On 2nd July last year, I wrote an article on this page of the Daily Sun about the misdeeds of a Member of Parliament, who was involved in human trafficking and money laundering and has been jailed for 7 years in Kuwait. Though it took time, finally he lost his parliamentary membership. However, his wife, who has been staying in Bangladesh, still holds the membership of our National Assembly. Furthermore, the associates of that parliament member are roaming around in Bangladesh and yet to be brought to justice by our authority. It may take time as this part of the issue is being handled by Bangladesh, though his Kuwaiti associates have already been put into prison in Kuwait. So, we have to wait and see if there happens anything in the coming days.
People engaged in human trafficking or money laundering are not new in Bangladesh. These two types of trafficking existed in the country, still exist and, undoubtedly, will exist in this country by the grace of the existing favourable socio-political condition of this country. These people are either influential or patronised by powerful corners. We are accustomed to these things. In this case, that an honourable Member of Parliament of Bangladesh was arrested on foreign soil and convicted accounted a lot for our country’s image. He made our head down. And our concern is there.We, the readers of the Daily Sun, were shocked to see a news item every day from 17th to 21st April 2021, on the first page of this daily about the misdeeds of another lawmaker of our National Parliament. We came to know from a series of reports that our honourable MP and some of his family members are involved in such activities that are totally contradictory to responsibilities bestowed upon a parliament member by virtue of our Constitution. It was, in fact, very difficult for us to accept that an MP could be involved in those immoral, unethical and greedy activities by using his political position. If these are found true and the people involved are not brought to justice, will not it tarnish the image of our politicians? However, we, the mass people, are not aware of any rejoinder or legal action from any corner against the newspaper or journalist for publishing such reports. If there is any, it could make us understand the truth. We are eagerly waiting for that.
Though the nature of their activities was different, all they did for money or wealth using their position. In the first instance, luck did not favour the said member or he failed to manage the system to come out of the crisis as he was caught in Kuwait, not in Bangladesh. He is now the honourable guest of Kuwait, staying in Kuwaiti prison. It is a shame that nobody could sense his activities in Bangladesh though the root was here. In the case of the second issue, like some other previous instances, the people involved were lucky enough as it remains within the Bangladesh territory. They know how to manage the system and are hopeful to come out of the crisis successfully. It was never easy to bring them to justice as they always find loopholes.
We could also be assured that those pages of the Daily Sun have not gone unnoticed by the concerned authorities of the country, as it is also linked with one of the members of our parliament. An MP is not only a respected person for his honesty and dignity but an idol for the younger politicians, particularly of his constituency. People trust him and, thus, place their confidence by electing him as their representative. They take oath once elected to serve the people and nation through upholding the constitution of the country. These parliament members in fact run the country as well as fix future paths on which the country will move. But once we see our lawmakers involved in such activities, it gives us pains.
It seems, one of the main causes behind doing all these crimes is one’s greediness. Whatever might be the reason, greediness makes a man wild and disrespectful to laws. Here, though they belong to a respectful class in society, they have lost their integrity, personality and sense of right or wrong. The instinct that made them inhuman has destroyed the base of the morality of the surroundings, the societal structure. Do we think about the victims or their sufferings? We still believe that the state has the responsibility to save the victims by bringing those persons to justice.
In this context, I would like to mention one of the criteria that a candidate in the general elections of Bhutan has to fulfil. A candidate in Bhutan’s general elections, among others, must declare his income, assets and liabilities while submitting an application to the Election Commission. As the government and candidate’s party share the expenditure of the election, he has to submit expenditure details to the Election Commission within the stipulated time, once the election is over. There is no way to spend a single farthing from the candidate’s pocket. The details of the candidate’s assets and liabilities are published in the local newspapers and if any information is found false or hidden, his candidature becomes null and void. Unfortunately, there does not such a system exist in Bangladesh.
We know that people give politicians the opportunity to serve the nation as well as the people. But we often see that these politicians, once elected, become the ‘Lord’ of the people who elected them a few days back. The irony is that some of these representatives, who, in fact, are involved in politics for personal gains, start showing their power, influence and supremacy. Some of them become wild, forgetting the ethics of humanity. They treat politics as a business field, where they invest huge amounts of money. And of course, this investment is not for charity or people’s welfare, but for personal gains.These are very much common in the politics of Bangladesh. It gives a bad signal about the politicians and political parties and also damages the ideology of politics. It is obviously the responsibility of our political parties to take necessary measures against the party men who are found involved in such activities to protect their party image and discipline. It will pave the way to encourage and build a better group of future politicians who will follow the honest path of politics to serve the nation and help build much respect for the politicians.
These politicians forget that people create politics and politics creates politicians. They are not masters but the spokesmen of the people. If we could conduct a survey on the assets and liabilities of our politicians across the country, particularly our MPs, we can find how much wealth they had before elected as a member of the parliament and afterward. There needs to bring transparency. Truly speaking, the main objectives of our politicians remain written on paper only, a very few politicians practice those.
However, we believe that an accountable and committed lawmaker with strong moral courage will never involve himself in such activities for personal gains; rather would devote himself to the welfare of his people and country. We like to be proud of our politicians.
The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary