Sheikh Hasina’s Landslide Victory


by Sid (Faisal)
30th December, 2008 at 2:53 pm    

Bangladesh went to national elections yesterday and the result is stupendous and joyful.

The Awami League led ‘Grand Alliance’ has swept back into power in a stunning landslide victory. The elections were conducted peacefully, with massive turnouts with more young people and women voting in unprecedented numbers. This is a massive vote of confidence for secularism, patriotism without nationalism and a rejection of Islamist religious supremacism.

Bangladesh is set for a government with the biggest parliamentary majority since 1973, following Monday’s general elections designed to bring an end to two years of military-backed rule.

In an election marked by high turnout and few incidents, the centre-left Awami League – headed by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina – and its allies pulled off a stunning victory, winning a two-thirds majority in the single-chamber national assembly.

Says Mahfuz Anam, editor of the Daily Star newspaper:

“First-time voters made up nearly a third of the total, and these young voters rejected the BNP’s negative campaign based on religion and fear.”

The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) under Begum Khaleda Zia, has been consigned to the political wilderness, along with its negative campaign of religious fear mongering (“Vote for BNP and save Islam”).

The biggest losers has been the Jamaat-e-Islam and its brand of clerical fascism. If this election result tells us anything, it shows Bangladeshi’s rejection of Islamist radicalism and hopefully putting an end to the growth of Islamist politics into the public sphere, which has resulted in the targetting of artists, women’s rights and religious and ethnic minorites. But with more women turning out to vote than men, I am not surprised.

Fundamentalist Jamat-e-Islami (JI), a crucial ally of former premier Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led four-party alliance, on Tuesday suffered a drubbing with all party stalwarts biting the dust in the general elections.

JI, which opposed the Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war and sided with the Pakistani troops, won only two seats in the 300-member parliament compared to 20 in the last polls in 2001, while its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid conceded defeat.

“The anti-liberation forces have been defeated once again, this time through peoples’ verdict,” the Daily Star commented in a report titled ‘Jamaat in jeopardy’.

“While it is a sweet revenge for Bangladeshis against the war criminals, the verdict will make stronger the demand for their trial.”

Most political analysts attributed JI’s debacle on the intensified campaign for the trial of 1971 war criminals’ launched by the Sector Commanders Forum, a grouping of veterans of the Liberation War, backed by India, as the country celebrated its 37th victory anniversary ahead of the polls on December 16.

Analysts said the campaign particularly influenced the young voters, 33 per cent of whom voting for the first time, as they spread the campaign for the trial of 1971 war criminals through cell phone messages and internets.

Nizami and Mojahid led the so-called elite Al-Badr forces in 1971 while the Gestapo like outfit is widely believed to have killed frontline intellectuals after abducting them in an effort to cripple the emerging nation intellectually just two days ahead of their defeat on December 16 in 1971.

What would I like Sheikh Hasina to do now:

  • Reinstate the secular mandate back into the Constitution of Bangladesh
  • Take the former war-criminals (including politicians Nizami and Mojahid amongst others) to the ICC to face a tribunal for Crimes Against Humanity and end this chapter that has divided the people and its culture once and for all
  • End the culture of political nepotism and bring in fresh young blood into the party structure

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  1. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    Congratulations to India for succesful elections in its largest province

  2. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:46 pm  

    Thanks blah/Munir/habsara/zionazi/appalled.
    I’m so proud muslim-majority Bangladesh has got Islamist fucktards like you on the run.

  3. Golam Murtaza — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:59 pm  

    What’s wrong ‘blah’? (appropriate name you’ve chosen for yourself by the way). Still can’t get over losing the war in ’71? Hey, if people like you had bothered to treat the Bengali majority like human beings you might have got enough popular support to defeat India. But you didn’t. Hard luck old chap.

  4. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

    The funny thing is you think Im joking. Why arent you proud of being ruled by India? Its proof of your secular credentials.

    Golam Murtaza

    “What’s wrong ‘blah’? (appropriate name you’ve chosen for yourself by the way). Still can’t get over losing the war in ‘71? ”

    Yes I cant. I lay awake every night weeping at the loss . I am unable to eat or drink. Who wouldnt be upset at losing such an economic powerhouse?

    The funny thing is Im not Pakistani or Bengali. I agree with you totally about the treatment of Bengalis in East pakistan and the genocide commited by Pakistan which should be punished. I dont blame the Bengalis for seeking Hindupendence sorry Independence.

    I just enjoy annoying nationalists – they are such a bunch of pr*cks.

    Especially when they dont even live in Bangladesh/Pakistan/India (delete as appropriate) and would cut their wrists rather than go and live there.

  5. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    I just enjoy annoying nationalists – they are such a bunch of pr*cks.

    I agree, but the really funny and somewhat worrying thing was prior to these elections in Bangladesh, the Islamists joined forces with the right-wing nationalists to try and usurp the Bengali identity and replace it with one which wears Arabic fancy dress. You would have loved them.

    Especially when they dont even live in Bangladesh/Pakistan/India (delete as appropriate) and would cut their wrists rather than go and live there.

    Oh you mean like Islamists like you who live and work here, benefit from low interest rates (riba), benefit from life in a pluralist, liberal democracy but loudly advocate the splendours of the Khaleefah. But we know that you know that *you* woudl much rather live here than in the Middle East or some other sharia-only janna’ on earth.

    Who do you think you’re fooling?

  6. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:38 pm  

    The funny thing is you think Im joking. Why arent you proud of being ruled by India? Its proof of your secular credentials.

    Proof of the secular credentials of 150+ million Bangladeshis, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian amongst others.

    This election tells us that a Muslim majority country *can* operate as a democracy and within a secular constitution. A secular constitution which separates religion from state and regards all religions with parity, but does not allow any one religion to gain priority over other religions.

  7. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:43 pm  

    Sid

    “I agree, but he funny thing was prior to these elections in Bangladesh, the Islamists joined forces with the right-wing nationalists to try and usurp the Bengali identity and replace it with one which wears Arabic fancy dress. You would have loved them.”

    Wow what a nasty little racist you are. Since when is anti-Arab racism OK by pickled politics bloggers?

    The funny thing is people in these countries will condemn those who wear religious clothes of “seeking to usurp Bengali identity ” (thats a pretty extreme nationalistic statement from a non nationalist Sid) or “acting like an Arab” while speaking English , wearing western clothes (which somehow dont threaten Bengali identity) and thinking like an English person. Such is the legacy of colonialism. Arabs as Muslims have much in common with other Muslim cultures and are far closer. Perhaps youve heard of an Arab called Shah
    Jalal or the lungi brought by Arabs from Yemen.

    The young Bengalis arent sitting around reading Tagore but consuming and aping US culture. This though isnt a threat to Bengali identity. LOL.

    “but loudly advocate the splendours of the Khaleefah.”

    ROFL -I dont know anyone who advocates “the splendours of the Khaleefah”.

    ” But we know that you know that *you* woudl much rather live here than in the Middle East or some other sharia-only janna’ on earth.”

    No such place exists. And since Im a British citizen and English speaking why would I want to live there?
    But keep at it Sid- your attacks on Islamists will help create a climate where we all may be forced to look for countries outside Britain to live in.

  8. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

    Wow what a nasty little racist you are. Since when is anti-Arab racism OK by pickled politics bloggers?

    Please explain how stating Arabic “fancy dress” is racist when you haven’t even seen the fancy dress in question?

    And since when do you think I will be lectured on what is racist and isn’t from a disgusting race-hate merchant who has a trail of explicit hate-filled anti-semitic and anti-Hindu racist comments on dozens of posts?

    But keep at it Sid- your attacks on Islamists will help create a climate where we all may be forced to look for countries outside Britain to live in.

    haha. Well, it might spare you the sin of incurring all the benefits of riba, you know, interest…usury?

    But I doubt you will find a Muslim country that doesn’t. And in any case, I even doubt you miserable Islamists give a toss about Quranic laws which your “scholars” conveniently decide are applicable or not, but are busy calling everyone else a munafiq or a murtad.

  9. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

    The funny thing is people in these countries will condemn those who wear religious clothes of “seeking to usurp Bengali identity ” (thats a pretty extreme nationalistic statement from a non nationalist Sid) or “acting like an Arab” while speaking English , wearing western clothes (which somehow dont threaten Bengali identity) and thinking like an English person. Such is the legacy of colonialism.

    Nope, people in these countries will condemn videos of male singers singing to male-only audiences in cod-Mujahideen attire singing songs in Bengali calling for the death of Hindus and non-Muslims. Bangladesh rejected that kind of stuff outright, 120 million of them, and said a big collective fuck off to Islamist cretins like you, sunshine.

    was-salam

  10. AsifB — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:09 pm  

    Sid – you undermine the joyful pictures of a high free turnout you referred to, by gloating in @2.

    Magnaminity is something that Hasina and AL will have to demonstrate if Bangladesh is going to make any headway at your bullet point 3 of getting rid of nepotism.

    I’m glad that the 1971 sector commanders campaign and civil society have reached so many voters who are too young to remember 1980, let alone the war – and reducing Jammat seats from 17 to just 2 is a good start. So I do share some of your joy – but that’s no reason to stop worrying that the new dynastic boss will not try and nuture son number 1, aka Joy…

    The past record of both family dynasties is not healthy – and face facts, the AL has allied electorally with Jammat in the past so is little purer than BNP on that matter = plus when last in power Hasina showed no interest in pusuing war crime tribunals let alone reverting to the 1972 constitution. Hasina did put (welcome) effort in to legal moves relating to the coup killings of her father and other AL leaders from 1975, but whether she can face confronting 1971 as an issue when it was in part her father Sheikh Mujib who tried to bury it with his amnesty is doubtful. I’ve no doubt there is legal and moral justification for holding trials (or failing that a Truth Commission) but it needs political will at the top – which given all the other issues the next government is going to face, may be expended in other ways.

    As for the result being stupendous,I’m not so sure – the AL was soundly tactically voted out in 2001 remember but do agree the scale of yesterdays defeat for the BNP is indeed bigger ; even allowing for the throw out the incumbent stance the Bangladeshi electorate took the last three times it had a chance, the result clearly makes BNP look more the one family party and start to make AL look more ‘the natural party of government’

    But all this is only relative and may be temporary; I will be proud if the new government does prioritise reinstating secularism and socialism into the constitution, but neither expect it to be the top priority nor do I think it is necessarily the most important practical priority – there’s a lot more to a safe secular society and the pursuit of human rights and happiness , than just what’s written in the Constitution.

    To take your gloating about Jammat for instance, Jammat don’t get that many votes in Pakistan either, but this hasn’t prevented Zia’s Hudood ordinances de facto staying on the books and the so called Peoples Party failing to prevent religiously sanctioned punishments. So it’s not what said inthe constitution but how its implemented, The Bangladesh judicairy has in point of fact been relatively robust at upholding secularism even though it was taken out of the constitution – aside from catogerically coming down against informal village forms of justice (which you would expect any system to do) I cna think of at least two cases where the Bangladesh Supreme Court would give the Daily Mail apoplexy with its liberalism. (Protecting sex workers from vigilante action under the concept of a constittuional right to livelihood for instance.)

    Or to look at it another way, in India, where a majority community religious fundamentalist party did make its way into national government (and has in places like Gujerat got away with murder), the basic rule of law and expectation of secularism most Indians want and need was never seriously under threat and the BJP has had to settle for symbolic gestures like naming Bombay Mumbai etc.

    So to sum up, don’t gloat too much, tommorrow’s another day and Bangladesh (and India, Pakistan et al) needs all the clear heads of good will it can muster

  11. Rayyan — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:23 pm  

    I just hope that the ostensibly free way in which the elections were held, and the large turnout, signal at least some kind of end to the endemic corruption that crippled the Bangladeshi political system two years ago, and has been an unfortunate feature of it for decades. There was a time when it didn’t make too much of a difference for most people which major party won as both were run by corrupt crooks – perhaps it will be up to an independent judiciary to ensure the rule of law.

    I think the results show a similar ideological shift away from such parties as the JI as was seen in provincial assembly elections in Pakistan earlier this year in regions like the NWFP.

    What are the RAB doing these days?

  12. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:41 pm  

    AsifB, I agree with you. But for today at least, I’ll be celebrating. :)

  13. Rumbold — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:36 pm  

    Sid:

    Does Bangladesh now have a credible parliamentary opposition?

  14. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 9:59 pm  

    Does Bangladesh now have a credible parliamentary opposition?

    Rumbold,

    Hasina’s alliance won 261 out of the 300 parliamentary seats. Zia’s alliance won 30, while independent candidates and the smaller Liberal Democratic Party took four.

    Whether the oppostion are going to accept these margins remains to be seen. But since the elections were widely regarded as free and without irregularities, there is little that Begum Zia can do other than swallow hard and erm, accept the results. Unless she wants to boycott herself into irrelevence.

  15. Sid — on 30th December, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

    To take your gloating about Jammat for instance, Jammat don’t get that many votes in Pakistan either, but this hasn’t prevented Zia’s Hudood ordinances de facto staying on the books and the so called Peoples Party failing to prevent religiously sanctioned punishments. So it’s not what said inthe constitution but how its implemented, The Bangladesh judicairy has in point of fact been relatively robust at upholding secularism even though it was taken out of the constitution – aside from catogerically coming down against informal village forms of justice (which you would expect any system to do) I cna think of at least two cases where the Bangladesh Supreme Court would give the Daily Mail apoplexy with its liberalism. (Protecting sex workers from vigilante action under the concept of a constittuional right to livelihood for instance.)

    General Zia got the Hudood laws onto the statute books into Pakistan and they are still on there because there has obviously been no appetite to have them removed either by the elected governments nor by the Musharraf dictatorship.

    On the other hand, there will be a fair amount of pressure to have the secular mandates reinstated into the constitution and hopefully, the new government will be supportive.

    I’m almost certain that the Jamaati plans to install a Blasphemy law will die away very quickly.

  16. fug — on 31st December, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    big up to everybody who voted ‘none of the above’, who didnt get a jinn into parliament but registered there noncaptivity in their hundreds of thousands.

    http://fugstar.blogspot.com/2008/12/will-last-person-out-of-bangladesh.html

  17. Sunny — on 31st December, 2008 at 1:39 am  

    blah the troll should just be deleted…

    well done to Bangladesh for this victory. The fact that fug is annoyed is even more joy!

  18. fug — on 31st December, 2008 at 2:09 am  

    yet happy that people are happy if that makes sense to you.

  19. sonia — on 31st December, 2008 at 2:26 am  

    a good year for elections it’s been.

    Thank goodness for the end of the ‘military-backed’ caretaker government and hello to democracy. the people have spoken – everyone was fed up. and its interesting to read about the first time voters and young people- yes religion and fear do not appeal to young voters, definitely not. let’s hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. (and a lifting of those rubbish curfews on New Year’s Eve)

    as Sid says, let’s hope we can look forward and not to the past.

    p.s. i’m really glad Jamaat haven’t got any seats in Parliament.

    Shocking lack of coverage in the press generally…

    p.s. india’s largest province? :-) you mean in no’s or sth..hah hah. what a silly attempt at winding people up, it would work so much more if you’d said Pakistan or something.

    and it would be nice if we didn’t have to be the most corrupt country Every year on transparency international’s list!!

  20. Ellis — on 31st December, 2008 at 3:51 pm  

    as a friend used to say, “first learn to play before coming to the stadium” – blah, i take it you are not familiar with the terrain in bangladesh?

  21. Dalman — on 1st January, 2009 at 3:02 pm  

    The people have spoken, and we all anticipate change. But will it be more of the same? Sid will be looking for the traditional demands made by the Awami tribe. The very same tribe that:

    * (like the BNP that came before them) presided over rampant corruption. (Until very recently, both Hasina and Khaleda were arrested on corruption charges)

    * unleashed many lethal lynch mobs in opposition and when in power.

    * Like the BNP, has a tendancy to be authoritarian. Lets not forget the fact that after admirably leading country to independence, the Party moved to ban opposition parties and went after foes with particular ruthlessness in the 1970s. When it next came to power in the 1990s, AL leaders happily sought fiefdoms by all means nessecary. Let us not forget either the former Awami League mobster Joynul Hazari http://ww.thedailystar.net/2003/08/13/d3081301077.htm

    * The key alliance partner of the Awami League was former dictator General Ershad, who lorded over the aid sent to the country and siphoned off millions during the 1980s

    The key issue for the rest of Bangladesh who is not in the Awami tribe is this. Will the Awami League use its massive majority to bring about positive change (as Hasina alluded to) and reach across the aisle to heal divisions in the country? Bangladeshi is at once religious and secular, and all parties have tried to appeal to this Bangladeshi fusion.

    Or will the Awami League abuse its majority to continue the visious cycle of reprisals, revenge and corruption thats Bangladeshis are now accustomed to. If that is the case, expect an Uzbek-style authoritarian state where opression is wrapped up in the cuddly garb of tackling Islamist terrorism, which will mean the good readers of Pickled Politics will be able to sleep peacefully in their beds at night.

  22. Ashik — on 1st January, 2009 at 9:58 pm  

    There is little reason for celebration at the Awami League Victory, unless one is an Awami League supporter and member of a UK-front organisation for the party (aka ‘human rights’ group Drishtipat) as Sid is. Why a Brit Cit needs to advocate for a third world political party in the polarised political arena of Bangladesh is beyond me.

    It is beyond pathetic to pretend to care for human rights when a group like Sid’s Drishtipat UK is partisan, they do damage to genuine Human Rights work in Bangladesh. The head of Drishtipat Asif Saleh was basically celebrating the Awami League victory on CiF whilst forgetting that NGO’s and ‘human rights advocates’ need to be seen to be neutral in politics.

    Bangladesh has been alternately ruled by two criminal, corrupt and dynastic feudal money-making enterprises called the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party who masquarade as political party’s. They are heavy on petty personalised feuding, outdated rhetoric, and looting the treasury and light on policies and action to alleviate the country’s many pressing problems eg. endemic poverty and challenges bought by climate change.

    The Awami League does not stand for secularism or patriotism just as the BNP does not stand for nationalism or Islam. I am surprised that Pickled Politics has permitted such a blatant and partisan article on Bangladesh to be posted. Especially one which omits to mention many of the points AsifB has mentioned regarding the previous Awami League regimes which have disappointed with corrupt and nepotistic rule.

    In fact Sid is being downright dishonest and has failed to disclose in his article that the ‘Grand Alliance’ includes previous Dictator General. Ershad’s Jathio Party and that this previous despot is now in the running to become President! So much for Sid’s party’s opposition to military despots and love of democracy, eh!!!

    Bangladeshi party politics is soooo partisan and polarised that Sid’s article itself and the responses show perfectly there is no middleground in Bangladeshi politics, – whether party’s use Islam or secularism to hide their naked greed and lust for power rather than any spirit of public service as we may expect to see in politicians in the UK.

    This election will lead to more of the same for moat Bangladeshi people.

  23. Ashik — on 1st January, 2009 at 10:25 pm  

    Some context regarding reasons for high turnouts for Bangladeshi elections:

    While visiting my nanabari (maternal grandparents ancestral village) in Greater Sylhet three years ago I walked past a grand looking building sadly abandoned. Upon enquiry I was told that this was the local clinic and that the ruling BNP alliance had shut it down as punishment for the region voting for the Awami League at the last election in 2001 where the BNP alliance crushed the Awami League just as the latter has done.

    Given the above it is reasonable to see motives for supporting one or the other party are often not about high-minded ideology but about local patronage exercised by either party machinary whose minions have infected every strata of society. No other party except ironically perhaps the Islamist party’s can exist in Bangladesh, as shown by Nobel Laureate Dr. Yunus’s aboted efforts to create an alternative party in Bangladesh due to AL/BNP reaction.

  24. Ashik — on 1st January, 2009 at 10:32 pm  

    Non-Bengalis who know little about Bangladesh would do well not to invest too much into this election and not to picture black and white situations between Secularism and nationalism and Islamism which don’t exist in reality on the ground in Bangladesh.

    The fact is that what Sid thinks of as secularism isn’t necessatrily what the average Bangladeshi thinks of as secularism. The AL will not dare remove Islam from the constitution just as it didn’t try it back in 1995 when last in power. Even most Awami League grassroots support wouldn’t support this move since by Western standards even AL’s Bangladesh-residing ‘secular and liberal’ supporters would be classed social conservates with a ‘capital C’. Bangladeshi Secularism essentially means no systematic application of Islamic laws and Pro-Western foreign policies in Bangladesh but a general accommodation to some Islamic customs and identity (eg. both lady leaders visit Islamic shrines and appear pious before elections and both party’s will not repeal or compensate Hindus for the Vested Property Act which saw Hindus lose much property).

    As for trial of War Criminals, this is just election rhetoric by the woman (Sheikh Hasina) whose father Sheikh Mujib actually amnestied these criminals. Such efforts will be quietly ditched since the Bangladeshi judiciary can’t even deal with murder, rape and arson committed yesterday let alone politicised crimes from 1971!!!!

  25. Sid — on 2nd January, 2009 at 11:23 am  

    There is little reason for celebration at the Awami League Victory, unless one is an Awami League supporter and member of a UK-front organisation for the party (aka ‘human rights’ group Drishtipat) as Sid is. Why a Brit Cit needs to advocate for a third world political party in the polarised political arena of Bangladesh is beyond me.

    I agree with most of the points you’ve made about Awami League and the state of the polity in general that needs to be fixed as an imperative. I would add more:

    * Renege the agreement they made with the militant Islamists of the Khatam al-Majlis.
    * There is no need to continue the alliance with the JP kingpin and erstwhile ex-dictator Ershad.
    * To continue to encourage the reform of the party, and to remove the influence of the corrupt old guard and bring in new young players into the arena

    And I’m hoping that AL will be able to leveage the massive support base won from the recent landslide so that it won’t need to rely on political forces which are deeply againt its principles in order to win seat. It has managed to win seats because voters were sick to back teeth with astronomical levels of corruption perpetrated by the last government.

    There is a lot to be happy about the Awami League victory and not least:

    More women and young people came to vote, bringing it to an 80% turnout- thats something like 120 million voters! This kind of electoral participation is unprecedented.
    The most numbers of women candidates have won seats
    The most numbers of members of ethnic and religious minority candidates have won seats
    Jamaat-e-Islami’s saw significant loss of support on a percentage of votes won per seat, which means that their support has decreased signficantly.

    And as for “Why a Brit Cit needs to advocate for a third world political party in the polarised political arena of Bangladesh”:

    For the simple reason that I would like to see Bangladesh continue on the path to a pluralist, liberal secular democracy and to thwart the forces of militant jihadism and religious supremacism. Worth wanting even if you are a British Cit Bengali or non-Benfali, if you ask me. Much better than being a British Cit and wanting an authoritarian, Islamist dictatorship in Bangladesh! :D

  26. Dalman — on 2nd January, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

    I see Sid hasn’t answered any of the substansive points about the Awami League’s tendancy to revert to mob rule and authoritarianism. How can we ensure that Sheikh Hasina, who was recently jailed on corruption charges as well, will ensure she or her party will not revert back to the bad old days?

    FInal word, just as Islamic dictatorship is bad, so is the tribal one of the Pol Pot/Uzbek variety…

  27. Sid — on 2nd January, 2009 at 5:39 pm  

    How can we ensure that Sheikh Hasina, who was recently jailed on corruption charges as well, will ensure she or her party will not revert back to the bad old days?

    I see you’re being one-sided with the truth, a true partisan. You seem to be eliding the point that after the military interim government took over the country prior to the elections in Janury 2007, it subsequently arrested and jailed not only Sheikh Hasina but also Begum Zia as well members dozens of ministers and high-level politicians from all parties including Nizami of the Jamaati-e-Islami. All extra-judicial jailings.

    None of these charges were settled and subsequently almost all of the politicians have been freed. That’s not to say that these politicians are not corrupt to their very core. But if you are going to use the corruption ticket, you are off to a bad start since the entire political system is corrupt and you’re left with a military government, and you’re only singling out Sk Hasina.

    And I think you’ve made noises that you’re anti-authoritarian, so how exactly are you justifying yourself with this muddled logic?

  28. Dalman — on 3rd January, 2009 at 12:34 am  

    Sid,

    I start with the principle of ‘a plague on both their houses’. I spoke equally against the BNP at #21. And here I state for the record that it was a bad idea to allow the military to get comfortable with the levers of power. Though if my memory serves me right, the AL were quite happy for the military to take over after it agitated against the civilian caretaker government that took over from the BNP.

    Its quite easy to accuse others of being a partisan while hiding (badly) your own.

    I mention Hasina and the AL as they are now in power. I know it is difficult for those belonging to the authoritarian tribes of either the BNP or AL to stomach criticism and accountability, but that is what we need.

    Who will be calling them to account, you? Before Ashik went on his rant he had a point, Dristipat, like much of civil society in Bangladesh is poisoned by the partisan tribalism of the two parties. We are stuck with both parties, who will guarantee basic human rights?

  29. Sid — on 3rd January, 2009 at 1:14 pm  

    My position is political but not partisan: I’ll plonk for a secular, liberal pluralist democracy operational in Bangladesh anyday (and that’s all I ever bang on about) and I will support political parties that comes closest to upholding these principles. At the moment AL comes closest, but BNP is closely associated with military authoritarian and Islamist tendencies lag far behind.

  30. Dalman — on 4th January, 2009 at 1:04 am  

    I remain to be convinced if there is any difference between the two.

    Secular? Lets not forget (which you mentioned) of Awami League’s brief alliance with Khilafat Majlish, those guys would make Jamaat-e-Islami look like the militant wing of the Liberal Democrats….

    Liberal and pluralist? Now when it was first in power, and hardly shown any feelings for liberalism when it last was in power (see all the examples I mentioned above)

    But hey, here’s some news for hope. Hasina seems to be reigning in her hoodlums:
    http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=69800

    lets hope it works.

  31. mohammed allah — on 6th January, 2009 at 11:05 am  

    The Best mohammed T-shirt art is from Sweden. Watch and read the info at,
    http://www.mohammedt-shirt.com
    Fuck islam.

  32. Dalman — on 6th January, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

    Looks like mob rule is still there, will Drishtipat be monitoring this?

    Khaleda denounces politics of vengeance
    Staff Correspondent New Age 5/1/09

    http://www.newagebd.com/front.html#4

    The BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Monday expressed her concerns at the killing of her party activists across the country after the December 29 polls and denounced the politics of vengeance.

    Khaleda made the remarks as she consoled the daughter, son and wife of the slain BNP leader Shamsul Huq Master of Comilla and sought divine blessing for the deceased. Shamsul’s family met Khaleda in her office at Gulshan in the evening.

    After meeting Khaleda, Shamsul’s daughter Shamima Nasrin Bulu said her father was a teacher of Hajatkhola High School and devoted activist of the party.
    ‘When my father selected my brother Amir Hamza Sharif as polling agent for the BNP in Dakkhin Hajatia polling centre, the goons of the Awami League candidate Lotus Kamal threatened his life and they attacked my father at the night of the elections when he was on his way home,’ she said.

    ‘They left my father beaten up in front of our house and did not allow us to take him to hospital at the time. We took him to hospital the next morning and he died from his injuries on January 2,’ Bulu said.

    ‘The Awami League goods hurriedly brought the body of my father to our home without any post-mortem examination. Local Awami League leaders Malek Chairman, Matin Chairman, Halim Professor and others tried to arrange his funeral rites offering us Tk 3,00,000 and threatened our life if we would file any case,’ she said.

    The police later took the body and conducted a post-mortem examination.

    Khaleda also handed over Tk 1 lakh to the family.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    3 killed as post-polls violence continues
    Staff Correspondent New Age 5/1/09

    http://www.newagebd.com/front.html#3

    In Dhaka, armed assailants shot dead Nazrul Islam, 32, Ward 56 president of Swechchhasebak Dal, at his Bijoynagar office on Monday.

    Witnesses said four armed men in two motorbikes reached Aqib Bumper House at Bijoyagar at around 3:30pm and shot Nazrul point blank. Local people took him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where the on-duty doctors declared him dead.

    Mohiuddin, 35, a customer at the shop, also sustained bullet injuries and was undergoing treatment at the hospital.

    Nazrul’s younger brother Iqbal Hossain claimed that political rivalry was behind the killing. He alleged that some local Juba League leaders and activists threatened to kill his brother.

    Nazrul had filed a general diary with the Shahbagh police in this connection.

    The Shahbagh police officer-in-charge, Mohammad Rezaul Karim, told New Age that the incident was under investigation.

    Our Pabna Correspondent reports: BNP activist Obaidul Islam, 42, who was injured in an incident of post-polls violence at Banglabazar under Pabna sadar on Friday, died at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital Sunday night.

    Our Bogra correspondent reports: A Juba League leader was stabbed to death and another was injured allegedly by some local Juba Dal and Chhatra Dal activists at Nataipara Krishnapara of Bogra municipality on Monday.

    The deceased was Sabuj, 25, son of Abdul Gafur of the municipal area and a second year student of business management at Bogra Govt Azizul Haq College.

    Sources said Sabuj and Mousum, 30, son of Masud Mia, had a longstanding dispute over sand trade with some people of the area. As a sequel to the enmity, some miscreants stabbed Sabuj and Mousum while they were playing carom at about 4:15pm, leaving them seriously injured.

    The injured were taken to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital where Sabuj died.

    Local Juba League brought out a protest procession, condemning the killing.

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