Dialogue issue in Bangladesh politics

| by Swadesh Roy

( January 6, 2013, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Syed Ashraful Islam has re-elected as a general secretary of Bangladesh Awami league on 29 December. On the last day of the year, he gave a New Year gift to the people of the country. He said that they are going to have a dialogue with opposition party regarding a fair and good election. He also added that, an informal conversation is going on. They are conversing on many issues informally; now they are ready to sit for  a formal dialogue. But one day later the opposition leader of Bangladesh khaleda Zia has rejected it ruthlessly; she said that, government is doing conspiracy because Syed Ashraful Islam has told that, informal dialogue is going on. Her opinion is that, dialogue never can be informal, it will be always  formal. The opinion of Khaleda is not like a politician rather a common person because politics is an art of compromise. So the process of compromise can be started from any point.
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Khaleda is in politics for last three decades but it is true that she has many lackings because of her poor education. There are many famous politicians was in the world, they had no formal education but they had studied a lot so they were more knowledgeable. Unfortunately, Khaleda did not do it. So, sometimes she her opinions seems childlish. It is one of the examples. The people of Bangladesh want a peaceful situation in the politics. Nobody wants an unstable situation in the country because the economy of the country is growing well. Any kind of political unrest will hamper the economic growth. Most of the economist and the finance minister of Bangladesh are telling that, Bangladesh will be able to achieve 7% GDP in this fiscaln year, even it can be more but the first condition is that, it has to ensure that political unrest will not happen in this year. So not only majority people of the country, all the people of the country want that, government and opposition will  resolve all the political issues through parliament or dialogue. 
The opposition of Bangladesh is demanding that, next election will be held under the caretaker government; but present government has changed the constitution through the parliament. Now there is no provision in the constitution that, election can be held under the caretaker government. Opposition was not present in the parliament when constitution was changed by the parliament. They opposed it through the statement; they told that they would not agree with the removal of caretaker system from the constitution. They told that and always telling that government has to amend the constitution and reinstate the caretaker provision in the constitution. However, the government answered that, they had to do it for the instruction of the court because Supreme Court of the country gave the verdict that caretaker government system is illegal, because it does not carry the fundamental values of the constitution of Bangladesh. So according to the fundamental direction of the constitution, caretaker system cannot be existed in the constitution.
But it may be said that, there are some people of the civil society in the Bangladesh is in favor of caretaker government. They think that political parties are not qualified to conduct a free and fair election. On the other, the conducting history of the election of the caretaker government in Bangladesh is not good rather they have some black spot. In 2001, an ethnic cleansing happened in Bangladesh; it was cold–blooded and organized by the government. The head of that caretaker government, Justice Latifur Rahman was called by the international human right organization for hearing on this issue. Besides that, the election of 2001 was an eyewash. It was a conspiracy to help the Islamic fundamentalist to come to the power through that so called election; coming to the power of the fundamentalist government helped the international terrorist and the regional terrorist to organize here. In spite of that, some people of the civil society support that system because it is the only way for the so-called civil society person to enjoy the state power. However, the common people of Bangladesh want two things now: one is, uninterrupted economic growth and another is free and fair election. They think that, for a free and fair election if any difference come to the political parties they will settle it through parliament or dialogue, not by the violence in the street. Not only the people of the Bangladesh; the international community also think so. The assistant foreign secretary of United States of America visited Bangladesh recently and he met with the opposition leader. After his meeting, journalists asked him, what he thinks regarding the demand of the opposition. He answered that, opposition should go to the parliament, because parliament is the right place to settle any political issue. The opposition leader visited India two months ago; she met with the Prime Minister and the president of India. They also suggested like the assistant foreign secretary of America. Besides that, opposition arranged a seminar in London and they were trying to bring a motion in the British parliament in favor of reinstating the caretaker system in Bangladesh constitution but they failed to bring a motion in the parliament and in the seminar, all the distinguished participants suggested the opposition that it is the matter of Bangladesh parliament. They have to settle it in parliament.
So within the country and the abroad, it is the opinion that the political issue of the opposition of Bangladesh has to settle amicably not by street violence. Therefore, in this situation the proposal of the general secretary of Awami league is a positive initiative from the government side. Furthermore, opposition should take it in positive mood. Khaleda made a mistake by commenting that informal dialogue is a conspiracy. It is lack of her political knowledge because she came from a military culture not the political culture. In political culture, informal dialogue can start from many corners and many non-political occasions. Ultimately, those will take a political shape and reach a formal dialogue.
In the mean time, opposition of  Bangladesh has called a day long shut down. It may be their policy but people do not like this; despite it will not be an obstacle for dialogue. But the opposition should think about it, ultimately they have to sit in a dialogue.Therefore, it is better to drink fresh water before make it more dirty. 

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh, he can be reached at swadeshroy@gmail.com

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