Friday, February 24, 2012 EDITORIAL

Skip Navigation Links
SUPPLEMENT
Visitor Login










 EDITORIAL 

Polls under non-party interim govt.

 Throughout the world, if need be, usually enemies are in talking terms; and rapport between political rivals is common. Even Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to the chagrin of some, kept up relationship with his contenders in politics. In today’s Bangladesh, alas, there is no love lost between incumbent Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina, and former Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition in Parliament and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. 

The top AL leaders in their pre-poll speeches had pledged many good things including lowering the price of rice to Taka 10 per kg, supplying fertiliser to farmers for free and give opposition its due status as in other democracies; all those promises have gone with the wind. Thus people’s confidence in AL dwindled. Meanwhile, based on ‘short order’ – instead of the full order of the Appellate Division – the Caretaker Government (CG) system has been scrapped. Looking back, the system, a brainchild of Jamaat-e-Islami but enthusiastically endorsed and adopted by AL as the singular agenda for movement and agitation against the BNP government, was institutionalised by means of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1996.
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on May 10, 2011 repealed the 13th amendment to the Constitution declaring the Non-party CG void and ultra vires to the Constitution; but allowed holding of “two more parliamentary elections” under the CG. Disregarding the second part of the verdict the AL has abolished it in parliament. This action can best be described as the goodbye to fair elections that could lead to serious turmoil because majority of the people do not support the AL.
However, a thin ray of hope seems visible as stances on both sides of the divide look like moving towards a positive effect. A recent news report published in a major English daily suggests that both the ruling AL and the main opposition BNP now appear open to breaking the impasse over ways to hold the next parliamentary elections. The two archrivals have discussed at their respective party forums the issue of installing an interim government. They, however, want to look further into it before coming up with a formal proposal. According to a senior leader of the AL, the party is ready to discuss the matter, provided the opposition places a proposal in parliament to that end. 
BNP was saying it would not participate in any elections except under a CG while AL insisted there was no scope for it after the constitutional amendment rescinded the system. BNP’s acting secretary general said if AL agreed on forming a non-party government for holding the next elections, BNP was ready to join parliament session to discuss its modalities. 
Soon after the 2009 polls, which brought Hasina to power, Khaleda expressed her intent to cooperate with the AL government and attended the inaugural session of the Jatiya Sangsad, but courtesy backfired with humiliation of the Opposition leader through eviction from her residence where she lived for about 38 years. The government has been viciously vindictive to the BNP and its front organisation leaders; the AL cadres, the police as well as other law enforcers have already killed and abducted a considerable number of BNP leaders, workers and supporters. In a word, when it comes to hounding, persecution, imprisonment, abduction and what have you, the BNP and other opposition parties have been in the receiving end. 
Near home, in India the culture is poles apart. Though Hasina has become PM twice so far and Paschim Banga’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee is heading the provincial government only for the first time, yet she has shown enough maturity as a politician in that the latter had the courtesy and good sense to come together to pay honour and celebrate, with pomp and splendour, the birthday of West Bengal’s former chief minister and CPI (M) leader Jyoti Basu, in Kolkata. Such civility is now unknown here.
It is advisable to the incumbents: the ruling AL government should see reason to avert disorder of its own making because the Prime Minister must not forget that a large section of the polity favour a non-party interim system to conduct elections and distrust the AL, pure and simple.

Comment

 Throughout the world, if need be, usually enemies are in talking terms; and rapport between political rivals is common. Even Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to the chagrin of some, kept up relationship with his contenders in politics. In today’s Bangladesh, alas, there is no love lost between incumbent Prime Minister and Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina, and former Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition in Parliament and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. 

The top AL leaders in their pre-poll speeches had pledged many good things including lowering the price of rice to Taka 10 per kg, supplying fertiliser to farmers for free and give opposition its due status as in other democracies; all those promises have gone with the wind. Thus people’s confidence in AL dwindled. Meanwhile, based on ‘short order’ – instead of the full order of the Appellate Division – the Caretaker Government (CG) system has been scrapped. Looking back, the system, a brainchild of Jamaat-e-Islami but enthusiastically endorsed and adopted by AL as the singular agenda for movement and agitation against the BNP government, was institutionalised by means of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1996.
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on May 10, 2011 repealed the 13th amendment to the Constitution declaring the Non-party CG void and ultra vires to the Constitution; but allowed holding of “two more parliamentary elections” under the CG. Disregarding the second part of the verdict the AL has abolished it in parliament. This action can best be described as the goodbye to fair elections that could lead to serious turmoil because majority of the people do not support the AL.
However, a thin ray of hope seems visible as stances on both sides of the divide look like moving towards a positive effect. A recent news report published in a major English daily suggests that both the ruling AL and the main opposition BNP now appear open to breaking the impasse over ways to hold the next parliamentary elections. The two archrivals have discussed at their respective party forums the issue of installing an interim government. They, however, want to look further into it before coming up with a formal proposal. According to a senior leader of the AL, the party is ready to discuss the matter, provided the opposition places a proposal in parliament to that end. 
BNP was saying it would not participate in any elections except under a CG while AL insisted there was no scope for it after the constitutional amendment rescinded the system. BNP’s acting secretary general said if AL agreed on forming a non-party government for holding the next elections, BNP was ready to join parliament session to discuss its modalities. 
Soon after the 2009 polls, which brought Hasina to power, Khaleda expressed her intent to cooperate with the AL government and attended the inaugural session of the Jatiya Sangsad, but courtesy backfired with humiliation of the Opposition leader through eviction from her residence where she lived for about 38 years. The government has been viciously vindictive to the BNP and its front organisation leaders; the AL cadres, the police as well as other law enforcers have already killed and abducted a considerable number of BNP leaders, workers and supporters. In a word, when it comes to hounding, persecution, imprisonment, abduction and what have you, the BNP and other opposition parties have been in the receiving end. 
Near home, in India the culture is poles apart. Though Hasina has become PM twice so far and Paschim Banga’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee is heading the provincial government only for the first time, yet she has shown enough maturity as a politician in that the latter had the courtesy and good sense to come together to pay honour and celebrate, with pomp and splendour, the birthday of West Bengal’s former chief minister and CPI (M) leader Jyoti Basu, in Kolkata. Such civility is now unknown here.
It is advisable to the incumbents: the ruling AL government should see reason to avert disorder of its own making because the Prime Minister must not forget that a large section of the polity favour a non-party interim system to conduct elections and distrust the AL, pure and simple.

Login to post comments


(0)



Will Israel attack Iran?

Barrister Harun ur Rashid

US Defence Secretary Panetta’s view that Israel would attack Iran alone, possibly in April or May, was first reported by the Washington Post, which said he was alarmed at the prospect of a unilateral strike. CNN later said it had confirmed the story via a source within the administration.

In Brussels for a meeting of NATO defence ministers, Panetta declined to discuss in detail the reports, but said: “Israel has indicated that they’re considering this [in public statements] and we have indicated our concerns.”
Amid mounting tensions caused by reports of US Defence Secretary’s view on Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities,  the US and Israel  remain at odds over the question: whether Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities are about to become impregnable or  as Israel puts it “beyond zone of immunity.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, believes Iran’s program is entering an “immunity zone” because Iran’s plan to put much of its uranium enrichment near Qum in an underground facility which would be out of the reach of bunker-bursting bombs.
Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said military action needed to be considered if economic sanctions failed to deter Iran and the window for action was closing fast. But he said there was now widespread global understanding that an attack might be necessary.
Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon said that only the threat of a punishing military strike would compel Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. “The West has the ability to strike but as long as Iran isn’t convinced that there’s a determination to follow through with it, they’ll continue with their manipulations,” he said.
While nuclear experts believe Iran now has enough uranium to fuel four or more nuclear weapons, it would have to enrich it bomb-grade levels (85% enriched uranium: Iran’s enriched uranium is reportedly only 20%) which would take months. Moreover Iran would have to produce a warhead that could fit atop an Iranian missile—a process that could take one to three years.
Several of the Republicans now vying for their party’s 2012 presidential nomination have attacked the Obama administration for not threatening more clearly a strike against Iran should it continue to defy international demands for greater transparency of its nuclear program. They have accused Obama of leaving the tough talk mostly to Israel.
The increasingly murky issue of Iran’s nuclear and missile capability is a prime focus of US foreign policy. President Barack Obama insisted in last month’s State of the Union address that he would “take no options off the table” in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal.
Iran is developing a missile capable of hitting the east coast of the US, according to an Israeli government minister, intensifying western anxiety over the regime’s nuclear ambitions.  But contrary to assertions that the chief threat was to Iran’s near-neighbour, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon, said the missile project was “aimed at America, not us”.
Yaalon made the claim at a public policy conference in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv. He said the missile being built at an Iranian research facility that was damaged by a mysterious explosion in November was a long-range missile prototype with a range of 9,600 kilometres, enough to reach the US.
The missile claim came as the former US defence secretary Robert Gates, now the chancellor of America’s second oldest university, William and Mary, warned about the dangers of a war with Iran, telling CNN that “if Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything in recent history, it is the unpredictability of war and that these things are easier to get into than to get out of”.  
Gates added: “This is, I think, one of the toughest foreign policy problems I have ever seen since entering the government 45 years ago.” 
Washington and the European Union have imposed increasingly tough sanctions on Iran, prompting the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to warn it would close the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane if it was prevented from exporting its crude oil, a move the US would not tolerate.
On February 3, Iran’s supreme leader lashed out at the United States in a defiant speech vowing to retaliate against oil sanctions and threats of war over Iran’s nuclear program, and asserting that any attack “would be 10 times worse for the interests of the United States” than it would be for Iran. 
The speech made during Friday (February 3) prayers and broadcast live to the nation came amid deepening U.S. concern about a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear enrichment sites by Israel, whose leaders delivered blunt new warnings on February 2 about what they called the need to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli leaders have issued mixed signals regarding their intentions. 
Half of Khamenei’s nearly two-hour speech was delivered in Arabic in a clear nod to the Arab world that they should not produce more oil to fill in the deficit due to stoppage of Iranian oil.  
Meanwhile, Iran has applauded the victory of Islamist groups in elections that followed the toppling of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. (The Islamists recently won parliamentary elections in Kuwait defeating liberal candidates including women.)
The Supreme Leader said the Islamist electoral victories will “weaken and isolate” Israel and represented the failure of U.S. policies. He also issued an unusually blunt warning that Iran would support militant groups opposing Israel, in what some analysts said could be held up by Israel as a justification for war.
Khamenei claimed Iran, could only emerge stronger. “Iran will not withdraw. Then what happens?” asked Khamenei.  “At the end the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited in the Middle East.  The hegemony of Iran will be promoted. In fact, this will be in our service.” He said.
Khamenei answered by repeating Iran’s declarations that it will never roll back its nuclear program, which he had earlier said was now part of the country’s “identity” and a cornerstone of its technological endeavours.   “From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this,” said Khamenei, using the phrase widely used by Iran’s leader to describe Israel.
Meanwhile Iran on February 3 launched an observation satellite into orbit above Earth, its third since 2009, the official IRNA reported.
Western allies are worried the international coalition built to impose tougher sanctions on Iran could be wrecked by an Israeli air raid against its nuclear facilities, which Tehran insists are for peaceful purposes.
If Israel attacks Iran, it would prompt immediate retaliation against Israel by Iran, and if large population centres in Israel were hit, the US could then be drawn into a conflict in defence of its close ally which may lead into a devastating war. Hopefully Israel will not commit the mistake for its own interest.
——————————--------------
The writer is a former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN,  Geneva.

Comment

Barrister Harun ur Rashid

US Defence Secretary Panetta’s view that Israel would attack Iran alone, possibly in April or May, was first reported by the Washington Post, which said he was alarmed at the prospect of a unilateral strike. CNN later said it had confirmed the story via a source within the administration.

In Brussels for a meeting of NATO defence ministers, Panetta declined to discuss in detail the reports, but said: “Israel has indicated that they’re considering this [in public statements] and we have indicated our concerns.”
Amid mounting tensions caused by reports of US Defence Secretary’s view on Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities,  the US and Israel  remain at odds over the question: whether Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities are about to become impregnable or  as Israel puts it “beyond zone of immunity.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, believes Iran’s program is entering an “immunity zone” because Iran’s plan to put much of its uranium enrichment near Qum in an underground facility which would be out of the reach of bunker-bursting bombs.
Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said military action needed to be considered if economic sanctions failed to deter Iran and the window for action was closing fast. But he said there was now widespread global understanding that an attack might be necessary.
Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon said that only the threat of a punishing military strike would compel Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. “The West has the ability to strike but as long as Iran isn’t convinced that there’s a determination to follow through with it, they’ll continue with their manipulations,” he said.
While nuclear experts believe Iran now has enough uranium to fuel four or more nuclear weapons, it would have to enrich it bomb-grade levels (85% enriched uranium: Iran’s enriched uranium is reportedly only 20%) which would take months. Moreover Iran would have to produce a warhead that could fit atop an Iranian missile—a process that could take one to three years.
Several of the Republicans now vying for their party’s 2012 presidential nomination have attacked the Obama administration for not threatening more clearly a strike against Iran should it continue to defy international demands for greater transparency of its nuclear program. They have accused Obama of leaving the tough talk mostly to Israel.
The increasingly murky issue of Iran’s nuclear and missile capability is a prime focus of US foreign policy. President Barack Obama insisted in last month’s State of the Union address that he would “take no options off the table” in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal.
Iran is developing a missile capable of hitting the east coast of the US, according to an Israeli government minister, intensifying western anxiety over the regime’s nuclear ambitions.  But contrary to assertions that the chief threat was to Iran’s near-neighbour, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon, said the missile project was “aimed at America, not us”.
Yaalon made the claim at a public policy conference in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv. He said the missile being built at an Iranian research facility that was damaged by a mysterious explosion in November was a long-range missile prototype with a range of 9,600 kilometres, enough to reach the US.
The missile claim came as the former US defence secretary Robert Gates, now the chancellor of America’s second oldest university, William and Mary, warned about the dangers of a war with Iran, telling CNN that “if Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything in recent history, it is the unpredictability of war and that these things are easier to get into than to get out of”.  
Gates added: “This is, I think, one of the toughest foreign policy problems I have ever seen since entering the government 45 years ago.” 
Washington and the European Union have imposed increasingly tough sanctions on Iran, prompting the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to warn it would close the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane if it was prevented from exporting its crude oil, a move the US would not tolerate.
On February 3, Iran’s supreme leader lashed out at the United States in a defiant speech vowing to retaliate against oil sanctions and threats of war over Iran’s nuclear program, and asserting that any attack “would be 10 times worse for the interests of the United States” than it would be for Iran. 
The speech made during Friday (February 3) prayers and broadcast live to the nation came amid deepening U.S. concern about a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear enrichment sites by Israel, whose leaders delivered blunt new warnings on February 2 about what they called the need to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli leaders have issued mixed signals regarding their intentions. 
Half of Khamenei’s nearly two-hour speech was delivered in Arabic in a clear nod to the Arab world that they should not produce more oil to fill in the deficit due to stoppage of Iranian oil.  
Meanwhile, Iran has applauded the victory of Islamist groups in elections that followed the toppling of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. (The Islamists recently won parliamentary elections in Kuwait defeating liberal candidates including women.)
The Supreme Leader said the Islamist electoral victories will “weaken and isolate” Israel and represented the failure of U.S. policies. He also issued an unusually blunt warning that Iran would support militant groups opposing Israel, in what some analysts said could be held up by Israel as a justification for war.
Khamenei claimed Iran, could only emerge stronger. “Iran will not withdraw. Then what happens?” asked Khamenei.  “At the end the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited in the Middle East.  The hegemony of Iran will be promoted. In fact, this will be in our service.” He said.
Khamenei answered by repeating Iran’s declarations that it will never roll back its nuclear program, which he had earlier said was now part of the country’s “identity” and a cornerstone of its technological endeavours.   “From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this,” said Khamenei, using the phrase widely used by Iran’s leader to describe Israel.
Meanwhile Iran on February 3 launched an observation satellite into orbit above Earth, its third since 2009, the official IRNA reported.
Western allies are worried the international coalition built to impose tougher sanctions on Iran could be wrecked by an Israeli air raid against its nuclear facilities, which Tehran insists are for peaceful purposes.
If Israel attacks Iran, it would prompt immediate retaliation against Israel by Iran, and if large population centres in Israel were hit, the US could then be drawn into a conflict in defence of its close ally which may lead into a devastating war. Hopefully Israel will not commit the mistake for its own interest.
——————————--------------
The writer is a former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN,  Geneva.

Login to post comments


(0)



 VIEW POINT 

ATTACKING D.U. STUDENTS, DETAINING TEACHERS

Action against the perpetrators needed

A.M.K. Chowdhury

 
Action against former Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and former Army Chief Moeen U Ahmed and four others for their involvement in the 2007 Dhaka University violence was approved by parliamentary committee on Education Ministry. 
The four others are: former D. G. F. I. (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence) Directors Maj. Gen. (Retd.) A. T. M. Amin and Brig. (Retd.) Chowdhury Fazlul Bari, etc., as reported in a prominent Bengali daily dated December 21. 2011. Four DU teachers and eight students were arrested following the violence on the campus. Back on 24 August 2007 the BBC reported that the military-backed authorities in Bangladesh detained five senior University professors after anti-government rioting on campuses across the country. One man died in the protests over continuing emergency rule. Clashes began when students in Dhaka had been manhandled by soldiers during a football match. 
Prof. Anwar Hossain, secretary of Dhaka University’s teachers’ association, and Prof. Harun-or Rashid, the dean of the university’s social science faculty, were taken into custody by army-led forces. Two TV stations were warned for criticising the military government. The interim government took power in January, when elections were cancelled following months of violence. 
The violence erupted when a few army men beat up three students and insulted a teacher during a football match on the university gymnasium field. The Dhaka University students took to the streets to protest torture on their fellow students on August 20, 2007 and pitched battles between students and police which continued for the next two days, leaving over 250 people injured, mostly students. The violence also spread through educational institutions in the capital and elsewhere. 
‘Logi-boitha’ culture killed 76
The two-year emergency rule of the CG though brought an immediate halt to the AL leaders and activists’ anarchy which introduced ‘logi-boitha’ culture, killed 76 people and damaged properties both public and private worth millions. Moeen-Fakhruddin regime put many people including 218 high profile politicans and businessmen behind bars in the name of drive against corruption. 
AL President Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, and BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, now the leader of the Opposition-were also detained in special jails at the Jatiya Sangsad complex and a number of cases were filed against them on graft charges. Azam J. Chowdhury, managing director of East Coast Trading (Pvt.) Ltd. filed cases against Sheikh Hasina for taking Tk. 3 crore as bribe. Some people conspired to throw Sheikh Hasina out from politics by implementing ‘Minus Two’ formula. Even Sheikh Hasina alleged in the parliament that she was served slow poison when she had been in special jail. 
Rashed Khan Menon, M.P. Chairman of the Standing Committee said, “The incident had political implications. After the arrest of students and teachers, they were asked whether the AL chief Sheikh Hasina was involved in it. The military officials wanted to know from them how much money India had given, he said.” (Holiday, dated December 23, 2011)
When AL-led grand alliance government was formed all political parties, including the AL had pledged to bring to book the key players of the emergency regime. Almost all quarters continued demanding trial of the perpetrators. Even lawmakers and stalwarts of the ruling AL, including Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir had made statements in parliament demanding, trial of the perpetrators of the emergency regime. But no initiatives have been taken to bring the key persons behind the emergency regime to book as yet, as mentioned in a prominent English daily on January 11 , 2012.
The late Wing Commander (Retd.) Sector Commander Hamidutlah Khan, Bir Protik, alleged that the Sector Commanders’ Forum is by name only. It is running with a fund of Tk. 12 crore invested by the RAW’ of India, as reported in a major Bengali daily on December 11, 2010.
The people earnestly hope the government would take immediate action against Fakhruddin-Moeen regime as per report of the parliamentary standing committee. It is necessary in the interest of the nation.

Comment

A.M.K. Chowdhury

 
Action against former Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and former Army Chief Moeen U Ahmed and four others for their involvement in the 2007 Dhaka University violence was approved by parliamentary committee on Education Ministry. 
The four others are: former D. G. F. I. (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence) Directors Maj. Gen. (Retd.) A. T. M. Amin and Brig. (Retd.) Chowdhury Fazlul Bari, etc., as reported in a prominent Bengali daily dated December 21. 2011. Four DU teachers and eight students were arrested following the violence on the campus. Back on 24 August 2007 the BBC reported that the military-backed authorities in Bangladesh detained five senior University professors after anti-government rioting on campuses across the country. One man died in the protests over continuing emergency rule. Clashes began when students in Dhaka had been manhandled by soldiers during a football match. 
Prof. Anwar Hossain, secretary of Dhaka University’s teachers’ association, and Prof. Harun-or Rashid, the dean of the university’s social science faculty, were taken into custody by army-led forces. Two TV stations were warned for criticising the military government. The interim government took power in January, when elections were cancelled following months of violence. 
The violence erupted when a few army men beat up three students and insulted a teacher during a football match on the university gymnasium field. The Dhaka University students took to the streets to protest torture on their fellow students on August 20, 2007 and pitched battles between students and police which continued for the next two days, leaving over 250 people injured, mostly students. The violence also spread through educational institutions in the capital and elsewhere. 
‘Logi-boitha’ culture killed 76
The two-year emergency rule of the CG though brought an immediate halt to the AL leaders and activists’ anarchy which introduced ‘logi-boitha’ culture, killed 76 people and damaged properties both public and private worth millions. Moeen-Fakhruddin regime put many people including 218 high profile politicans and businessmen behind bars in the name of drive against corruption. 
AL President Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, and BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, now the leader of the Opposition-were also detained in special jails at the Jatiya Sangsad complex and a number of cases were filed against them on graft charges. Azam J. Chowdhury, managing director of East Coast Trading (Pvt.) Ltd. filed cases against Sheikh Hasina for taking Tk. 3 crore as bribe. Some people conspired to throw Sheikh Hasina out from politics by implementing ‘Minus Two’ formula. Even Sheikh Hasina alleged in the parliament that she was served slow poison when she had been in special jail. 
Rashed Khan Menon, M.P. Chairman of the Standing Committee said, “The incident had political implications. After the arrest of students and teachers, they were asked whether the AL chief Sheikh Hasina was involved in it. The military officials wanted to know from them how much money India had given, he said.” (Holiday, dated December 23, 2011)
When AL-led grand alliance government was formed all political parties, including the AL had pledged to bring to book the key players of the emergency regime. Almost all quarters continued demanding trial of the perpetrators. Even lawmakers and stalwarts of the ruling AL, including Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir had made statements in parliament demanding, trial of the perpetrators of the emergency regime. But no initiatives have been taken to bring the key persons behind the emergency regime to book as yet, as mentioned in a prominent English daily on January 11 , 2012.
The late Wing Commander (Retd.) Sector Commander Hamidutlah Khan, Bir Protik, alleged that the Sector Commanders’ Forum is by name only. It is running with a fund of Tk. 12 crore invested by the RAW’ of India, as reported in a major Bengali daily on December 11, 2010.
The people earnestly hope the government would take immediate action against Fakhruddin-Moeen regime as per report of the parliamentary standing committee. It is necessary in the interest of the nation.

Login to post comments


(0)



 LETTERS 

The collapsed coup, confusion

Dear Editor:

Most dailies expressed their views and opinions about the coup that failed or crashed at take off. One daily on February 4 printed quite logical views based on a bdnews24 report which was a fair analysis of the stillborn, premature coup.
One important observation by the writer about the destructive potential of the Hisbut Tahrir’s (HT) cadre is worth of noting. This cadre’s members are committed and principled who contact or utilise frustrated people [a dangerous combination] not finding any useful or worthwhile employment. They are not the usual political ‘chanda-baj’ who become political activists basically looking for making an easy buck. The reaction of our two major political parties to the aborted coup has followed their usual sound track.
Awami League is always leg-pulling, and is always negative. AL sees BNP here, there and everywhere—-possibly even in the fourth dimension! In contrast BNP does not bother to hit the ‘glass wall’! 
Given these contradictions and confusion; the committed HT personnel are merrily making “hay while the sun shines”. Is the country going towards ‘gloom and doom’?
Worried Citizen,
Dhaka.

 
JFK airport TSA staff steals Bangladeshi’s $5000
Dear Editor:
According to New York police, on 3 February a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent stole $5,000 in cash from a Bangladeshi passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the latest in a string of thefts that has embarrassed the agency. A security agent was arrested after footage showed her taking an envelope full of $5,000 cash out of a bag and pocketing it.
TSA agent Alexandra Schmid took the cash from the jacket,   as it went along an X-ray conveyor said Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave. The video showed Ms Schmid wrapping the money in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom. ‘‘In viewing the surveillance video, we observed her removing the currency from the victim’s jacket pocket,” Mr Della Fave said. Police are investigating whether Ms Schmid gave it to another person in the bathroom.
Two other former TSA agents at JFK were sentenced on Jan. 10 to six months in jail and five years’ probation for stealing $40,000 from a piece of luggage in January 2011. The agents, Coumar Persad and Davon Webb, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct.
The front page news item, was published by an English daily on February 4th; which described the whole matter. These days, such crimes are increasing in many airports.  In this case, $5000 was removed from the pocket of a passenger’s jacket put on the scanner. The thief was easily identified and caught; because the scanner recorded her when she was removing the currency notes from the jacket pocket.
On this matter; I remember how it was being done in Germany some years ago; while boarding a flight there. We were handed over blank envelopes, to put our cash, loose change, keys etc, and seal the glued cover. We were asked to put our name on it so that there is no chance of it being exchanged for another’s envelope.
I feel this simple precaution will discourage the security personnel from removing things from passengers top garments; like coats and overcoats which are passed through the scanner.
S.A.Mansoor,
Dhaka.
Email:sam@dhakacom.com

 
Cultural aggression
Dear Editor:
I am a senior citizen of this country of volatile politics and have witnessed the Independence of 1947 and Liberation of 1971. My letter is mainly addressed to Sudipta Debnath and Smita Amrita Debnath, brother and sister, in reference to their letter printed on the 3rd Feb.  First I would like to compliment them for their good English and  also share their anguish and frustration. The patriotic young people like them are our hope for the future.
In Bangladesh we are mainly Bengalees whether Hindu,Muslim,Christian or Budhist; but there are other ethnic groups like Chakma, Garo Marma etc and they are welcomed into our bigger family of Bangladeshis.
The whole subject of  cultural aggression was brought forth by an ex-deplomat Mr Serajul Islam.  There are some truth in his observations and perhaps some exaggeration too. In Bangladesh we are the main custodian of Bengali culture and heritage and we do not have to play the second fiddle in relaton to Kolkata-based intellectuals and artists. Being largely Muslim, our culture would always have Islamic influence and would not condone anything against Islamic values. 
Kabi Guru  Rabindranath is our great poet, phiosopher, short story and lyricist. But some people, in sheer adulation, overdo it almost to the point of worshipping. It is unfortunately true that he had no social contact with the  Muslims which he himself admitted. 
The giant Bengali writers of British period  never had any Muslim character  in their novels except as a lowly cultivator,  a cook or a criminal. Perhaps the Muslims were so backward  that a Babu would not treat him as equal. All these had left a trace of bitterness among older generations.  But the fond memory of our childhood is  still the Hindu Pujas and related festivities and we knew about all  Sashtras including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Finally, my earnest request to the young writers: Sudipta and Smita, please do not despair as time will heal most of the wounds. Only thing is that you join the mainstream in cultural and political life and do not allow yourself to be made into a ‘vote bank’ of any political party.
Sakhawat Hossain,
Gulshan, Dhaka.
Email:hossain.sakhawat6@gmail.com

 
Unfortunate politics
Dear Editor:
At least five people were killed and scores injured in outbreaks of violence as BNP-Jamaat activists clashed with police in Chandpur, Luxmipur and other parts of the country on 29 January 2012, although the opposition agitation in the capital for the day was forestalled by prohibition. 
Over 400 leaders and activists of the BNP-led four-party alliance suffered injuries during the street rioting, in one of the worst serial political troubles in recent times. Of them, many reportedly received bullet wounds. Of the injured, 370 were admitted to different hospitals and clinics across the country. Police arrested around 1234 opposition activists, newspapers reported.
Earlier on 9 January BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from a rally in Chittagong had announced mass procession across the country, including metropolitan cities, for January 29 to press for restoration of the system of pre-poll non-party caretaker government.
Democracy in Bangladesh, as a political institution, is most probably the lowest of the low. Maybe there are some worse cases in the newly formed states in Africa of which this writer is not aware of. In Bangladesh; democracy starts and ends with the national election. Once general elections are over, the political party coming to power as well as the opposition party both behave atrociously and in the most undemocratic manner.
Just imagine what the Member of Parliament of the ruling Awami League did at Rangpur Medical College a few days ago.  Meanwhile, the main Opposition BNP is busy with agitation programmes across the country as per the Constitutional provision of the Republic. Shops and establishments remain shut on hartal days leading to conflict. Given the circumstances, Awami League can stand for “all-out lawlessness”; daily being demonstrated by its ‘student wings’. On the other side, BNP is holding disciplined road marches. 
Peace is something foreign to these two political parties having innumerable ‘activists’; the polite political nomenclature for the rabble and troublemakers at large. One wonders; if ever good sense and maturity in politics will prevail; without stick and stone, setting the tone. To sum up, our brand of politics is a forum for unarmed combat regularly fought over by two gangs of violent street louts. That is the sad reality; like it or not!
Bangladeshi Citizen,
Dhaka.

 
Traffic congestions
Dear Editor:
Traffic congestions are fast deteriorating in Dhaka city, and there are no different opinions on this subject. Recently some other passengers and I could not help, but overhear a conversation between Sir Frank Peters and a prominent local businessman as we shared an elevator ride at the Radisson Hotel.
The businessman had been complaining about the traffic congestion that had made him late. In response Sir Frank looked at him, smiled, and said: “I don’t know why you are complaining. Look on the bright side. Bangladeshis are notorious for being late for most events. Now the traffic jams have given you a legitimate excuse!”
Everyone laughed and were smiling as they left the elevator. 
Zaheen Khan, Banani.
Email: dr.zaheen.khan@bigstring.com>

Comment

Dear Editor:

Most dailies expressed their views and opinions about the coup that failed or crashed at take off. One daily on February 4 printed quite logical views based on a bdnews24 report which was a fair analysis of the stillborn, premature coup.
One important observation by the writer about the destructive potential of the Hisbut Tahrir’s (HT) cadre is worth of noting. This cadre’s members are committed and principled who contact or utilise frustrated people [a dangerous combination] not finding any useful or worthwhile employment. They are not the usual political ‘chanda-baj’ who become political activists basically looking for making an easy buck. The reaction of our two major political parties to the aborted coup has followed their usual sound track.
Awami League is always leg-pulling, and is always negative. AL sees BNP here, there and everywhere—-possibly even in the fourth dimension! In contrast BNP does not bother to hit the ‘glass wall’! 
Given these contradictions and confusion; the committed HT personnel are merrily making “hay while the sun shines”. Is the country going towards ‘gloom and doom’?
Worried Citizen,
Dhaka.

 
JFK airport TSA staff steals Bangladeshi’s $5000
Dear Editor:
According to New York police, on 3 February a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent stole $5,000 in cash from a Bangladeshi passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the latest in a string of thefts that has embarrassed the agency. A security agent was arrested after footage showed her taking an envelope full of $5,000 cash out of a bag and pocketing it.
TSA agent Alexandra Schmid took the cash from the jacket,   as it went along an X-ray conveyor said Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave. The video showed Ms Schmid wrapping the money in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom. ‘‘In viewing the surveillance video, we observed her removing the currency from the victim’s jacket pocket,” Mr Della Fave said. Police are investigating whether Ms Schmid gave it to another person in the bathroom.
Two other former TSA agents at JFK were sentenced on Jan. 10 to six months in jail and five years’ probation for stealing $40,000 from a piece of luggage in January 2011. The agents, Coumar Persad and Davon Webb, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct.
The front page news item, was published by an English daily on February 4th; which described the whole matter. These days, such crimes are increasing in many airports.  In this case, $5000 was removed from the pocket of a passenger’s jacket put on the scanner. The thief was easily identified and caught; because the scanner recorded her when she was removing the currency notes from the jacket pocket.
On this matter; I remember how it was being done in Germany some years ago; while boarding a flight there. We were handed over blank envelopes, to put our cash, loose change, keys etc, and seal the glued cover. We were asked to put our name on it so that there is no chance of it being exchanged for another’s envelope.
I feel this simple precaution will discourage the security personnel from removing things from passengers top garments; like coats and overcoats which are passed through the scanner.
S.A.Mansoor,
Dhaka.
Email:sam@dhakacom.com

 
Cultural aggression
Dear Editor:
I am a senior citizen of this country of volatile politics and have witnessed the Independence of 1947 and Liberation of 1971. My letter is mainly addressed to Sudipta Debnath and Smita Amrita Debnath, brother and sister, in reference to their letter printed on the 3rd Feb.  First I would like to compliment them for their good English and  also share their anguish and frustration. The patriotic young people like them are our hope for the future.
In Bangladesh we are mainly Bengalees whether Hindu,Muslim,Christian or Budhist; but there are other ethnic groups like Chakma, Garo Marma etc and they are welcomed into our bigger family of Bangladeshis.
The whole subject of  cultural aggression was brought forth by an ex-deplomat Mr Serajul Islam.  There are some truth in his observations and perhaps some exaggeration too. In Bangladesh we are the main custodian of Bengali culture and heritage and we do not have to play the second fiddle in relaton to Kolkata-based intellectuals and artists. Being largely Muslim, our culture would always have Islamic influence and would not condone anything against Islamic values. 
Kabi Guru  Rabindranath is our great poet, phiosopher, short story and lyricist. But some people, in sheer adulation, overdo it almost to the point of worshipping. It is unfortunately true that he had no social contact with the  Muslims which he himself admitted. 
The giant Bengali writers of British period  never had any Muslim character  in their novels except as a lowly cultivator,  a cook or a criminal. Perhaps the Muslims were so backward  that a Babu would not treat him as equal. All these had left a trace of bitterness among older generations.  But the fond memory of our childhood is  still the Hindu Pujas and related festivities and we knew about all  Sashtras including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Finally, my earnest request to the young writers: Sudipta and Smita, please do not despair as time will heal most of the wounds. Only thing is that you join the mainstream in cultural and political life and do not allow yourself to be made into a ‘vote bank’ of any political party.
Sakhawat Hossain,
Gulshan, Dhaka.
Email:hossain.sakhawat6@gmail.com

 
Unfortunate politics
Dear Editor:
At least five people were killed and scores injured in outbreaks of violence as BNP-Jamaat activists clashed with police in Chandpur, Luxmipur and other parts of the country on 29 January 2012, although the opposition agitation in the capital for the day was forestalled by prohibition. 
Over 400 leaders and activists of the BNP-led four-party alliance suffered injuries during the street rioting, in one of the worst serial political troubles in recent times. Of them, many reportedly received bullet wounds. Of the injured, 370 were admitted to different hospitals and clinics across the country. Police arrested around 1234 opposition activists, newspapers reported.
Earlier on 9 January BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from a rally in Chittagong had announced mass procession across the country, including metropolitan cities, for January 29 to press for restoration of the system of pre-poll non-party caretaker government.
Democracy in Bangladesh, as a political institution, is most probably the lowest of the low. Maybe there are some worse cases in the newly formed states in Africa of which this writer is not aware of. In Bangladesh; democracy starts and ends with the national election. Once general elections are over, the political party coming to power as well as the opposition party both behave atrociously and in the most undemocratic manner.
Just imagine what the Member of Parliament of the ruling Awami League did at Rangpur Medical College a few days ago.  Meanwhile, the main Opposition BNP is busy with agitation programmes across the country as per the Constitutional provision of the Republic. Shops and establishments remain shut on hartal days leading to conflict. Given the circumstances, Awami League can stand for “all-out lawlessness”; daily being demonstrated by its ‘student wings’. On the other side, BNP is holding disciplined road marches. 
Peace is something foreign to these two political parties having innumerable ‘activists’; the polite political nomenclature for the rabble and troublemakers at large. One wonders; if ever good sense and maturity in politics will prevail; without stick and stone, setting the tone. To sum up, our brand of politics is a forum for unarmed combat regularly fought over by two gangs of violent street louts. That is the sad reality; like it or not!
Bangladeshi Citizen,
Dhaka.

 
Traffic congestions
Dear Editor:
Traffic congestions are fast deteriorating in Dhaka city, and there are no different opinions on this subject. Recently some other passengers and I could not help, but overhear a conversation between Sir Frank Peters and a prominent local businessman as we shared an elevator ride at the Radisson Hotel.
The businessman had been complaining about the traffic congestion that had made him late. In response Sir Frank looked at him, smiled, and said: “I don’t know why you are complaining. Look on the bright side. Bangladeshis are notorious for being late for most events. Now the traffic jams have given you a legitimate excuse!”
Everyone laughed and were smiling as they left the elevator. 
Zaheen Khan, Banani.
Email: dr.zaheen.khan@bigstring.com>

Login to post comments


(0)



EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS
INFOTECH
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
CULTURE
SUPPLEMENT
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