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Elections In Bangladesh

| by Ali Sukhanver

( January 6 , 2014- Islamabad – Sri Lanka Guardian) More than 20 people died and more than 200 poling stations burnt to ashes; that is what happened there in Bangladesh on the Election Day. The opposition party BNP remained all aloof from the election process Today Bangladesh is passing through the ever worst phase of its history. The recent elections have changed the peaceful scenario of this heaven-like country into a blazing inferno.

Mahfuz Sadique of BBC News, Dhaka reported on the 5th of January, ‘The trickle of voters never turned into the long queues Bangladeshi elections are known for. Voters who did turn up had no real choice, as the opposition was not taking part. There was extra security at the few constituencies in Dhaka where voting did take place. But in more remote areas the fear of attacks left voters wary.’ This ‘whole-sale’ public indifference to the election process was in fact the result of a nationwide 48-hour strike urged by Mrs. Khaleda Zia, the leader of the Bangladesh National Party. The complete boycott of these elections at the call of the BNP proves in a very strong way that the people of Bangladesh completely disagree with the partial political notion of the ruling party Awami League and are totally dissatisfied with the working strategy of the government of Sheikh Hasina and they want to get rid of it as soon as possible. There would be certainly so many other factors which made the democratically elected government of Awami League so unpopular throughout Bangladesh but amongst all these factors the most important one is surely Awami Leagues’ policy of victimization of the Islamist political parties particularly the Jamaat-e-Islami. It was a grave misconception of the Awami League that it would succeed in winning the sympathies of the common voters in the name of hatred against Pakistan by hanging Mullah Abdul Qadir but the game turned upside down. The Bangladeshi people didn’t accept Mullah Abdul Qadir as a traitor or a conspirator. He had been very much popular and widely loved and respected throughout his life and his judicial murder made him more popular among his people. Abdul Qadir Mullah was blamed of opposing the Bangladesh Movement in 1971 and supporting the Pakistani point of view but the whole of Bangladeshi nation categorically rejected the allegations leveled against him.

It is a common feeling that Sheikh Hasina did this injustice to Mullah Abdul Qadir by planning his judicial murder just to please India but very unfortunate for Sheikh Hasina that her dreamed of desired political scenario could not be materialized. Things rapidly started changing against her will particularly after the DGMOs meeting of Pakistan and India during the last week of December. The meeting between the DGMOs was a proof that India and Pakistan have an earnest desire to settle down their conflicting issues in the larger interest of the two nations. The long and short of this story is that Hasina’s plan of playing the Pakistan Card in elections met a tragically catastrophic end. It is a universally admitted fact that friendly relations among the neighbouring countries promote peace and prosperity in the region and the benefit of the situation certainly goes to the common people. But sometimes, there are a few stubborn ones who never realize the importance of regional peace and tranquility. Hasina Sheikh is also one of such examples. She has never realized that peace and friendship between the two Muslim countries would be beneficial not only for the whole of the Muslim Ummah but also it would lead the two countries to a realm of economic strength and prosperity.

Sheikh Hasina has always been denying a fact that Pakistan is not an enemy of Bangladesh. Pakistani businessmen have invested billions of Dollars in Bangladesh just to replenish old relations with their Bangladeshi brethren. It is in the larger interest of all Pakistanis that Bangladesh must flourish in all economic fields to acquire socio-political stability. But the Awami League did not honour the good-will gestures shown by the Pakistani investors and tried to follow the Indian BJP model by raising ‘Hate Pakistan’ slogan in its election campaign. Whatever would be the Election results, it is very much clear that after these elections the situation in the Bangladesh would get tenser and more stressed and surely countless other innocents would be deprived of their lives. If the Awami League continues its anti Pakistan policies, whether it wins or loses the elections, the Pakistani investors would think of withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh. In that case the economy of Bangladesh will have to face a serious setback. Moreover the EU markets have recently agreed to offer economic concessions to Pakistani products in the form of GSP Plus. In such a situation the Pakistani investors would prefer to invest in the EU market where they would be provided an atmosphere very much safe and secure and above all very much friendly. It is a high time for the leaders of the Awami League to review their political approach which is fruitful neither for their party nor for their motherland.