When politicians fail, political system gets dead and rotten within, and then starts the partying of vultures. That is what happening in Bangladesh now. Pugnacious politicians made democratic governance dysfunctional. They have made Bangladesh the most corrupt country in global context. They have augmented ‘Caretaker Government’ proviso in the constitution highlighting politicians’ inability or unwillingness to rotate power among political parties responding to people’s choice. Above events constitute a manifesto of doomed politics and politicians are being squarely blamed for all these. Who will rescue the nation from this insanity and chaos? The saviour is very familiar to us; military. Our holy military will suddenly appear from behind the bush to rescue our people and our nation from political Hannibal and cancerous corruption. But, when we analyze the root cause of failures of our politicians, then this sweet singing cockatoos turns out to be a stinging vulture in guise. Political system in our country; is it supposed to have inherent suicidal tendency? Or, euthanasia drug is always externally induced to force it to die? And then the vultures swoop in to feast on the carcass of politics. As opposed to so-painted criminal politicians, how holy and clean are our military Generals morally, financially and politically? Our defaced politicians of the pro-liberation camp, the targeted victims of every martial law stampede, so far has failed to raise this very vital issue leaving this organized thugs in a vantage position with a ‘sanctified basil leaf’ image. But the issue has surprisingly popped up in public radar this time.
Mid-August 1975, politics of the nascent country experienced a seismic shift. That was the true and tragic end of the sojourn of democracy in Bangladesh. Bangladesh was forced to bypass 1971 and was surgically re-connected with the immoral martial law legacy of Pakistan. General Zia, the chief architect of 75 tragedy and currently national hero, as defined by the present Junta, pledged to bring about prosperity, true democracy and to make politics difficult for politicians. Since then, politics, democracy, economics, commerce, sociology, theology, culture, history; truly, every component of the Republic of Bangladesh is being controlled by the Oligarchs sitting in the cantonment. Red to kill Red. A mediocre Sector commander of our liberation war, General Zia, whose message from Kalurghat Radio Station on March 27, 1971 added enormous impetus to our liberation struggle in those early difficult days, got swayed by Saudi-American temptation, agreed to take the charge of abattoir to butcher the genesis of Bangladesh, to wipe out freedom fighters and to shred the constitution written by the blood of millions. He went on to eliminate four foundation pillar of the state; democracy, secularism, Bangalee nationalism and socialism. He, breaching constitution, reinstated Jammat-E-Islami and thus cultivated and nurtured poison ivy of faith based politics in the political landscape of Bangladesh. BNP is his brainchild incubated in the Cantonment. It is more of an anti-thesis of politics, fascist platform with eclectic collection of left-right politicians, derelict freedom fighters, anti-71 intellectuals, former and in-service army officers and bureaucrats. Zia injected enormous amount of money, received from the Middle East, in our political market and bartered loyalty of mostly Bhashani followers and rightist pro-Pakistani politicians for money. Thus very skilfully Zia masterminded confrontational politics between two perpetually opposed ideological camps of the war; one clinging to the spirit of our political legacy emanating from our liberation war, and the other is the physical and spiritual resurrection of the defeated forces of 1971, being mentored by Pakistan-Saudi-USA nexus. Political travail has been continuing ever since.
The entry of General Ershad into our national politics was creepy, clownish and surreptitious as opposed to Zia’s, which was marred by revengeful bloodshed. Like his guru General Zia, Ershad also initially reiterated to the nation his nil ambition in politics. He scripted his agenda to rid Bangladesh of corruption, to correct democratic institutions, to utilize army in a more meaningful way for national reconstruction. Most of the Maoist politicians like Toaha, Enayetullah, political scientists like ASM Rab and Zalil, intellectuals like Dr. Abu Mahmud of Dhaka University invented virtues in Ershad’s paradigm and extended tacit support to the Junta. Ershad, a debauch debonair in personal life, validated Islamic politics in the constitution and blanketed whole nation with corruption and deception. Ershad patented a unique elixir of politics with the ingredients of power, religion, business, literature and romance, which kept him virile to rule the country.
General Moeen, apparently next martial President in the line, is not as much clean and modest as his predecessor Generals used to look like in first year of their ascension to power. General Zia has exited leaving behind nearly nothing in material except his nymphet woman and two star sons imbued by his ideology. If you remember the modest beginning of the career of General Ershad as a martial law junta riding bike to office. The end of his career is another history though. General Moeen’s debut into politics is truly identical to his predecessors; self-appointed head of national crisis management team, lots of stunts and demagogy on democracy, politics and annihilation of corruption and politics. But already rumour is spreading like fire; he has acquired using his clout a loan of about Taka 10 million from Trust Bank. He has unlawfully appointed his brother Iqbal as MD of the same bank while he is the Chairman. He is steering the furtive operation of multi million dollar business and transaction of Army without any credible check and balance.
The failure of our politicians is that inherited from our patriarch politician Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, to identify and to eliminate national villains and enemies. Without removing poison teeth petting a Cobra is suicidal, our politicians recurrently failed to realise that. When our army was easily infiltrated and was being exorcised by Paki martial spirit through repatriated army officers, the then Government of Bangabandhu knew it. Bangabandhu,s conversation with journalist-politician Nirmal Sen (Mr. Sen disclosed it to the writer) on their way back to Dhaka attending passing out parade at Comilla Cantonment clearly hinted that Bangabandhu knew about the undercurrent and percolation within our nascent army. Then why he failed to act immediately? Was it his false confidence, his magnanimity, his ego or his miscalculation? The result brought a catastrophic end of short political life of independent Bangladesh and gave our turn-coat army a permanent handle to control our politics keeping democracy and democratic forces chronically hostage. In 1995 through another engineered election and with a futuristic long term plan, Sheikh Hasina was given a slim victory to form a minority government in alliance with General Ershad, thus burying the massive crimes and corruption, our army individuals and the organization have committed till the fall of Ershad. Sheikh Hasina, hanging at the edge of power, had very little choice other than courting this army and their cohorts in bureaucracy, in judiciary, in police, in religious institutions (Qari Obaed and like), in fact in every layer of the state. The Hasina Government even failed to see, in long five years in power, the normal passage of judicial system and execution of the court verdict against the killers of her own father, mother and all brothers. Nothing more is required to substantiate how little power Sheikh Hasina or her government could really wield. During Sheikh Hasina’s rule, I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of army officers and non-commissioned individuals who were deployed abroad on a UN peace mission. It is tragic, but true, I did not find a single officer or a Sipoy who has supported directly, indirectly or even mutely Sheikh Hasina. Rather, often, Hasina and even Mujib used to be blasted mercilessly in the discussions in loud and bitter words. The hatred was unanimous but causes were diverse, often vague and sometimes beneath taste – from Indian agent to ugly looking compared to her rival political figure. I remember spending sleepless nights discussing at length politics with our ex-chief of Army General Haroon, BP (then a Colonel on a foreign assignment). I was often frustrated as we had never concurrence of opinion, not even on liberation war. Now, would you still blame Hasina for not doing enough to reinstate and revitalise institutions and spirit of our liberation war while she was in power! Yet I still find it a very relevant debate, whether it was worth for Hasina staying in power for five years with eyes blindfolded, hands tied and face muzzled. Probably in 1999, I met AL leader Dr. Mustafa Jalal Mahiuddin in Mina, Saudi Arabia while performing Haj pilgrimage. Time and place were very much inappropriate though, but interest of both of us soon dragged us into brief political discussions. In reply to this question, the plain truths in his answer sounded very much logical to me. But, soon after, again the role of AL as an opposition political party did not support the idea that their short honeymoon in power and long experience of arduous and tragic political journey have taught them to develop any strategy to identify and to wage popular fight against enemy. None other than AL knows better the killer of democracy, killer of the spirit of liberation war, killer of our national history. Yet instead of writing obituary they always eulogise the direct culprits. In a country where self-confessed killers of minor child, pregnant woman and handicapped citizen can not be tried and executed in three decades, there, fear factors may brutally overpower national obligations of politicians. Therefore, while trumpeting the legendary corruption of Zia family and of erstwhile BNP government, Hasina, or her party, leave alone our left pundits, ever failed to pronounce the names like General ZI Khan, General Rezakul Haider or the octopus like DGFI who were the main architects and sole source of unlimited power which converted these individuals into Frankensteins of corruption. Ironically, this army, which invented and publicly spread the myth of modesty of General Zia, illegally allowed and protected Zia’s family to exercise political and financial activities living in the opulence of the palace in the cantonment. And, after twenty five years, the Zia family has been sadly abandoned in the dungeon, this time, publicly spreading partial legend of corruption (so far the wealth of mythical proportion of Tareq, Eskander and Shamim in Canada in Prairie and Toronto did not blip the radar of DUDAK) because of the political need of the same army.
Good indications for Zia family against all odds; Eskander fled Bangladesh along with family in broad day light, Zia is still revered as father of martial law in Bangladesh and as national hero, under the shroud of historical fallacies, at par Bangabandhu. Therefore a slight change in the direction of political wind and angles of stars will soon gracefully bring back all power and fortunes that Zia family has lost temporarily under the influence of orbiting Saturn. Democracy and democratic political forces will be the real casualties. Left puritans will certainly face extinction. And then, never-ending partying and feasting of vultures will begin.