Saturday, August 4, 2007

An articale of By Rabindranath Trivedi - for Asian Tribune

Indo Bangladesh Relations and Coup in August 1975
Sat, 2007-08-04 02:45
By Rabindranath Trivedi - for Asian Tribune from Dhaka
PART- I: Coup in Bangladesh Killed Bangabandhu on 15 August 1975
Dhaka, 04 August, ( The August, the 8th month of the zodiac, named after the great Augustus, is full of ecstasy and sorrowful events in this subcontinent. August gave birth to two nation states as Hindus and Muslims, India and Pakistan, sixty years ago in August 1947. The August also mourned for Rabindranath who died on 7 August 1941(Thursday 22 Srabon 1348 Bengali year) and Founding Father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who died in a coup along with his family members except two daughters on 15 August 1975.
With their death, these noble sons of Bengal had contributed to civilization and their endeavor for nationhood had earned both for themselves and the Bangalees an honoured place in the community of nations.
The East Bengal renamed East Pakistan turned into a perpetual colony of Pakistan. The political movement that was launched for Bengali language and for democratic rights on different occasions subsequently turned into a freedom movement and war of Bangladesh liberation in 1971. In the War of Liberation the great poet Rabindranath was a source of inspiration at all stages.
It is a volatile nation whose roots baffle the historians. Bangladesh, rightly observed an American political scientist,” is a country challenged by contradictions”. The history of the birth of Pakistan was associated with communal strife and bitterness. But Bangladesh is the product of the War of Liberation. It was a movement against the Pakistani military-bureaucratic oligarchy for the establishment of democratic rights.
I was moved by Tagore's posthumous volume where"Death like Rahu" reveals:
“That whatever I grasped as truth was only a tissue of lies -How could the laws of nature be so unnatural?This I know in my heart of heart;He who knows the world exists -His I-ness is witness of the world's existence:He too exists in the ultimate I.'
Some scholars have translated those verses, yet the intrinsic meanining of those poems employs a statement of doubt and negation- asserts doubts and negation and ultimately transforming into a confident affirmation. Those poetic statements become a means of communicating quintessential truth and amazingly fine nuances of feeling. Not a word is extra; some, in fact, are really telegram in verses.
Since Rabindranath's last journey for the 'great unknown' on August 7, 1941 (Thursday 22 Srabon 1348 Bengali year) the world has rolled in her orbit sixty six times. Many waters have flown to the Bay of Bengal. Since his death in 1941, India was partitioned and Bengal was divided in 1947 and its accompanying bloodshed. West Bengal has indeed gradually lost her leadership of India in every field-- political, commercial, intellectual and artistic. The crux of the political problem was the Hindu-Muslim divide in Bengal. It is even today a congenital defect that has crippled both the communities and particularly the Hindus in East Bengal.
Bangladesh is a product of Bangla language and double secessions. Bangladesh is a nation state that changed its statehood and identity twice in less than a quarter of a century. The dramatic emergence of Bangladesh runs counter to conventional tenets of nationalism in South Asia."The most tragic death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a coup on the night of August 15,1975 continues to haunt Bangladesh. The Coup of August 15,1975 in which Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were assassinated, shows how easy it really is to change a government by such means.
The events of the three months following the coup, especially the power struggle in the week of November 3, 1975, have also shown that it is easier to change a government than to established and maintain an effective administration.” (Raunaq Jahan, 2005, p- 165)
The country is now bitterly divided internally. The struggle for democracy still persists. A democratic Bangladesh at peace with itself and the world will be a long time coming unless the legacy of Bangabandhu is faced honestly and there is national atonement for the brutal murder, former editor of the Bangladesh Observer, Mr.Obaidul Huq (Obaidul Huq, 1996, p-132) noted.
It may be recalled after six decades of partition of India Founding Father of Pakistan M.A. Jinnah was in favour of making Pakistan a modern secular state as evident from Jinnah's 11August, 1947 speech in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly (CAP). But Jinnah's strong advocacy of Urdu as the national language of Pakistan provoked the Bangali of East Bengal to think seriously about their position. Their cultural identity threatened.)"Non-Muslims would have stayed back in Pakistan if Quad-e-Azam M A Jinnah's reinterpretation of the two-nation theory had been carried out. Its ethos becomes secularism, not religion.
He said that Muslim ceased to be Muslims and Hindus ceased to be Hindus; they were either Pakistani or Indian. Mahatma Gandhi, in turn, declared that he would live in Pakistan and seek no visa to enter. Gandhi was shot dead by the extremists and Jinnah was abandoned by similar elements and left dying as a disillusioned man. Both leaders who were at the helm of political affairs then did not envisage that the minorities would have to quit because of their religion in the country to which they belonged. Both were dejected when the migration began, Kuldip Nayer writes.' (The Daily star, 17 Dec. 2004).
The sad demise of Mahatma M K Gandhi by bullets and Quid-I-Azam M A Jinnah by Tuberculosis in 1948 put minorities in East Bengal under a pecuniary situation . If Jinnah continues his office one more decade, minority in the subcontinent may not quit their ancestral homes. "Non-Muslims would have stayed back in Pakistan if M A Jinnah's reinterpretation of the two-nation theory had been carried out. Its ethos become secularism, not religion..” Jinnah unequivocally did not want a theocratic state run Mullahs. His statements about minorities are significant: I am going to constitute myself the Protector –General of the Hindu minority in Pakistan’. Speech after speech confirmed this. A cabinet was created; Jinnah had seven ministers in the cabinet, one a Hindu Mr. Jagendra Nath Mondal.
“ Had Jinnah’s vision prevailed- and found an echo in India- we would have been a very different South Asia… There would have been open boarder, free trade and regular visiting between the two countries. The lack of tension would have ensured that the minorities were not under pressure and, as both Jinnah and congress leaders like Gandhi and Nehru wanted, lived as secure and integrated citizens. The fabric of society would have been different,and a more humane subcontinent might have engaged: s land true to the visions of the leaders and spirit of the sages.”(Jinnah,Pakistan and Islamic Identity, OUP, 1997,P-183)And the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib in a coup on 15 August1975 put under identity crisis.
Both Pakistan and Bangladesh , these two nations under subsequent military rules over decades raised the question "Can Pakistan Survive?" and " Fragility Thy Name is Bangladesh”. Pakistan Army has been in politics; lacking in legitimacy, soldiers in power are always on the defensive. They rely on Mullahs, the prayer leaders, to mitigate some of it. The most glaring examples of military-Mullah alliance was seen in East Pakistan during 1971 and in General Zia's regime during 1970s and 1980s , the two are natural and historical alliances”( M V Naqvi, DS,14 April 05) .
History repeats itself , what had been a possibility in M A Jinnah's Pakistan that was established in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib's Bangladesh -a secular democratic state, a state which makes no difference between a citizen and a citizen, which deals fairly with all irrespective of caste, creed or community in its constitution of Bangladesh-1972 but subsequent military regimes in Bangladesh changed the course of the nation .
“This, I believe, is what makes Bangabandhu the central figure of our time. In assessing the state of nation, the prospect the nation has before it; it is relevant to go a little into what may be called the driving force behind the phenomenon that is Bangabandhu. From 25th March 1971 to 10th January, 1972 Bangabandhu is totally absent from the scene where unequal forces are locked in a deadly struggle. Bangabandhu and Bangabandhu alone is the symbol round which the adherents of the forlorn cause group themselves. And that is no accident says Prof Abdur Razzak of DU.And he opined: “In those dark days, in that testing time, among the millions who would constitute the nation, there was no misunderstanding and there was no ambiguity.
Bangabandhu alone was the symbol. But there have been other symbols in the long freedom struggle in the subcontinent.” To take only two examples: Gandhiji and M A Jinnah. Either of them could sway millions; make them do their biddings. Jinnah, a man of the highest integrity, of very great forensic skill, a dedicated public man, had after due deliberation, espoused a cause which he believed to be righteous and brought it to amore or less successful conclusion. MahatmaGandhi was different. He did preach love.
But that was because love was Dharma-Dharma for all men. He belonged to the world. It was accidental that he was an Indian. He was a medieval man in the best sense of the term. Important as this life was, it was with him but a mere appendix to the far more important life to come, the everlasting life in God. This is the difference, large as life, between Bangabandhu on the one hand and Jinnah and Gandhi on the other. Bangabandhu had forged an indivisible fusion between and the nation.”(Bangladesh: State of the Nation,Prof Abdur Razzak , DU, 1981 P4-5)
History repeats itself, what had been a possibility in M A Jinnah's Pakistan that was established in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib's Bangladesh -a secular democratic state, a state which makes no difference between a citizen and a citizen, which deals fairly with all irrespective of caste, creed or community in the Constitution of Bangladesh-1972 but subsequent military regimes in Bangladesh changed the course of the nation and becomes a theocratic state. "Sheikh Mujib combined in himself the charisma of Fazlul Huq and the patent political skill of Suhrawardy.
He consolidated the party, discovered the nation. He built upon the foundations of his elders but the thrust, the originality of his own leadership is beyond dispute. .. He gathered around him a band of devotees, willing to lay down their lives for the cause and many did. He was the man of the people, as Bhashani was, and, a leader of youths where he resembled Suhrawardy. Unlike political philosophers, Abul Hashem for example, he lacked in creed but his vision was whole. Heroes and tragedies go together. Tragedy was perhaps inevitable in this case too, but the form it took will remain an eternal shame to the people. Students of Shakespeare will look for the tragic flaw in Mujib's character…. What failed him, or who failed him?
In Shakespeare's heroes, it is not always the fatal flaws, which work on these flaws. In the case of Sheikh Mujib, the last, perhaps the greatest and certainly the most tragic of our heroes, the tragedy stemmed, perhaps equally from both within and without. The greatness of a tragic hero is hardly diminished on account of the flaws. The flaws explain, however weakly that may be, but never justify, the huge waste, the tragedy of the fall. There is a time for mourning and a time for exegesis.
Apparently, we have already passed from the one to the other. At a farther remove from both, there is a time for the poet, for the raw life to be transformed into art, for lived experience to be rounded off into a poetic vision. When the time comes, a great tragic poet may find his hero in Sheikh Mujib. He will have enough material for his work. What I wonder about, is how will he provide the catharsis-"Calm of mind all passion spent"? This will be his supreme challenge, opined Zillur Rahman Siddiqui in 1982.
The successive post-1975 governments have changed the concept of nationalism from Bengali nationalism-characterized by ethno-linguistic identities and not by religious (Muslim) identity - to Bangladeshi nationalism-characterised by religious (Muslim) identity of the Bangladeshi majority- which make them distinct from the Bengali Hindus of the Indian state of West Bengal who never showed any interest in forming a separate state based on Bengali nationalism.
In August 1975, I was then at Bangabhaban, the president’s palace, I could recollect those early days of Martial Law. In a nation wide broadcast on the 15 August, Khondakar Mustaq Ahmed propounded the doctrine of historic necessity He glorified the role of the Armed Forces in the following words: The armed forces had to come forward in changing the government as it became impossible to bring a change.
The armed forces have opened up the gate of “golden opportunity’” before the countrymen by discharging responsibility with utmost sincerity. “In course of time, what had been construed as a golden opportunity for the people would, in fact, is a “golden opportunity” for the army - an all-embracing form, the Bishwarupa - for making or unmaking the government and the constitution of the country. “ Wrote Dr Aleem-Al-Razee in his book (Constitutional Glimpses of Martial Law in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh).
“In Bangladesh, the end of one dream marks the beginning of another. The Army crackdown in March 1971 ended the Bengali’s dream for a fully autonomous East Pakistan, but it immediately created a new vision, the hope for an independent republic of Bangladesh. Perhaps, so it is now, although the traumatic collapse of the Mujib regime--and the death of the founder of the state--would leave the Bengalis in a state of shock for a long, long time. …. Yet sooner or later, the young republic, long used to a succession of tragedies, will again start looking at its future ready to make a new beginning. Again, there will be new dreams, new dreams and new hopes,wrote Mr. S M Ali.
Since then three and half decades have passed. Bangladesh has been changed in her course of path under military regimes .The legacy of lies in the body politic of Bangladesh that It was just one of the many lies that caused Bengalis so much grief in 1975. “The result has been a deeply divided, wounded society. A whole generation of Bengali men and women, born after liberation, has come of age through a palpable process of a peddling of political untruth.”(DS, 15Nov.06)
What Maulana Abul Kalam Azad cites two instances of “blunders” committed by Nehru in dealing with League in 1946? As he mentioned in his book entitled ’India Wins Freedom’. The same ‘blunders’ in different perspective had committed by Nehru’s daughter, Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi in dealing with Bangladesh and Bangali Hindus in 1971. Her father Pundit Jawharlal Nehru, a scholar politician and liberal democrat, made Bengali Hindus uprooted -refugee in Andaman, abandoned railway wagons of West Bengal and dense forest of Madhya Pradesh. And his daughter Mrs.Indira Gandhi, tapped by her statesmanship image, made Bangladeshi Hindus ‘Stateless Citizens’ in India and ‘power less –vote bank-vested property holding-citizens in Bangladesh’
Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi could realise that only ‘go back all refugees’ would not dissolve the old congenital Hindu-Muslim issue. She had lately recognised agony of Hindus after August 1975.
When she replied a question to BBC interviewer on 20 August 1975 that “ Whatever be the new situation in Bangladesh, India will remain dominant in the affairs of Bangladesh, if Pakistan becomes a close friend of Bangladesh, she may cause harm to India and then Bangladesh will become an issue of trouble in the sub-continent. As a result, the subsequent circumstances will not be favorable to India. Replying a BBC question Mrs. Gandhi said, "Of course, had the Government of Bangladesh adopted the Islamic principles, the question of the Hindu minority would have arisen.
The Hindu minority might also leave Bangladesh for India creating new economic and political problems for India.”
Bangladeshi Hindus become the perpetual slaves in the hands of history, their fate have been a concern of US, EU, UNs and Amnesty International.. India had done her job in returning refugees to an independent Bangladesh. What a fateful event in the annals of history that Bangladesh could not break away from the past and remained steeped in the legacy of her history of the 23-year existence as theocratic-military regimes owned part of Pakistan.
Both Pakistan and Bangladesh, these two nations under subsequent military rules over decades raised the question "Can Pakistan Survive?" and " Fragility Thy Name is Bangladesh” The defeated Axis of 1971has been organising the forces of retaliation by extending money, men and materials in Bangladesh. In the post-August 1975 period, the attitude towards the minorities changed and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, collaborators of occupation Pakistan Army, and other right wing religious anti-independence forces became partners in the power game with BNP and the army assuming the role of ‘arbitrators’ in Bangladesh politics.
Unfortunately, for the last three decades, Bangladesh– India relations have passed through several ups and downs of the successive Generals-turned-politicians’ regimes.
The relations between Bangladesh and India have changed in several phases. Correspondingly, relations have changed the basic fabrics of the fundamental principles with the color and texture of their bilateral relations. We will continue to discuss some points in the following articles. (to be continued)
Rabindranath Trivedi is a retired civil servant, author and columnist.
- To be continued –

Thursday, August 2, 2007

An Open Letter from HRW Asia Director on Tasneem Khalil’s detention

August 1, 2007

Mr. Fakhruddin AhmedChief AdvisorGovernment of BangladeshDhaka

Re: Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh

Dear Chief Advisor:

When your caretaker government was established in Bangladesh on January 11, 2007, many Bangladeshis and international actors were reassured by the appointment of apparently non-partisan and competent officials. The initiative largely had the support of Bangladesh’s influential civil society as well as the international community. Many had despaired at the state of near political anarchy, widespread corruption, and severe human rights abuses that had emerged in the country in recent years. The promise of free and fair elections in the light of attempts to rig elections was also welcomed.

Your government has taken some strong initiatives to clean up corruption and hold political and business leaders accountable for their actions. Measures to reform the civil service and bureaucracy have been welcomed by many Bangladeshis, though we caution that due process for civil servants must be observed. And, unlike the previous government, you have made it clear that you will not tolerate or condone the actions of violent militants.

However, we are deeply concerned that the laudable goals of fighting corruption and reforming the political system are not being matched by efforts to protect human rights. Serious and systemic human rights abuses are taking place on your watch. Many of these, such as torture and feigned “crossfire killings,” were serious problems before you took office and continue today. Others, such as emergency rules that do not respect basic due process rights, or the large number of arbitrary arrests and detention without proper judicial oversight or public accountability, are a direct result of your government’s policies.

The joint forces, led by the army, have shown almost complete disregard for established legal norms conducting arrests and holding people in detention. Instead of being brought immediately before a magistrate, detainees are routinely taken to army barracks and other unofficial places of detention and tortured, both as punishment and to force them to sign confessions. Many people are being picked up in the middle of the night without warrant. Led by Bangladesh’s military intelligence unit, the DGFI, the security forces are often in plainclothes and offer no identification. When asked, they claim they can do anything they want because they are thus empowered under Bangladesh’s emergency laws. (continues…)

… We would particularly like to use this opportunity to remind you of the case of journalist Tasneem Khalil, who has worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch and as a stringer for CNN. On May 11, 2007, Mr. Khalil was taken into custody after midnight by men in plainclothes claiming to be Bangladesh’s “joint task force.” Mr. Khalil was taken from his home in front of his wife and child, blindfolded and driven to an interrogation center, where he was tortured and questioned about his work as a journalist, writings on his blog, as well as his employment with Human Rights Watch and CNN. Many of Mr. Khalil’s possessions, including computers, phones and passport, were confiscated when his home was ransacked. We immediately contacted your government for help, and Mr. Khalil was eventually released after more than 22 hours in custody.

We have since learned that Mr. Khalil had been held and tortured by the DGFI. The interrogation center Mr. Khalil was taken to is an extension of the DGFI headquarters in Dhaka cantonment that houses at least one torture chamber and a detention facility. This is a full-time illegal detention and torture facility. Mr. Khalil saw sophisticated torture equipment and could hear other detainees screaming in pain. At least five DGFI officers took part in the torture sessions that left Mr. Khalil with severe injuries. At one point he was photographed with a revolver and some bullets placed before him, suggesting that he was being set up for a faked “crossfire killing.” Before his release, Mr. Khalil was forced to make false confessions, and asked to sign documents and testify on video admitting to acts that could be considered treasonous. We have received other credible reports of the same type of activities by DGFI.

As you know, Bangladesh’s military forces have become notorious for taking people into custody, torturing them to death or executing them in faked “crossfire killings.” We were concerned that Mr. Khalil would meet a similar fate even after his release. He had to remain in hiding until, after long and unnecessary negotiations, his passport was eventually returned and he and his family were able to leave Bangladesh for safety abroad.

In a sense Mr. Khalil was fortunate. He had the advantage of foreign friends, colleagues, and diplomats who were in a position to appeal to your government for help. However, there are thousands now in custody, unable to secure bail and often subjected to torture, who are not so well connected. We do not know who is being tortured at this very minute by DGFI or others, but we do know that it is happening.

We appreciate your personal intervention and that of other government officials to ensure Mr. Khalil’s release and safe exit from the country. But as his case makes clear, arbitrary arrest and detention and torture are a significant problem in Bangladesh today.

Your government knows who was responsible for Mr. Khalil’s torture – and that of many other victims – where they work, and where the torture centers are located. Your government knows that these are not isolated cases – an untold number of people are being tortured every day. As a matter of basic human decency as well as your obligations under international law, you must act to close down such torture centers without delay. We look forward to public statements from you and members of your government on this subject, as well as action. (continues…)
From Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

General Moeen U. Ahmed's Interview with Global Bangladesh

"General Moeen U. Ahmed discusses the countries direction for the first time in an exclusive interview with Global Bangladesh:

1. GB: First I would like to ask you a question about the Wall Street Journal article on 4th of June 2007. Your Reaction please.

General: The way portrayed the headline, one would think Army would takeover the power of Bangladesh; though, there are lots of truths in that article as it relates to other issues. For example, the two dominating parties sold parliament seats to deep-pocketed businessmen, used criminal gangs to silence critics, and funded election campaigns through extortion. I would like to make it amply clear that Army had or has no intention to takeover power. We could have done that on January 11 if we had intended to. We want to see sustainable democracy in Bangladesh where people from all walks of life get involved in a pure democratic society. It may be mentioned that some of the information used in the article were not updated.

2. GB: You have intervened to abort a flawed Jan 22 election, the U.S. and United Nations both offered tacit support. Knowing U.S foreign policy do you think U.S, UN will remain supportive to the last?

General: The people of Bangladesh had given opportunity to the politicians for three decades. The politicians, on the contrary, deprived the people and brought the nation to a point of no return. We had no option but to save the nation to avoid anymore bloodshed; perhaps a civil war. We are working tirelessly to bring about law and order and eradicate corruption. We definitely need global cooperation in transforming Bangladesh into a transparent nation. So long we work for the right cause as we are doing now in an appropriate manner, I expect for sure, international support along with U.S and UN will continue to be with us.

3. GB: Defense Ranking? You are a General today. We understand this ranking was supposed to be formulated years ago? Please tell us what it stalled so many years and what are the advantage and why within three months of your emergency power?

General: When Bangladesh Army’s Organogram was made in 1972, total strength was about 57,000 with the Chief of Army Staff of the rank of Lieutenant General. Now the strength of the Army is approximately 1,45,000, which is two and a half times larger than before. Don’t you think it was a step long overdue? Previous political governments had only talked about the issue but never materialized it. As regards the advantage, Bangladesh Army is one of the largest contributors of UN Peacekeepers but we don’t have a single Force Commander as most of them are of the rank of Lieutenant General. Now, at least, we have an opportunity to compete.

4. GB: Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: CTG (Care Taker Govt) very quickly squandering the goodwill. However, “At this point, it’s quite clear: The army is running the country. And they’re making it pretty clear they don’t intend to leave anytime soon.” As a General of this CTG, I am sure you are playing a key role in the war against corruption. Please advise what is the role you wish to play in future?

General: All the evidences of Bangladesh politics, point to compelling conclusion that the political parties divided the nation to a dangerous threshold that had no recourse but to confront a civil war. We thought if we were to save the nation, we need to recognize and build our relationship with one another. I wish I could play the role of helping to share each others burdens and strengths that has been apparent from primitive times -- when human clung together as mates, then families, then a community, which ultimately created a society and a country. Today some people talk about CTG activities, I watch ‘Tritio Matra’, and everyone seems to talk about moral justice. My wife and I used to think why Allah is not intervening? Doesn’t He see the injustice to human being by another human being? It is no one else’s responsibility but our own. All I wished - Almighty Allah would give us the strength to help a legitimate government to do good for the people. Military and other law enforcing agencies cannot do it alone. We, all together, need to build a stronger and prosperous Bangladesh. It’s my promise.

5. GB: Any ambition for becoming President or Prime Minister after you retire from Army?

General: I have already made it clear to the nation that I have no political aspiration. I am looking forward to my retired life to do something for the talented orphans of our country; pick them up and give them state of art education so that they don’t have to look back any more. I also intend to write a book which I have already named, ‘Way to Peace (Shantir Pathe)’.

6. GB: If you hadn’t taken the bold step what do you think country would have been today?

General: If I am not wrong the country was heading for a human disaster. Even being a military man, I could not conceive the nature of inhuman killings that the country had witnessed. All I can say that there would have been more bloodshed, more damage would occur to Bangladesh for next decades or so. If the January 22 elections had gone ahead, there would have been a civil-war-like situation where Bangladesh would have faced a situation similar to that of Somalia.

7. GB: CTG advising the nation to hold the election within 18 (eighteen) months. Do you think CTG will be able to complete election task in eighteen months or by Sept 2008? Personally, how you think 85% corrupt character can be corrected in just eighteen months?

General: We are looking forward to next election in 2008 once voter list is finalized and the candidates understand the terms and conditions of public trust. As professional soldiers, when called upon, we are duty bound to help the CTG to develop the country’s election system and oversee its systematic process. I am sure CTG will be able to hold election by December 2008 with our assistance. Presently, we are trying to restore law and order, eliminate corruption and shape up the environment for free and fair electoral process. As regard elimination of corruption, the process has already started, but it would definitely take time to bring about justice for everybody. I am sure, any transparent government, will pursue the aspirations of the people in right spirit in due course of time.

8. GB: Political ambitions are not dead among politician and lately we see many growing interest are popping up. Sheikh Hasina and or Khaleda may also considering reforming of their party and re-enter in politics. Do you think people will support them after so many allegations against them?

General: One can enter politics in many ways and can control politics either being in fore-front or from behind the scenes. The most important thing in politics is the popular support. If people are with you, you can do things directly or indirectly. As to who will be in front or behind, I cannot say. Let the time, people and democracy decide.

9.GB: President Ziaur Rahman was an idol for Bangladesh agricultural revolution from which the nation still reaping the benefit. Would you consider a similar revolutionary drive for vegetation and establishing adequate storage facilities so that all year round farmers and nation benefits.

General: Indeed! I believe that we have no choice but to make that green revolution again. This is also true that if we can provide efficient and effective storage system, our products can bring market stability or price control. I personally feel that, it is absolutely important for us to establish immediate agro task force for green revolution drive along with adequate storage facilities for year round market management. (Bangladesh has increased its food production over the past 28 years, from 11.8 million metric ton in 1974 to more than 39 million metric ton in 2003, with an average annual increase of 8.2% approximately)

10. GB: You just said market stability and your green revolution. I am sure you understand that the result definitely not helps immediate problem but today’s concern question how you are going to control price, which may go against your popularity?

General: I myself wonder with the market condition. It is not quite out of control and CTG trying its best to control the prices in market place. However, at the end, it is all supply and demand. Inadequate supply, international price hike and freight market situation are the main reasons for such unstable market condition. To cope with the uncertainties and in order to make timely decisions, the Government needs to have an effective global market intelligence which should be able to deal with the projected supply and demand situation.

11. GB: Are you confident that charges against political leaders will eventually be brought against Political leaders?

General: Yes, I firmly believe so. Our job is to maintain the law and order and bring corrupt people to justice. It is the judiciary, who will prove them guilty, if they are. The corrupt people must be brought under trial and should not be denied a fair treatment.

12. GB: Why then it’s taking so long to bring corruption charges against Sheikh Hasina and or Khaleda Zia and others.

General: I think that the outfit of our NBR (or Assets Evaluation Outfit) is very small. You might have known the condition of DUDUK (Anti Corruption Commission) when CTG took over. Also, you are aware of the fact that, there are serious shortages of experts in DUDUK, Police, NBR etc. Chairman of DUDUK is working determinedly to address those issues. DUDUK laws were faulty and had to be amended. Thereby, the process has become somehow slow. Again because of the confidentiality of information being handled by these organizations, some of these outfits need to have a group of reliable staffs to work on the sensitive issues. While planning and staffing such organizations, we also need to keep in mind about the active and passive planted members of the previous Government. Thus the selection process also gets lengthy. Effective but small and impartial teams will be able to deliver the results expected out of them.

13. GB: Sir ! Let me ask you about growing terrorism question in our region. Have you ever thought, the United States created this problem from which today Bangladesh experiencing difficulties couping with terrorism threat ? Because the United States abandoned Afghan mujahideen freedom fighters to their own devices after Soviet withdrawal ? I am sure that you need help to root out the terrorism out of our region. Do you think the United States will help you with fund,resources and tactical support ?

General: During Taliban rule, Mujahideens from all over the world concentrated in Afghanistan to assist and fight for them. After the Afghan war most of the foreign Mujahideen went back to their countries including Bangladeshis to Bangladesh. The so-called Afghan-Bangladeshi mujahideen returned to their village where some of them found themselves unwanted and some of them subsequently got engaged in terrorism. I am sure that the United States is aware of the situation and we are looking forward to work together in order to uproot terrorism from Bangladesh.

14. GB: The media and various information source accounting the corruption of former political leaders, prime ministers and public official stole some $ 1.5 billion dollar/annually . Summing up media calculation indicates that about $ 15 billion had vanished in the last 15 years. Do you think it’s possible that much money vanished out of a poor country?

General: I cannot vouch for the accuracy of $1.5 billion or 15 billion, but I know that millions of dollars have disappeared abroad into offshore tax shelters and investments through front companies and/or third-party names.

15. GB: What makes you believe that Bangladesh will have an election and will flourish with functioning democracy in place in the 18 months ?

General: It is a very loaded question. Frankly we are working tirelessly to bring a pure and sustainable democracy in Bangladesh, the rest is Allah’s will. The environment in Bangladesh is not fully conducive to real parliamentary democracy, as it is understood in the West. But at the same time, the demands of the world community and aspirations of our own people, make it imperative that we put our sincerest efforts towards this. I do not know anyone in Bangladesh who thinks that we shouldn't have democracy. So irrespective of one's views and with the passage of time; if we can establish the conditions for the very essence of democracy- which means beginning with the grass roots where there is none today; I think we have done more works towards achieving that goal. What we have to eradicate is the parody of democracy that we have suffered, which was camouflage for the systematic plunder of the country by the corrupted and political elites. We should hold local elections as early as possible. This will plant the seeds and start the process of establishing the democratic foundations for a new Bangladesh.

16. GB: Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, a retired lieutenant-general who was appointed in February to head the country’s powerful new Anti-Corruption Commission, calculates that majority of Bangladeshi politicians and officials are corrupt. He is out to clean up the corruption. CTG making massive anti corruption drive putting every stage of people in jail. Lets assume, Six month down the line corruption down by 50% but no DFI, no domestic investment, no money circulation and consumer price on the rise, no jobs, what would you tell people then ?

General: We do not expect that to happen. If we nurture a fruit tree some day the tree will bear fruits. I am not an economist, rather a career army officer. To my understanding, rate of corruption and investment (DFI or, domestic) are inversely proportionate. History also contemplates the issue. We look forward to the World Media for projecting the right picture of the country to the world so that foreign companies are encouraged to come forward with DFI. Domestic investment, as a result of such acceleration, would increase automatically".