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Journey towards dark tunnel?

Journey towards dark tunnel?

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Political critics say politicians are trying to destine Bangladesh towards the fate of a failed state. Parliament had already been made dysfunctional. Now possibly the judiciary, election commission and even the very governing body of the government have gone into deep coma; which are the primary signs of a failed state. Although the politicians wish to argue that everything was right on track and there was no reason for the global community to put Bangladesh in the list of failed or even rogue states. Before drawing any conclusion to any of the opinions, let us make a simple assessment of today’s prevailing situation in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh set a unique example for the world when the nation amended its Constitution to include a new concept in political theory called Non-party Caretaker Government. The idea was considered appropriate and effective for Bangladesh where the sitting Governments tend to manipulate the system by exercising its executive power. The concept could have been a guideline for all developing or emerging democracies around the world. But, very unfortunately, that was not to be. The fact of the matter is, the mindset of our politicians have not improved or changed in course of time and the political culture has failed to adjust to the new reality of the New World Order.

In recent days, most of the western diplomats in Dhaka are leaving big question marks on the neutrality of the Caretaker government. Chief Advisor of this interim government, who also holds the position of country’s president virtually, emerged as the most powerful dictator having visible inclinations towards a particular political party. According to major political front Bangladesh Awami League, President Iajuddin Ahmed has already lost his minimum credibility to head the neutral caretaker government, who has been continuously serving the purpose of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its radical coalition partners. For of the ten advisors of the present interim government had to resign protesting controversial behavior of the Chief Advisor, while a kind of administrative mess has been witnessed since the interim government took over power during last part of October.

Now let us move our eyes towards judicial system of today’s Bangladesh. Just recently, a writ petition was filed with the High Court demanding investigation into the Islamist militant connection of some judges in different judicial system in the country. The petition was summarily rejected by the higher judicial court for reason unknown.

On the other hand, a group of lawyers belonging to a particular political ideology went into rampage and demonstration right inside the court room of the Chief Justice as well as Attorney General ransacking some other rooms in the court house and setting fire on vehicles. Although sedition charges were brought against the alleged lawyers, the judicial system had to finally bow down to the demand of granting bails, while the law enforcing agencies had to simply remain silent spectator when the alleged people having warrant of arrest openly moved and even participated in political programs, showing no minimum respect to country’s rule of law. Critics say, Bangladesh’s administration turns paralyzed when it is a question of any VIP or important or at least politically affiliated person. The critics say, the conduct of professionals practicing law at the highest judiciary is often unbecoming. They have cut a very sorry figure for themselves by posing like minors and vandalizing the highest court of the country. The Constitution has not given any mandate to any lawyer or any association to interpret it as they wish, but it has so happened to the utter annoyance of the people. Some of these very lawyers who obtained their diploma in UK and prefer to use the prefix ‘Barrister’, have perhaps forgotten what they had learnt in UK or have no training in constitutional law or acting for the vested quarters.
They are supposed to uphold the dignity and sanctity of the highest judiciary under all circumstances and not deprave and misrepresent the course of justice. There are no more any independent minds left in the bar.

The damage that the members of Supreme Court Bar Council has done is irreparable and their unguarded and provocative comments about the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice have encouraged not only general people but also the media to indulge in the undesired discussions on the Supreme Court while it should have been kept beyond political domain.
It is largely understood that the Chief Justice has in him vested an extraordinary power that makes him accountable to no one but his conscience only. We cannot expect the wisdom of Lord Denning or Lionel Murphy from our judges although a few have made their marks but there is no excuse for lawyers to act in an unbecoming manner. The matter demands disciplinary measures but that is again unlikely to happen and it will create a greater instability in the society and once again put the very dignity of the judicial system in
Bangladesh into question.

Finally let us also have a glimpse on the degree of corruption in Bangladesh. According to several reports, in past several years, a large number of Bangladeshi politicians and even some people having close relations with ruling forces minted millions of dollars thus emerging as neo-millionaires in one of the poorest nations in the world. Although a so-called independent anti corruption commission was set a couple of years back, possibly corruption is yet the safest avenue in Bangladesh, which very unfortunately lacks proper attention of either the politicians or country’s bureaucracy for well understood reason. And the much known culture of using muscle power in politics is rather taking an institutional shape, with new odors of including Islamist militants in politics. Just recently, Bangladesh Awami League decided to nominate an infamous Mufti, who has proven track record of Al Qaeda connections, while Bangladesh Nationalist Party is going to nominate a notorious terrorist kingpin in the next general election. In 1971 Bangladesh was born as a secular state, while the politicians are gradually pushing the fate of the country towards a new avenue of Taliban type regime.

Posted on 19 Dec 2006 by Root

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