An election is approaching. Government is set make the playing field as uneven as possible. Opposition needs a major street victory to change the game. Jamaat is flexing its muscle. Secular-liberal-progressives are worried about what might happen if Awami League loses to the BNP-Jamaat alliance. The establishment — local bureaucracy-army-civi society-corporates and the international murubbis — are worried about stability. There is much violence in the street. No, I am not talking about today’s Bangladesh. Though this describes Bangladesh of March 2013 pretty well, I am actually talking about late October of 2006.
In the current political theatre, the central character is Jamaat-e-Islami. The Shahbag Awakening started as a reaction against a possible Jamaat-Awami backdoor deal. A month on, I think such a deal looks very remote right now.
Dear Readers, we know that you care about nothing more than good old fashioned speculation about Bangladesh’s politics. It’s the same for us over here at AoD. During this election year, we will regularly share with you conversations had by Alal and Dulal on our rani-noitik developments.
This one was kicked off by the following question by ADBlogger5:
So, let’s say it’s 28 October 2013. Hasina is still the PM and going to hold the elections? How does she persuade Khaleda to join elections? What can she give Khaleda in return of joining the elections?
Amnesty International came out with its annual report on Bangladesh on 23 May. State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku was unhappy with the report because he thought it exaggerated the problems in Bangladesh. I felt similarly, but because the report did not go far enough in reporting the scale of human rights abuses in Bangladesh. Especially if the victims involved the BNP or other right wing parties.
And how and why it did not go far enough is an interesting story in itself.
The report highlights the usual suspects. The sub-headings are:
- Extrajudicial executions
- Violence against women
- International justice
- Indigenous Peoples’ rights
- Torture and other ill-treatment
- Death penalty
The lacuna in the list is obvious to anyone who keeps on top of Bangladeshi news. There is no mention of the enforced disappearances, especially of opposition activists and politicians, that have become more prevalent under the current Awami League government. Why is this? Some answers below.