Awami League’s Betrayal
by Riaz Osmani
Published in www.bangladesh-web.com on December 26, 2006.
I am astounded by how unprincipled politicians in Bangladesh can become in order to win votes. The latest news about Awami League signing a MoU with an Islamic fringe political party called Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish defies belief. In return to BKM’s support for the Awami League led 14 party grand alliance, AL will legalise “fatwa” by certain clerics and affect our legal system away from it’s common law roots to a more Shariah based one, should it return to power. There are no words left to describe this latest move by AL.
We are now to dismiss all claims by Awami League that they are the beacon of secular democracy. The recent inclusion of former military dictator Ershad and wife into its grand alliance means AL’s stance against autocracy is fake. Having successfully pressured the caretaker government to make justifiable electoral reforms and having recently agreed to take part in the polls in January, the party stood a chance to defeat the BNP led alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami. However, AL has now betrayed those who wish to vote for a secular Bangladesh, free from autocracy and in tune with the spirit of the country’s independence.
Unless the party immediately comes clear with it’s intentions, the voters of Bangladesh will be left with a false choice between the two major alliances. This election season has been economically devastating for the country. But now the society of Bangladesh could face new tensions as Islamic parties who prey on the unsuspecting devout in all strata of life get more recognition for their efforts to Islamize the country, an agenda only for a small but powerful and dangerous group.
Sheikh Hasina must immediately cancel this MoU and shun the inclusion of BKM or any other religious political party in its alliance. A thorough review of the personality of the party and the people would also be welcome if the party is to restore any sense of credibility and trust.