For The People Eyeing The Road to A Free Fair Election.

The Post was originally published on Xanthis Blog on 31st October, 2008. Here it is reposted without editing.

The present undemocratic, unelected and constitutionally proscribed government has virtualized a barometer that they use as a probability scale for the upcoming general election in December. They say this scale to be strictly showing that there will be a free and fair election in December this year. Every time an issue stands up that causes confusion over the election, they are to become stronger in their voices that “there is no confusion over election, politicians shouldn’t spread confusions”. Yesterday New Age editor Nurul Kabir has added some satire over the reality, that even the advisers, the fellow cabinet members when they are reached by him in some social gatherings, express their own confusions over the election when their conversation turns to a little more personal to nearer ones.

[Nurul Kabir told in Channel One’s Nirbachito Khobor:
বর্তমান সরকারের যারা উপদেষ্টা রয়েছেন, এখানে সেখানে তাদের সাথে যখন আমাদের কথা হয়, কানে কানে জিজ্ঞেস করলে তারাই তো বলেন, কি জানি ভাই ইলেকশান হবে কি না জানিনা]

Highest ranked people of the government among those who can be reached by the press but do not enjoy the power of the policy-maker, actually have no reasons to be believed as the reflectors of the real scene that his going on inside the present regime.

The truth is getting brighter as the election is closing in, that is they are only the civilian cream of a military backed government, is the velvet covers of an unwanted iron hand, should be designated as nothing more than errand men. As far as they are not allowed at the policy-making end of this regime, it’s expected that many of their speeches will have contradiction to the reality, as they themselves are not told the full story. So, it won’t be our bad if we underline the Appellate Division’s rejection of Hasina’s bail appeal two days after the unofficial spokesperson of this undemocratic regime Hossain Zillur Rahman told that there remains no legal blockade that could bar Sheikh Hasina and Begum Zia from the general election. People, who immensely look for a free fair election but never have come to believe this regime’s fable of a free and fair election in December this year, may remain impassive after the Appellate Division has made Hossain Zillur looking like a fool. But people, who have been nourishing their utmost optimism over a free and fair election by the end of this year, now should rethink a few things those they should have been taking under consideration from long before.

What can be a more unpalatable misfortune than a nation having this much uncertainty over an election that is very much up ahead? How somebody can have the right to blame others, who themselves tomorrow states the election will surely take place and the other day say there remains uncertainty? Don’t we find a free and fair election was never certain if we look back?

There are a lot of reasons to not get convinced that a free and fair election will take place by the end of this year. There have been many times where this regime has gone through the other way than what they told. There have been many times the words given by this regime has been proved to be fake and for sake of buying time by convincing the people. I have previously written these same very sentences many times in many posts. I like to show some reasons behind this of my opinions. Readers are requested to keep patience while going through my reasons given here.

Naked partialities in arbitrary arrests of politicians. Arbitrary arrests of politicians and shameless partiality to protect leaders those had belief on this regime more than a priest has on Christ. Do you think Sadek Hossain Khoka, Mannan Bhuiyan, Tofael Ahmed all are saints thrown from the heaven?

Patronage for establishing traitors’ factions in both the parties. The line between traitors and loyalists in BNP is now too clear because the October 29 hijack attempt was too noisy. On the other hand the attempt over Awami League has been a semi-success completely under disguise and still in action. Do you think Tofael-Amu-Suranjit-Razzaq quadro even does care about what Zillur Rahman thinks and wants? Don’t you know Sheikh Hasina had wanted names of those went to Heathrow to receive Amu? Don’t you know Sheikh Hasina sat him at the waiting room for hours and finally hasn’t seen him?

Double role about dynastical appointments. One of the major issues of this regime’s overthrowing the democracy was, removing political dynasties and family favouritism. BNP’s reformist Enam A. Chowdhury, kingpins of Oriental Bank scandal Selim A. Chowdhury and Masud A. Chowdhury, Foreign Adviser Iftekhar A. Chowdhury all are brothers having same parents. D. Fakhruddin Ahmed is their sisters’ husband while Hassan Mashhud Chowdhury is a cousin. Nazim Qamran Chowdhury, the husband of ex-adviser Geeti Ara Safia Chowdhury, who is charged in a graft charge, is another cousin who has never been sued. All these men and women from a single Sylheti Chowdhury family, can you show me a more depraved example than this ever took place in Bangladesh? Note it, the Oriental Bank misappropriation was done when D. Fakhruddin was the Governor of Bangladesh Bank.

Spiteful biasing of the anti-graft drive. The ACC anti-graft drive, more than a jihad to abolish corruption, has been a tool of political repression and keeping some officials under the thumb. GATCO graft case, which pulled almost all of the senior BNP 2001 cabinet members to the court, had two important names as suspects of grafts. They are D. Sadat Hussain and Maniklal Samaddar. These two have been cleared by the ACC investigation. D. Sadat, the overnight shushil, is now the Public Service Commission chairman and Manik Lal Samaddar has been named as the special assistant to Fakhruddin, equivalent to a minister. Anti-graft mujahidin, eh?

Minus Two Formula. There is no reason to forget the hide & seek game with Sheikh Hasina and unofficial house arrest of Khaleda Zia. There is no reason to forget the Home Ministry resolution that described how a threat Sheikh Hasina is to the national security and tranquility. Continuous attempts to send Begum Zia abroad for physical treatment and her constant denial are also not to be forgone.

• Severe mistreatment and brutalities with politicians. No other government after the end of cold war has been this brutal to politicians like the present undemocratic and unelected 1/11 government has been. The death of BNP leader Qaiyum Khan, who being a heart patient was not visited by a doctor for single time in his eleven month detention, was also kept unreachable to his family. He was allegedly tortured to death. We also have noted the vicious mistreatment and brutality with Chittagong’s popular mayor Mahiuddin Ahmed, who was barred from a court-ordered release, ultimately couldn’t get to his dying teenage daughter who died after her long fight with cancer. Who will answer the tears of Mahiuddin which he couldn’t resist while seated at Shah Amanat Airport departure lounge?  Brutal torture on Tareq Rahman, who is still uncertain about recovering ever in his life, has been left with two of the vertebral bones shattered due to estimated fall from a respectable altitude. Which of the mentioned brutalities above was has been felt necessary for a fair election? A government that has no respect for politicians, can they be relied for a free and fair election?

Election Commission’s complete loss of reliability. Can’t we remember how impudently the Chief Election Commission backed the unscrupulous treachery inside a political party? The CEC on September 1, 2007 told,

“জনাব মান্নান ভূঁইয়ার বহিস্কারাদেশটা অবৈধ ছিল, এটা শুধু আমিই মনে করি না, কমিশনের সবাই মনে করেন। এসব বিবেচনা করেই হাফিজুদ্দিন আহমেদকে চিঠি পাঠানো হয়েছে। আরে বিএনপির তো সংবিধানই ঠিক নাই। যাইহোক, এসব রাজনীতির কথা, এখানে এগুলো বলে লাভ নাই। কেচো খুড়তে সাপ বেরিয়ে আসবে।“

Is this a statement from a man who is supposed to be neutral? A strong reason of unreliability lies in that statement from the Chief Election Commissioner. Now it’s your decision that whether he and his team are credible for a free and fair election.

Obscure treatment with Sheikh Hasina. If I am not wrong Sheikh Hasina was supposed to return home a week after the Eid-ul-Fitr. Now, there are happening a lot of talks invisibly so that all the realities cannot be explicable clearly. But having only some weeks before the election, Sheikh Hasina is still being obscurely barred to return home. Her party leaders ain’t seen sound to have her back to action. These are not at least signs of sincerity for a free fair election. This is also a reference to the second point.

Indefinite enforcement of emergency rules and denial to withdraw. Whereas the whole nation wants withdrawal of emergency rules, whereas both of the major parties wants the withdrawal without a delay, whereas one of the initial moral backers of this regime, the European Union wants the lift of these rules, the government is suspiciously and illegitimately wary to lift this tool of repression. A regime, who doesn’t feel comfortable to rule without having rights of people and freedom of all barred by the emergency rules, is difficult to rely for prosperous moves.

Repression and biasing over media. We shouldn’t be forgetting the events of August 17-21, 2007. We shouldn’t be forgetting the repression of the media, when no TV channels were allowed to broadcast their scheduled news shows. There was a mail to BDNews24 admin which asked him to not dare to be on air until further notification. We have also noted the fax from a special agency after Begum Zia’s release which mentioned phony information of Tareq’s leaving for abroad. Closure of CSB News in name of anti-graft drive and putting control over late night Ekushey Television political show are also to be remembered. Dirty role of Prothom Alo and Daily Star all over the 1/11 tenure and ACC’s complete overlooking the graft charges of Transcom boss Latifur Rahman is another addition. A government having true and honest sincerity towards an election; Are they usual to have necessity of such acts?

Impudent partiality. Playing blind about Ali Hasan Mujahid has been too noisy. Complete surrender to Islamic organizations has been too naked. Ali Hasan Mujahid’s meeting with Chief Adviser under an issued arrest warrant has abolished the total neutrality of the present government. It’s not like they have been neutral in all other cases than Mujahid’s one, but their sacred treatment of Ali Hasan Mujahid has been a shameless showdown and it came clear that, they are not to be relied as neutral.

After having all these points in knowledge, can we be so bum to count days for a free and fair election? Under this government?

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