Thursday, January 18, 2007

State of Emergency in Bangladesh

Power Politics In Bangladesh By Taj Hashmi

After witnessing ten weeks of political standoff, rioting and killing of more than forty political activists on the street by members of political rivals, Bangladesh is now under Emergency rule. On January 11th, President Iajuddin Ahmed declared the State of Emergency as the country was heading towards total anarchy. The Emergency is the outcome of the Awami League-led 16-Party Grand Alliance’s stubborn opposition to taking part in the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 22nd on the pretext that the elections would not be free and fair for various reasons.

One wonders if the State of Emergency by curtailing several fundamental rights of the people will finally lead to free and fair elections, participated by the major political parties and acceptable to all at home and abroad. One is, however, sure about one thing. Unless both the main political rivals, the Awami League- and BNP-led alliances, are convinced of winning the majority of seats in the Parliament, there will not be any elections in the over-polarized polity of Bangladesh.

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