Friday, February 05, 2016

Skip Navigation Links
 
link
 
link
SUPPLEMENT

Visitor Login










Choked democratic order in mortal jeopardy

Sadeq Khan

A new Act on citizenship of Bangladesh has been drafted by the government of Bangladesh and is now undergoing legislative and parliamentary scrutiny of the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. The cabinet has meanwhile approved for legislation certain provisions expanding the scope of dual citizenship.
As the Cabinet Secretary told the press after the cabinet meeting last Tuesday: “The new law broadens the scope for dual citizenship. Until now, the law only allowed dual citizenship for Bangladeshis in the US and the UK. The new law is being formulated by merging ‘The Citizenship Act 1959’ and ‘The Bangladesh Citizenship Temporary Provisions Order 1972’. Those two laws have a lot of backdated issues. The new law addresses those matters.”

Full Story

Sadeq Khan

A new Act on citizenship of Bangladesh has been drafted by the government of Bangladesh and is now undergoing legislative and parliamentary scrutiny of the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. The cabinet has meanwhile approved for legislation certain provisions expanding the scope of dual citizenship.
As the Cabinet Secretary told the press after the cabinet meeting last Tuesday: “The new law broadens the scope for dual citizenship. Until now, the law only allowed dual citizenship for Bangladeshis in the US and the UK. The new law is being formulated by merging ‘The Citizenship Act 1959’ and ‘The Bangladesh Citizenship Temporary Provisions Order 1972’. Those two laws have a lot of backdated issues. The new law addresses those matters.”

Conditions for citizenship
He said that anyone can renounce their Bangladeshi citizenship; but if one does so, the renouncement will also apply to one’s minor children. Foreign nationals, married to Bangladeshis, will have to reside in Bangladesh for at least five years to qualify for citizenship. So far, the period of residence has been four years.
The government may confer honorary citizenship on individuals for their contributions to Bangladesh: “In these instances, such citizens will not be able to participate in elections and cannot get involved with political parties. They cannot be employed for any State affairs, including as Supreme Court judges.”
The new law, however, specifies that Bangladeshis cannot go for dual citizenship with SAARC countries and Myanmar, and bars dual citizenship with countries the government has imposed a bar on by issuing gazettes and with those countries Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations. There is also bar on Supreme Court judges, MPs, members of the armed forces, public services and anyone holding a constitutional post against dual citizenship. They will not be permitted to possess dual citizenship.
The draft for the ‘Bangladesh Citizenship Act 2016’ also says that any Bangladeshi who pledges allegiance to a foreign state ‘directly or indirectly’ will lose their citizenship.
The new law includes a further provision for five years of imprisonment should one give false information to acquire citizenship.
Unlike under post-colonial governments of India and Pakistan, citizens of Bangladesh right from the time of foundation of the People’s Republic had enjoyed right to travel abroad almost unhindered by the state machinery. Citizens of all classes of people could obtain as a matter of civic right passports for foreign travel. This helped the country in the very difficult days of national reconstruction from war devastation. Many people, young and old, sought employment abroad, first as subjects of British Commonwealth and thereafter in other countries as economic migrants.

Details of citizenship
The wage-earners’ remittances provided floating hard currency needed to rebuild our industries and service sectors somewhat freely, like the garment industries and road transport vehicles, as a result of the wage-earner’s scheme.
The Bangladesh Citizenship (temporary provisions) order, 1972 (President’s Order No. 149 of 1972) provides interalia as follows: “Whereas it is expedient to make temporary provisions regarding citizenship of Bangladesh; Now, therefore, in pursuance of the Proclamation of Independence of Bangladesh, read with the Provisional Constitution of Bangladesh Order, 1972, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President is pleased to make the following Order: “(Article) 2.
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, on the commencement of this Order, every person shall be deemed to be a citizen of Bangladesh- (i) who or whose father or grandfather was born in the territories now comprised in Bangladesh and who was a permanent resident of such territories on the 25th day of March, 1971, and continues to be so resident; or (ii) who was a permanent resident of the territories now comprised in Bangladesh on the 25th day of March, 1971, and continues to be so resident and is not otherwise disqualified for being a citizen by or under any law for the time being in force:
Provided that if any person is a permanent resident of the territories now comprised in Bangladesh or his dependent is, in the course of his employment or for the pursuit of his studies, residing in a country which was at war with, or engaged in military operations against Bangladesh and is being prevented from returning to Bangladesh, such person or his dependents, shall be deemed to continue to be resident in Bangladesh.

Provisions of new law
(Article)-2A: A person to whom Article 2 would have ordinarily applied but for his residence in the United Kingdom shall be deemed to continue to be permanent resident in Bangladesh within the meaning of that Article:
Provided that the Government may notify, in the official Gazette, any person or categories of persons to whom this Article shall not apply.
(Article) 2B.(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 2 or in any other law for the time being in force, a person shall not, except as provided in clause (2), qualify himself to be a citizen of Bangladesh if he- (i) owes, affirms or acknowledges, expressly or by conduct, allegiance to a foreign state, or (ii) is notified under the proviso to Article 2A: Provided that a citizen of Bangladesh shall not, merely by reason of being a citizen or acquiring citizenship of a state specified in or under clause (2), cease to be a citizen of Bangladesh.
(2) The Government may grant citizenship of Bangladesh to any person who is a citizen of any state of Europe or North America or of any other state which the Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
Current provisions for citizenship above, for all intents and purposes, may be said to be constitutional obligation a maxim of ‘friendship for all and enmity to none’ as its peace-seeking policy in foreign relations, in this age of globalisation there is no harm in further expansion of the scope of dual nationality in our Citizenship Act. But some reports in the vernacular media suggest that accompanying the new citizen, a new Bangladesh Passport Act 2016 is being finalised, which seeks to include provisions to limit “rights of regular citizenry more than the other proposal to expand scopes of dual citizenship of Bangladeshis.

Denial of civic rights
According to the reports, twelve categories of people are to be denied passport, and in effect denied civic rights. The general provision for denial of passports invokes a penal power of the state to refuse travel document to anyone against whom reasonable proof exists of involvement in lawlessness or anti-state activities. Passport would likewise be denied to anyone attempting to evade summons in a criminal court or evade criminal conviction, or anyone reported with reasonable proof to be involved in money-laundering, human trafficking, capital flight, drugs or arms smuggling, and of course if one is convicted under the Bangladesh Collaborators Order and the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act of 1973.
It is further stipulated in the draft of the Passport Act 2016, based on an earlier draft of Bangladesh Passport Act 2013 that on the basis of intelligence report, if the Immigration and Passport authorities are satisfied that there is an administrative ban on foreign travel of any person, or if there is reasonable doubt that the applicant for passport may indulge in activity abroad against the sovereignty, security and integrity of the nation-state, he or she would be refused passport by the state. If an applicant is in a foreign country and reported to be involved in activity likely to adversely affect the relation of Bangladesh with that country or any other country, he or she would be denied passport, as would be to any person found in police report to be involved with any international terrorist organisation or international criminal outfit. Criminal courts would be authorised to withdraw or confiscate passports of offenders as part of penalty or conviction for certain offences. Passports could also be liable to be withdrawn or confiscated by executive order on five other counts of cause for travel restriction, violation of terms of passport, for travel restriction, violation of terms of passport or possession of altered/forged passport, the last count calling for criminal prosecution.

A mortal blow
If enacted, such a law would certainly be a mortal blow to the already mutilated democratic order of our nation-state, and a violation of the basic principles of our much-abused Constitution. It would be far worse than the restricted civil liberty allowed by the two post-colonial states of British India, both of which invoked “special powers” to deal with supposed anti-state (which often meant antigovernment) elements. All political parties of Bangladesh and erstwhile East Pakistan abhorred special powers of the executive, and rejected it the Special Powers Act.
It is a pity, though, that successive governments in Bangladesh in practice exercised by misfeasance of police powers most of the counts of denial or confiscation of passport or restriction of travel of suspects without proper process of law. Excessive police powers accrued under successive governments and political abuse of the same particularly under the current regime has already repressed illiberal democratic order of this country to a choking point. The de-facto repressive and restrictive practices of the executive in the name of security of the state is now sought to be given legal cover. It would make the perception of a de-facto police-state situation of this country into a de jure police-state indeed.


Login to post comments


(0)



How politics in U.S. & Europe shifting from the center

Vijay Prashad
AlterNet

In The Extreme Center: A Warning, the left intellectual Tariq Ali suggests, “A dictatorship of capital… has reduced political parties to the status of the living dead.” The “indistinguishable political elite” has brought political parties in the West to the heel – they now bark to the same tune: low taxes on the rich, few regulations on business, less social welfare programs for the indigent, more police and war.

Full Story

Vijay Prashad
AlterNet

In The Extreme Center: A Warning, the left intellectual Tariq Ali suggests, “A dictatorship of capital… has reduced political parties to the status of the living dead.” The “indistinguishable political elite” has brought political parties in the West to the heel – they now bark to the same tune: low taxes on the rich, few regulations on business, less social welfare programs for the indigent, more police and war.

The two American parties are distinguished by their temperament; the Republican more macho in its disposition. They are also divided on some issues of great importance, namely attitude toward social minorities and women’s rights. But on the main business items (taxes, regulations, balanced budgets, banks, welfare, police), they are impossible to tell apart. Cutting welfare and increasing policing harshly hits the very social minorities and women that the Democrats claim to defend.

Govt.’s social value declined
Much the same kind of harmony exists between the Labour and Conservative parties in the UK, the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats in Germany and the Socialists and Union for a Popular Movement in France. The figures associated with the emergence of the Extreme Center (or the Third Way) are Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Jacques Chirac.
Over the course of the 1990s and 2000s, this Extreme Center imagined that political differences had largely ended – what remained were differences in policy and strategy. Technocrats rushed into the void, pushing the view that certain things need no longer be debated and only implemented. Chief of the central banks – such as Alan Greenspan of the US Federal Reserve – drew the lines inside which governments had to operate.
Democratic opinion mattered less and less, as the will of the bankers mattered more and more. Ratings agencies, with their own close ties to business elites, set the dial for governmental policy. If a government tried to get out of the lines set by the bankers, the ratings agencies would threaten to downgrade them and make the cost of borrowing from banks higher. This was enough to constrain the options for governments.
Meanwhile, the rich went on strike. They refused to pay taxes toward the common good. Political pressure from the central banks, the ratings agencies and the moneyed elite forced governments to pass versions of the balanced budget amendment. With less revenue coming in, governments were forced to cut expenditure. This meant that they could no longer manage social spending and job creation mechanisms. To balance their books, the governments began to sell off vital areas of social life – including the delivery of water and education – to private hands. Privatization was a means to balance the budget and retain a good credit rating. The social value of government declined.

30% have permanent jobs: ILO
Media, controlled and funded by the moneyed rich, attacked the idea of “government” and built a political consensus for privatization. At the same time, the media stoked fears of crime and terrorism – building unanimity for what limited state funds remained to be spent on the police and military. There was little concern amongst the ratings agencies and the bankers for this unproductive investment. With no agenda to create jobs in the West, the governments adopted the strategy of sending its poor into the military or to prison.
The crazy wars and financial crises inaugurated in the 2000s put an end to the arrogance of the Extreme Center. It had created a world it could not control. There was no solution to the global jobs crisis, and none whatsoever to the chaos produced by Bush’s wars. Elites continued to smile at Davos, but their tone was different. They don’t know diffidence, but there is hesitancy in their manner. Just before Davos, the IMF released a warning of slowdown in growth, with geopolitical tensions, an appreciation of the dollar, and uncertainty in China. An International Labour Organisation report showed that only a quarter of the world’s workforce have permanent jobs. Tensions in the world economy, a bleak jobs scenario, and only fluff from the Extreme Center as solutions—this is the tenor of our times. It suggests that the era of the Extreme Center is now over.
What comes after? Absolute polarity is the current dynamic, with an Extreme Right in attendance at one end and the emergence of a Left at the other. It is Donald Trump here and Bernie Sanders there. Donald Trump is an abomination, but he is not alone. Across the Atlantic, he will find his equals – Front Nationale’s Marie Le Pen (France), Fidesz’s Viktor Orbán (Hungary), Law and Justice’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski (Poland), Venstre’s Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Denmark), Freedom Party’s Heinz-Christian Strache (Austria), VMRO-DPMNE’s Nikola Gruevski (Macedonia).

Highly racist understanding
This is a short list. What distinguishes them is that they share a common view of governance: a highly racist understanding of society is coupled with a policy slate to use government power to divert social benefits to the privileged race. In other words, a strong state with generous social benefits will provide for those whom the party deems to be the appropriate natural citizens. Foreigners are not welcome. The financial sector must be tethered to the national good. Everyone must get social benefits.
What defines the Extreme Right in other words is a combination of harsh racism with paternal delivery of social goods. Trump’s discombobulated rhetoric is actually identical to what Fidesz, Law and Justice, VMRO have put into place now that they are in government. Harsh language against the financial sector is common here, including the view that banks need to be made into national entities and not globalized ventures. The bottom line must stop at the border. No wonder then that these parties attract a base amongst the working-class that is able to claim to be natural citizens: they this form of racist benevolence is attractive to them. It is better than the cold winter of austerity.
The Extreme Right is not alone in the new landscape. In the four PIGS states (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) have emerged formations that – in different ways – have struggled to create a left response to the crisis and the demise of the Extreme Center. The most important example here is Greece, where the Left emerged like a meteor – as Syriza – but then found itself against the brick wall of the rules created by the Extreme Center. It could not break through. Italy’s Democratic Party, led by Matteo Renzi, the charismatic former mayor of Florence, is now in power. Renzi’s style and agenda resembles that of Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, although the latter seemed more radical because of the kind of people to the left in his party (such as Yanis Varoufakis).

‘Morbid symptoms appear’
But both are not willing to make a complete break with the consensus of the Extreme Center – Tsipras unwilling to challenge the European troika and Renzi comfortable with breaking protections for workers with his Jobs Act. Untried in the halls of power are Spain’s Podemos and United Left – both of whom are in the midst of negotiations to form the next government. In nearby Portugal, the Left Bloc has entered an alliance with the Socialist Party, the Communist-Green Alliance and the Socialists to form the government. Both the Spanish and the Portuguese Left will now have to test the waters. Could they be bolder than their compatriots from Italy and Greece?
In the Anglophone world, the victory of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party and the remarkable ascent of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party’s primaries challenge the Extreme Center in the world of Clinton and Blair. Corbyn and Sanders have established themselves as popular leaders of the anti-austerity bloc. Fear-mongering is the language of Money. It wants to return power to the Extreme Center, whether in the hands of Hillary Clinton in the United States or Andy Burnham-Yvette Cooper-Liz Kendall in Britain. But Corbyn is not alone. To his left in the British parliament is the Scottish National Party, which swept Scotland in the last parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom. Its agenda is broadly socialist – close to the kind of agenda of Podemos and the Left Bloc, but with the advantage of nationalist Scottish capital in its corner.
The Extreme Center is dying. At its ends emerges a politics of anti-austerity. What divides the Right and the Left is their attitude to society, whether to pursue inclusive and diverse social worlds or not. This is a fundamental difference. There is nothing shared between Trump and Sanders or Golden Dawn’s Ilias Kasidiaris and Syriza’s Tspiras. They live on different planets, and yet both have rejected the Extreme Center’s politics of austerity. As the old communist Antonio Gramsci put it so plainly in another era, “The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In the interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” One of them is named Trump.


Login to post comments


(0)



Worsening Bangladesh-Pakistan relations

Abdur Rahman Khan

Amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two countries, Bangladesh summoned on Tuesday Pakistan’s high commissioner to lodge a protest after a Bangladeshi official Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad was detained for four hours.
Weeks of rising tension in the relationship between the two countries were sparked in late November by the executions in Bangladesh of two opposition leaders convicted of crimes against humanity during the 1971 war.

Full Story

Abdur Rahman Khan

Amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two countries, Bangladesh summoned on Tuesday Pakistan’s high commissioner to lodge a protest after a Bangladeshi official Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad was detained for four hours.
Weeks of rising tension in the relationship between the two countries were sparked in late November by the executions in Bangladesh of two opposition leaders convicted of crimes against humanity during the 1971 war.

At the time, Pakistan’s foreign ministry had expressed “deep concern and anguish” at the executions, describing the trials of those involved in alleged atrocities during the conflict as “flawed”.
On last Tuesday Pakistani High Commissioner in Dhaka was summoned to the foreign ministry after the Bangladeshi official in Pakistan was detained for hours on Monday, hours after police in the Bangladeshi capital had detained an official of the Pakistan High Commission, citing his “suspicious movement”.
Both Pakistani and Bangladesh officials, however, were released within a few hours. Last month, a Bangladeshi diplomat in Pakistan was expelled in what Dhaka officials called “an act of retaliation” after a Pakistani diplomat in Dhaka was expelled after being accused of spying. In late December, Pakistan withdrew Farina Arshad, a diplomat at its High Commission in Dhaka, after Bangladeshi authorities accused her of spying and being involved in financing Islamist groups.
However, two recent incidents have fuelled tensions between the two countries, already compounded by Pakistan’s comments on the trials of the 1971 war criminals and alleged links of officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka for financing terrorists in Bangladesh.

Further irritation
It is likely to be more irritating for Pakistan after a section of civil society leaders demanding severing diplomatic ties with Pakistan and lately the Bangladesh Minister for Shipping Shahjahan Khan announcing a list of 200 Pakistani war criminals. A list of Pakistani soldiers, who are believed to have committed war crimes in 1971, has been prepared by the International War Crimes Mass Trial Movement (IWCMTM).
The organization was formed while the trials of Bangladeshi collaborators were underway, placed the list containing 200 names at a press conference on Tuesday. Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan was instrumental in the formation of this body after Pakistan began opposing the trials and execution of convicts.
Altogether 195 Pakistani Army personnel had been accused of war crimes in 1971, but Khan explained the addition of five more names.
“The plan was to release 195 names, but we found five more individuals; so the list has 200 names.” The organisation has received more information, he said. “More lists will be made public after verifying the information.”
Sixty-eight army men named in the list have been accused of planning war crimes and leading their execution.
Charges of genocide, rape, looting and arson have been leveled against 118. Another 14 have been accused of committing genocide on a massive scale. The IWCMTM members will march in a procession and appeal to the Parliament’s Speaker to raise the issue in parliament.
Journalist Abed Khan, film director Kazi Hayat, freedom fighter Ismat Kadir Gama, professor Abdul Mannan Chowdhury and actress Rokeya Prachi were present at the press meet.

Dhaka to maintain ties: FM
Meanwhile, amid growing tensions between the two countries, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali told the Jatiya Sangsad on Tuesday that Bangladesh is not going to cut diplomatic relations with Pakistan ‘for now’. The minister faced a question on the issue in Parliament on that day after a staff member of Bangladesh’s mission in Islamabad had gone missing for hours.
“Problems do not necessarily mean we have to break relations. Many countries maintain diplomatic ties even during times of war,” he said.
The minister said, “I don’t want to do anything for now. The future will tell where this will go. We’ll have to consider the time. We have to think of our national interest on top of everything.
To a question by Mohibur Rahman Manik on Pakistan’s stance on the trials of war criminals, the foreign minister said, “Pakistan has been opposing the trial since the very beginning.”
“Pakistan has termed the trials faulty and politically motivated,” he said and added: “We received unexpected reactions from Pakistan on different occasions, following the judgment delivery in war crimes cases and execution of the verdicts. The foreign ministry has taken proper and strong measures every time.”
He said Pakistan’s reactions to the war crimes trials are tantamount to interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs. Pakistan has frustrated us time and again.”


Login to post comments


(0)



AHRC demands Mahmudur Rahman’s release

Special Correspondent

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a OMCT-FIDH joint programme) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have urged the authorities of Bangladesh to immediately release journalist Mahmudur Rahman, who completed 1,000 days in custody without trial on January 6, 2016 as part of the government’s efforts to stifle dissenting voices in the country,

Full Story

Special Correspondent

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a OMCT-FIDH joint programme) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have urged the authorities of Bangladesh to immediately release journalist Mahmudur Rahman, who completed 1,000 days in custody without trial on January 6, 2016 as part of the government’s efforts to stifle dissenting voices in the country,

Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, Acting Editor of the daly Amar Desh, has been detained since April 11, 2013, after he was charged with sedition and unlawful publication of a Skype conversation between International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) Judge Md Nizamul Huq and an external consultant in December 2012. At the time of his arrest, the Amar Desh office and its press were raided by the police, journalists and press-operators were beaten and driven out, and the press building was sealed and it has remained closed since.

Judicial harassment
Mr. Rahman was subjected to torture while in police custody, claimed a joint statement by Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a OMCT-FIDH joint program) and the Asian Human Rights Commission issued on Wednesday.
On August 13, 2015, Mr. Rahman was sentenced to three years in prison by a Dhaka Court for charges brought against him in 2010 by the Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which accused him of failing to submit his wealth statement.
The statement said, prior to his arrest in 2013, Mr. Rahman had already been the target of judicial harassment in relation to defamation and sedition cases brought against him by the Bangladeshi authorities, notably for publishing a report on alleged corruption practices of the Prime Minister and her relatives. He was subjected to torture and ill-treatment while he was arbitrarily detained from June 2010 to March 2011.
The Government, it said, has now mounted approximately 70 fabricated and politically motivated cases against Mr. Rahman. He has to travel three to four times a week from Kashimpur Jail 2 to the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka, for hearings on these cases. Each journey, covering a total distance of almost 100 kilometres a day, takes more than four hours each way in a hot and humid prison van with very little ventilation. This type of ill-treatment is especially concerning due to 63 year-old Mahmudur Rahman’s health, as he suffers from various ailments aggravated by the torture he suffered while in police custody and nearly four years of confinement at Kashimpur Jail 2. In addition, his family members - including his wife and his mother - have also been threatened and harassed by the Government, it alleged.

Demand physical integrity
The statement also claimed that Mr. Rahman’s current prolonged detention is illegal according to both the Criminal Procedure Code and the Constitution of Bangladesh. The Criminal Procedure Code clearly states that if a trial cannot be completed within a specific time (in this case, 180 days) the accused person should be released on bail.
The statement said: “Our organisations reiterate their call to the authorities of Bangladesh to immediately and unconditionally release and to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, whose detention is emblematic of the increasing repression of dissenting voices in the country.
“Our organisations more generally urge the Bangladeshi Government to uphold its obligation under international law to ensure that its people can exercise and defend the right to freedom of expression as well as all other human rights.”
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The overall objective of this program is to strengthen the action of human rights defenders in defence of victims and to reduce their isolation and vulnerability. It is also based on the absolute necessity to establish a systematic response to the repression they face.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.


Login to post comments


(0)



Maldives succumbed to pressure, frees Nasheed

Shamsuddin Ahmed

President Abdulla Yameen of Maldives who showed extraordinary courage in defying India has finally succumbed to the international pressure.  He bowed to the pressure from western powers, especially the US and Britain, and last month set free former President Mohammad Nasheed from 13 years imprisonment. His release on January 18 was brokered by two Sri Lankan ministers and British diplomats. Nasheed was granted 30 days prison leave for treatment of back pain, surgery in spinal cord.

Full Story

Shamsuddin Ahmed

President Abdulla Yameen of Maldives who showed extraordinary courage in defying India has finally succumbed to the international pressure.  He bowed to the pressure from western powers, especially the US and Britain, and last month set free former President Mohammad Nasheed from 13 years imprisonment. His release on January 18 was brokered by two Sri Lankan ministers and British diplomats. Nasheed was granted 30 days prison leave for treatment of back pain, surgery in spinal cord.

A favourite of Delhi, Nasheed, 48, was the first democratically elected president of Maldives but had to resign in 2012 before completing his term in the face of police-army mutiny. He was accused of giving undue favours to India in business deals and attempts of promoting secularism. Maldives is an Islamic state where people of other faiths are barred from citizenship.

Convicted on criminal chrges
In March last year Nashed was convicted by a criminal court on terror related charge and he was sentenced to prison for 13 years. The prosecution said Nasheed during his presidency ordered the arrest of chief judge Abdullah Mohammad and illegally detaining him by abusing his powers.  His lawyers had boycotted the court protesting what they said biased trial aimed at destroying political career of a political opponent.
Now that he is free and visiting UK, political observers say Nasheed is unlikely to return home to serve 12 more years in jail. He will try galvanizing influential friends abroad in the hope that he does not have to return to prison again. He will wait until the change of regime in Maldives to return home to safety.
Informed sources say, he may visit USA and India which had voiced concerns at his conviction and mounted pressures on President Yameen for his freedom. During his presidency Nasheed had earned international fame for holding underwater cabinet meeting, for the first time in the world, in the wake of speculation that Maldives may go under water in the event of rise in the sea level.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scheduled to visit Maldives early last year, had requested for the release of Nasheed. President Yameen turned down the request saying his country would not bow down to any external pressure. This angered Delhi and Modi cancelled his visit to Maldives.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushama Swaraj visited Maldives a few months ago and pleaded for securing the release of Nasheed. Her plea also went in vain. Yameen has repeatedly insisted that the calls for Nasheed’s release amounts to an assault on Maldivises Sovereignty.  Observers viewed that support from Beijing and Islamabad emboldened Yameen in withstanding the Indian pressures so long.

Naheed abusing leave: Govt.
Soon after release from jail, Nasheed flew to Britain and met British Prime Minister David Cameroon. In course of talks with the British leader he raised serious concerns about the deteriorating political and human rights situation in Maldives and called for sanction against the Yameen government. He told journalists he would definitely return home. But the question is when. Clearly he indicated that he was not returning home after his 30-day prison leave.
Portraying a grim picture of his country Nasheed said the people were oppressed under President Yameen’s dictatorial regime. Referring to his 2008 election victory against Maumoon Gayoom who ruled the country more than three decades, he said it was easy to topple a dictator from the power but not so easy to uproot remnants of a dictator.
He said Maldives is experiencing a rising tide of religious extremism with many people living the country to join the ISIS. Maldives are sending more fighters than any other country. The country’s reliance on China for funds and trade has been increasing.
Cold war was brewing in the Indian Ocean with rising arms race by the countries of the region. He expressed concern that Maldives is strategically placed in the centre of the cold war.  He is giving his audience to believe that democracy in Maldives found a reversal, society radicalized and foreign policy heavily tilted towards China under President Yameen’s leadership.
The Maldives government monitoring Nasheed’s activities abroad and has expressed annoyance at his abusing the advantage of prison leave granted on humanitarian ground and tarnishing the image of the country. “It is now clear the former president has misled in seeking medical leave in the UK,” Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon said in a statement.
She added, the government acted in good faith and allowed Mr. Nasheed to travel abroad for medical treatment. Yet it is now clear his primary goal was to court publicity in the UK.


Login to post comments


(0)



Tourism statistics needs high level attention in Bangladesh

Shahabuddin Ahmad

Correct tourism statistics are needed for creating awareness about the growing importance of the sector. However, despite this, national decisions on sustaining the investment are required to produce correct tourism statistics are not readily available in Bangladesh.

Full Story

Shahabuddin Ahmad

Correct tourism statistics are needed for creating awareness about the growing importance of the sector. However, despite this, national decisions on sustaining the investment are required to produce correct tourism statistics are not readily available in Bangladesh.

Asia in general has been a star performer in the last decades in this sector. Tourism is growing by leaps and bound in this continent and by 2030 about 535 million tourists are expected to visit Asia in a single year. Against this backdrop, it is particularly important that a strong link to be established to nurture and strengthen the fast growing connections between South Asia and other destinations are the developed. Bangladesh is sure to be benefited from such a connection.

Lack of information system
Tourism statistics are used to support and strengthen evaluation, as it provides useful data to the government and other agencies on the value of the sector as recommend by the OCED: (a) Assess impacts against objectives;(b) Learn from successes and failures and inform their decisions; (c)Build cross-government understanding of the efficiency of  the overall government approach to tourism at national and local levels; (d)Provide evidence of cost-effectiveness across a portfolio of policies and programs; (e)Stimulate debate amongst “stakeholders” (entrepreneurs: residents, visitors, local authorities, investors); and (f)Help inform improvements in design and implementation.
In Bangladesh tourism is not recognized as an industry the way industry is defined by the system of national accounts, says the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in one its publications. It says, tourism is a demand base concept defined not by its output but by its use in the various sector of the economy.
In the past few years, tourism has contributed to the country’s economy but it has never been measured systematically. A step taken by the BBS for publication of Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) under a pilot project in 2014, with UNWTO assistance is a good step and it is expected that organized evaluation of tourism statistics will continue to be published by the BBS in future and the government shall ensure that unqualified officials do not interfere in this field and the premises enunciated by the OCED are kept in view.
According to the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), tourist arrivals in Bangladesh in 2011 was 593677; in 2012: 588193; 2013: 277087, but for 2014, no information is available.
It appears that there is no co-ordination between the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and the Home Ministry about the number of monthly tourist arrival in the country which are collected at the airports and the land ports by the immigration department. Those involved at the centres are not aware of their responsibility and the importance of collecting such figures.

Professionals needed
The BTB says that the issue will be resolved but how soon is not known as it has been pending for the last 4 years.  BTB was established 4 years back and is now being run unprofessionally with the help of a handful of officers on deputation from the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) who are responsible for preparing the statistical reports.
There are two global organizations dealing with tourism – UNWTO, an intergovernmental-body and WTTC, a private organization – which publish tourism statistics and earnings from tourism regularly on a global basis. UNWTO collect information from the countries concerned and WTTC compile information on the impact of tourism sector through its partner organization, the Oxford Economics. In Bangladesh there is no regular system for compilation and supply of information on tourism. It is important to note that the tourism industry fosters direct, indirect and induced developments including employment.
Currently, for every eleven worker worldwide, there is one worker in the tourism sector. UNWTO and WTTC have made projections for growth of the sector in Bangladesh up to 2030. Such projections will be wrong, as the figures are not regular, foolproof for lack of trained manpower.
According to the UNWTO and WTTC, because of its importance, the tourism sector will continue to grow and contribute to GDP, employment and infrastructure development. But these agencies are not aware of the ground reality and therefore, are unlikely to predict their forecasts correctly.


Login to post comments


(0)



US sending IS expert to share info with Dhaka

Shakhawat Hossain

Despite the government’s repeated denial of the existence of the Islamic State (IS) in the country, the United States has once again warned that the US is in possession of specific information about the activities of Islamic State (IS) and its threats in Bangladesh.

Full Story

Shakhawat Hossain

Despite the government’s repeated denial of the existence of the Islamic State (IS) in the country, the United States has once again warned that the US is in possession of specific information about the activities of Islamic State (IS) and its threats in Bangladesh.

The United States has also reportedly offered to send an expert on IS to Bangladesh to share information about the activities of the international militant organization the Islamic State, now active in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. They are also said to be active in India and Pakistan.
US ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat has formally made the proposal at a meeting with home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal last Tuesday at his Bangladesh Secretariat office in the capital city.
Ambassador Bernicat said that the US government would continue its cooperation with Bangladesh in fighting terrorism which she said has become a global problem now.
In his response, Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman, however, as usual repeated Dhaka’s stand on the issue and said: “There is no IS here (in Bangladesh). But there is a threat of militancy since it was now a global phenomenon.”
About the US proposal to share information on the threat of the IS, he said, Bangladesh would welcome any such cooperation in fighting terrorism and militancy. He told newsmen, the US Ambassador has informed him that the United States had specific information about the activities of the IS and its threats in Bangladesh.
‘The US has praised the steps we have taken to contain terrorism and militancy. They want to send an IS expert to Bangladesh to share information about the militant organisation and its activities with us,’ the home minister told reporters after the meeting.
It may be pointed out that all the previous attacks in Bangladesh, including the killings of Italian and Japanese nationals, and the recent bombing of the Shia mosque in northern Bogra, the Islamic State (IS) had claimed responsibility, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence group. No other sources, however, has authenticated the claim.
Both the government and security forces have repeatedly asserted that the terror group IS has no organisational presence in Bangladesh. However, according to SITE, the IS has said it has a “regional leader” in Bangladesh and threatened to carry out more attacks in the country.

Sherpur arms cache
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday categorically informed that the huge cache of arms and ammo seized in Sherpur outside of Dhaka belonged to an “Indian separatist group”. He made the remark while talking to reporters after US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake met him separately at his office.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in a drive on Monday recovered 43,000 bullets, two sniper rifles, 2,000 antiaircraft missiles, six walkie-talkies, 37 magazines, two chargers and some military equipment from four spots on a hillock at Kalapani in Bhurunga border area in the district’s Nalitabari upazila.


Login to post comments


(0)



METROPOLITAN
EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS
INFOTECH
CULTURE
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
LETTERS
LAST WORD
DIARY
 OIC DIARY : WEEK ENDING 11 DECEMBER 2015  First Expert Meeting OIC Network on Public Health and Reproductive, Maternal, New-born and Child Health Care
OIC DIARY: WEEK ENDING 18 DECEMBER 2015 OIC Secretary General on the Peace Process in Southern Philippines
 OIC DIARY: WEEK ENDING 25 DECEMBER, 2015 Media Strategy to Encourage Investments in Member States
 ART & CULTURE DIARY Poster wins in short-film competition
 AVIATOUR DIARY TOURISM YEAR 2016 Carnival in Cox's Bazar from the year-end of 2015
 OIC DIARY: WEEK ENDING 1 JANUARY, 2016 HOLY SITES IN AL-QUDS European Union speaks against violation
 OIC DIARY: WEEK ENDING 1 JANUARY, 2016 OIC hails the liberation of Ramadi in Iraq
 WEEK ENDING JANUARY 15, 2016 CHAIR OF THE ISLAMIC SUMMIT President Abdel Fattah El-SISI Receives OIC Secretary General
 WEEK ENDING: JANUARY 22, 2016 Terrorist attack on Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
 WEEK ENDING: JANUARY 29, 2016
 ART & CULTURE DIARY BON MANUSH A portrayal of oppressed working class
 WEEK ENDING 5 FEBRUARY, 2016 OIC elections monitoring unit
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
Contents Copyrighted © by Holiday Publication Limited
Mailing address 30, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh.
Phone 880-2-8170462, 8170463, 8170464 Fax 880-2-9127927 Email holiday@bangla.net
Site Managed By: Southtech Limited
Southtech Limited does not take any responsibility for any news content of this site