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21 Jul 2016   09:03:28 AM   Thursday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

Politicians fall apart over anti-militancy national unity

Moslem Uddin Ahmed

Politics is a science of balancing of forces co-active in a polity, and it does have zillions of phases and sub-phases with ever-changing tasks for the politicians. Friends and foes may not be permanent here. Politics makes strange bedfellows in any stages of such onward march, but Bangladesh politicians fall apart in forging unity against militancy.     

As also in natural and scientific processes and procreation so also in politics the unity of the opposites is even possible and inevitable too at certain junctures. However, an exception is paramount in Bangladesh politics, even at the hour of extreme exigency like the current wave of militancy culminating into unforeseen types of terror attacks in this land, veritably in styles of suicide strikes in the Middle East and spillover ones in the western world. A razor-thin, but impervious, psychological barrier still keeps two major players in Bangladesh’s power politics far apart. Ardent voices of other political parties for national unity lose way in the wilderness.

What actually now keeps Awami League and BNP apart, notwithstanding some softening of tone at times, appears to be a factor similar to fear psychosis, stemming from their past fighting for power. BNP offered a sort of carte blanche for forging a united stand. AL set a condition that BNP must cut ties with Jamaat. And the opposition party seniors were of late audible in their individual views about even going to that extent. But, yet, there is skepticism in the ruling party circles that the BNP may have a hidden agenda of capturing power taking national unity as the springboard.

Some footnotes of history bear lessons in respect of such state of dithering. How foes turned friends in permutation and combination of world powers and internal forces in countries under invasion had taken place during the World War II could be a case in point, far-fetched though. Examples may be taken from next door also as to what the Indian Congress, Azad Hind Fauj and the Communist Party did in the face of aggression and what the Communist Party of China did in forging national front with its internal-wartime enemies to fight out the invading Japanese troops that had overrun Manchuria. Again, not in so remote past, Nelson Mandela set a unique example of forming coalition government with the apartheid camp of Whites he had fought nearly three decades and who had eliminated many of his Black compatriots.

Last Sunday’s press meet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was highly focused on the alarming rise of militancy and proposals for national unity in the combat against the threat. She once again raised the question as to unity with whom—‘those who burnt people to death and who are war criminals?’ She said national unity had already been forged, meaning unity of the people at her call made in her address to the nation after the July 01 night’s Gulshan cafe attack that left 28 people dead, 18 of them foreigners. 

The PM was just back from the ASEM summit where terrorist attacks in many countries, including Bangladesh, figured high in talks among Asian and European top leaders. And this is for the first time government admission came from the head of government that such extremism as happening in Bangladesh is a global phenomenon, having international links, analysts pointed out. She also said the country’s bright image got tainted by the Gulshan and Sholakia terror attacks. 

In this context, a hint came about option for seeking solution from an Indo-US recipe. Analysts tried to take some major cues from the PM`s remarks. An Indian journalist who is here covering latest developments in Bangladesh cited some “significant” points in her discussion with the journalists. This is for the first time she, from the government side, admitted that it is a global problem.

“Admission is the first point in quest for solution to a problem,” said the journalist, Debdwip Purohit. Besides national effort, he suggested regional and international coordinated action to face the problem as it is global in nature.

On the point of national unity, some of the analysts pointed out that the people are divided under a bipartisan system led by AL and BNP and so ‘people’s national unity’ is hard to achieve sans politicians’ unity, unity of political parties.                          

In view of such intricate polemics and procrastination, Prof Anwar Hossain of Dhaka University mooted an idea that the ruling Awami League should “invite BNP to join national unity sans Jamaat and thus push the ball into BNP’s court”.

Now a moot question remains who could play the catalyst to break this last sticking-point. Maybe, the latest move of Ganojagaran Mancha for Teknaf-to-Tentulia anti-militancy road march and its call for national unity leaving out Jamaat could be the rallying spirit and stage. Or what else?                         

 July 21, 2016

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