamal, a leading Bangladeshi human rights activist, said that the UN and international human rights organisations should not bank on a single source in their collection of data relating to human rights abuses.

She argued that political parties would have allegations against each other but human rights organisations should ensure the veracity of their data. She also said that the government should not evade its duty to uncover the truth. It also has a duty not to blame either non-state actors as the sole perpetrator of the human rights abuses or the victims themselves.

Another facet of lies is to manipulate human emotions for narrow party interests. Let’s consider Mayer Daak for this purpose. It was formed in 2013 to work for the disappeared persons and their families. Without a doubt, it was a noble cause. They initially did some good work. However, this organisation has been transformed into a forum for the aid of foreign powers by supplying them with fake stories of human rights abuses to help in their mission. This has doubly jeopardised the real victims of human rights violations.

Bangladesh became independent through a bloodbath during the war of liberation. The United States and some other powers were against the birth of Bangladesh at the time. Nevertheless, we want a good relationship based on mutual respect and sovereignty.

BNP ran the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in the past. It should have thought twice before lowering the dignity of our motherland before the foreign powers. We fought against British colonialism and Pakistani internal colonialism. Both of them came from the West. Now we are fighting Western imperialism in its new form — disguising itself as a saviour of human rights.

We all need to work together to improve the situation of human rights and democracy in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, democracy cannot flourish if major political parties like BNP act like a party of pathological liars. From their fake history of Ziaur Rahman as the proclaimer of our independence to present-day misinformation on human rights violations, BNP presents a pandora’s box of lies and half-truths.

Lastly, democracy depends on mass movement — based on people’s support for a cause. BNP has failed to show the people that they have a people’s cause.

Writer: Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, 

The writer is former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh. Views expressed in this article are his own.

Source: EU Today

Politics   Lies   Opposition   Bangladesh  


Inside Politics

BNP leaders suffer from mental trauma: Quader

Publish: 06:38 PM, 19 May, 2024


Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said BNP leaders are making absurd comments, as they are suffering from mental trauma.

He said this while replying to a question after joining a programme in a city hotel. About BNP leaders claim that AL men also didn’t cast their votes in elections, Quader said, “This
claim of BNP is not true.”

The Election Commission announced that 30-40 percent votes were cast in the upazila polls while 42pc voters exercised their franchise in the national polls.

If 42 pc people cast their votes, then how voters boycott polls, he questioned.

“Actually BNP leaders are suffering from mental trauma. That is why, they are making absurd comments in free style. Their comments are not realistic,” he said.

Asked about BNP’s fresh preparation to wage movement, the AL general secretary said BNP has right to wage movement as a political party.

“If BNP wages movement in a peaceful manner, we will face them politically,” he said. But if they carry out arson attack or make sabotage likewise the past in the name of movement, the government will take actions accordingly and AL will also face them politically, he said.

Awami League   Obaidul Quader  


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BNP leaders are tired, its activists frustrated: Quader

Publish: 01:55 PM, 20 Mar, 2024


Awami League (AL) General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said BNP leaders are talking nonsense as they are tired, and their activists are frustrated.
"The party (BNP) leaders are now criticizing the government blindly in the name of iftar party. In fact, I don't know whether it is 'iftar party' or 'criticise party'. They are organizing those ifatr parties only to criticize the Awami League, not to praise Almighty Allah," he said.
The AL general secretary told reporters after a view-exchange meeting with the leaders of Sramik League and Krishak League of Dhaka south and north units at AL central office in the city's Bangabandhu Avenue.

Quader said, "It is necessary to reply with the rubbish, if the BNP lies. They (BNP) should stop lying, he said.
About an allegation of creating conflict and splitting the BNP, he said, "Why will we create a split in the BNP? We have no weaknesses. Awami League has many leaders and activists. The countrymen witnessed a massive crowd during the collecting of AL nomination forms ahead of the last parliamentary polls. The Awami League has no crisis."

Over the 'Kings' Party', the AL general secretary, said the Awami League has no need to create any Kings' Party. There are many people who want to form a political party before the polls to get gratuitous benefits, he said.
Over the allegation of the joining of Shakib Al Hasan to 'Kings Party', Quader said, "I noticed the issue in the media. I have no idea about the matter. But, Shakib participated in the election with AL ticket and won. He got the primary membership of the party before seeking nomination."
Criticising a comment by a BNP leader, the minister said BNP thinks that some countries will put them in power. But, the reality is that the people are the owners of the country, and they will decide who go into power, he said, adding there is no possibility to change the government without the support of the people.
About a report on democracy of an observer team from the US, "We have our own criteria of democracy. No one is perfect in the world. We also know it. A former president of the US has claimed that if he didn't get elected, bloodbaths would have happened in the country. What type of democracy is it? Even the former president didn't accept the elected president of the USA till now. So, it is difficult to understand the criteria of democracy."
Quader said military rulers and their allies were in power for 21 years in Bangladesh and there were no practices of democracy. Later, a political party had formed the government, but it is regrettably true that they also did farce election on February 15 in the name of democracy, he said.
About the prices of essentials, the AL general secretary said the prices of some commodities have already been reduced. The government is also trying to reduce the prices of other essential commodities, he said.
AL organizing secretaries - BM Mozammel Haque and Mirza Azam, office secretary Barrister Biplob Barua, deputy office secretary Sayem Khan, executive members Sahabuddin Farazi and Anisul Islam, among others, were present.

Awami League   Obaidul Quader  


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Quader suggests BNP make preparations for next election instead of next movement

Publish: 04:24 PM, 16 Feb, 2024


Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday advised BNP to prepare for the next general election instead of thinking about the next movement.

He made the suggestion at a joint meeting of the party held at the Awami League central office in the capital this morning.

Regarding BNP's movement until victory, Quader said Mirza Fakhrul has become overwhelmed with daydreams after getting out of jail.

At the time, the AL leader stated that, “BNP should recognise that the issue of issue-based movement in the country cannot be found while the people's administration is in power.”

In his introductory speech at the joint meeting, Quader said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, has brought great honour to the country by participating in the Security Conference in Germany. Today, the democratic world has unhesitatingly accepted the importance of Bangladesh.”

"The geopolitical position of Bangladesh is fertile ground for many of our enemies. Many falcons have eyes on the Bay of Bengal and St. Martin. However, Sheikh Hasina's government has led to the success of balanced diplomacy", he added.

At this time, Quader said that the party president instructed the divisional in-charge to resolve the internal disputes of the party, including the formation of the expired committee.

Obaidul Quader   Awami League   Mirza Fakhrul   BNP  


Inside Politics

2024 election was the fairest since 1975: PM

Publish: 10:45 AM, 08 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said this year's January 7 polls were the freest, fairest and most credible in Bangladesh after 1975.

"I think the election that was held in Bangladesh on January 7 this year was the freest, fairest and most neutral since 1975," she told a view exchange meeting with Tungipara Awami League leaders and activists at her official Ganabhaban residence.

Sheikh Hasina said the BNP-Jamaat wanted to foil the January 7 polls by doing various misdeeds. But the most important thing of the election is that the people spontaneously went to the polling stations and cast their vote, she said.

Mentioning that the journey ahead is not so easy, the Prime Minister said "Many obstacles have to be overcome. Many conspiracies surround this Bangladesh."

The people of Bangladesh have become financially secure today, she said, adding, people of Bangladesh are getting food today and are receiving treatment easily.

She went on saying, over 30 types of medicines are given free of charge through community clinics and today there is no need to bring old clothes from abroad.

Sheikh Hasina said that they have arranged rice and clothes as well as ensured medical treatment and education for the country's people. "In this way we are working for the welfare of people."

Regarding the commodity prices, she said that global food prices have increased, and that is why the government has to pay a huge amount of money to buy fertilisers, seeds, wheat, fuel oil, edible oil and gas.

"We have to buy many things from abroad. As the price of everything has gone up, the cost of transportation has gone up because of the Ukraine-Russia war," she added.

The head of government noted that there is a little difficulty for those who have a fixed income, saying "if we all cultivate the uncultivated lands, then there will be no shortage of this food. Moreover, we can make more surplus, we can also give to the people."

Laying emphasis on brining uncultivated land under cultivation, she said "wherever there is fallow land, we should bring it under cultivation. We will do whatever we can to help. At the same time, we will make arrangement for marketing through cooperatives."

 Sheikh Hasina said, "We have a plan to store food grains in every district; When there is a surplus. We have already made arrangements to this end."

She urged everyone to be frugal in the use of electricity and water.

Addressing the chairmen and members of Union Parishads, the Prime Minister said that the government gives many projects and works, and those should be implemented properly.

"People should not be ticked off (seeing the bad work), rather they can bring confidence by seeing the work, and this trust is most needed," she added.


election   fairest  


Inside Politics

PM for patience regarding war-like situation in Myanmar: Law Minister

Publish: 10:01 AM, 06 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed the armed forces and paramilitary border guards of Bangladesh to have patience regarding the recent war-like situation in Myanmar between their government forces and insurgents.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, in absence of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, on Monday said this while responding to a supplementary question from Opposition Chief Whip Mujibul Huq Chunnu in the parliament.

“Bangladesh is observing the situation closely and steps will be taken,” he said.

He said that today (Monday) some 78 Myanmar Border Police members entered Bangladesh, some of them with injuries.

He mentioned that these personnel have been kept in a school there and the injured persons were given treatment.

The law minister said that Instructions have been given to initiate dialogue with Myanmar through foreign ministry and send them back.

“If they are not able to send them back the next course will be taken,” he said.

The minister said that government is aware of this matter in Myanmar and steps have been taken to close down schools in areas close to Myanmar frontier.

Myanmar   Law Minister