Khaleda Zia�s revenge

A.H. Jaffor Ullah

Published on February 13, 2007

She saw her party disintegrate right before her eyes in the fag end of her repressive five-year rule.  And she knows that she and her party have both become so unpopular that Bangladesh �s masses have nothing but disdain and ill feeling for BNP.  Khaleda Zia and her trusted lieutenants also know that under this dire backdrop BNP candidates will have hard time winning the hearts and minds of voters in the next election.  Therefore, Khaleda Zia like a venomous cobra has struck the nation a big time.


Khaleda Zia�s mantra is �I�m going to spoil the fun since I cannot have it all.� Today (October 29), I read in one of the vernacular newspapers that she met with the top guns of Bangladesh�s army, air force and navy right before relinquishing her position as the Prime Minster of the hapless nation of 145 million.  What message she gave to them?  That we do not know but a learned man could guess what she said to the military leaders.


It is no secret in Bangladesh that BNP maintains a cozy relationship with the military generals.  Could it be that she told them the nation will go through a hell in the aftermath of her departure from the power and they should seize it at the opportune time?


Today, I also read in Bangladesh �s newspaper in the Internet that the hand-picked president, Iajuddin Ahmed, who is a loyal BNP man, have become in-charge of the caretaker government by his own decree.  This action of his does not bode well for the nation.  The opposition will reject him right away and there will be street agitation from Tetulia to Teknaf.  And when law and order situation would hit the nadir, he would call for the army to take the charge.  The army would wait for getting the green light from Uncle Sam and EU nations too and then it will be a repeat of Thailand .


The army will invariably play the card of corruption and take control of the power and in the process will arrest the ex-ministers and ex-MPs who are openly known to be corrupt and who had amassed a horrendous sum of money.   Bangladesh �s newspapers have published that millions of dollars worth of foreign currency had been funneled to Malaysia and other Asian nations for safekeeping by Khaleda Zia�s son and others connected to him.   


The departing prime Minister knows it well that it is a fat chance for her party to return to power through a fair election.  Thus, she would make the politics difficult for Hasina and her party men.  For, she is motivated by the dictum, �If I can�t have it all, then Hasina and her party men can�t have it either.�


Stay tuned and fasten your seat belt.  Bangladesh �s political weather is going to turn very rough in the coming days and there is no telling how it is going to end. 


Do not for a moment discount the role the army is going to play.  They may even turn to the civil society.  Therefore, Dr. Yunus may even play a role in the future government.  I hope this scenario is wrong.  Keep your vigilance and apply pressure through writing and lobbying so that the army is kept at bay from the power politics.  To legitimize an army takeover the junta leaders may even lock up Khaleda Zia, her son, and a bunch of corrupt ministers.  If this scenario is played out as choreographed, the politicians who joined together to form an opportunistic platform by the name Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headed by Badruddoza Chowdhury and Col. Oli Ahmed would wine and dine with the cantonment crowd to return to power through the backdoor.  Politics in Bangladesh will never be the same if army returns to power.  After all, Bangladesh looks up to Pakistan for inspiration and direction.  And there are sycophants such as Badruddoza Chowdhury and Col. Oli Ahmed to please the army leaderships.  These folks have done it way early in 1976 to please the onetime villain, General Ziaur Rahman and they will do it again this time.  It is no miracle that about 100 or so BNP politicians have gathered and joined LDP for they know that BNP will be a history in the same fashion as Ershad�s Jatio Party.


There are some shrewd politicians in Bangladesh who are �astute� enough to read the political barometer of this hapless nation.  And no wonder that these politicians are jumping ship at the opportune moment.  They know that Khaleda Zia�s party is finished for ever.  Thus, for them the last hope is LDP.  The old wines are being repackaged.  Oli Ahmad who propped up Ziaur Rahman a long time ago is becoming the captain of a lost ship called BNP.  Politics in Bangladesh is really beguiling to put it in proper perspective


Stay tuned.  To use a cricket metaphor, the politics have entered the fourth innings.  And there is no telling how it is going to end.  The political landscape is filled with all kinds of miasmas.  Let us hope that common people do not suffer much because of the whim of a few politicians.


About the author: Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans , USA