Monday, 8 August, 2022

The conspirator

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh passed a historic directive on June 28. A Division Bench comprising Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Izarul Haque Akand handed down a specific directive to detect the persons who tried to block the construction of the Padma Bridge through a deep-rooted conspiracy. The HC asked the government to constitute a commission within 30 days to detect the conspirators.

Once constituted, the commission will have to submit a report within two months. The HC fixed August 28 for further hearing on the matter. The apex court termed the Padma Bridge a ‘national asset.’ The court defined the conspirators against the national asset as enemies to the nation. This is for the first time in Bangladesh that a court has issued a directive to unveil a conspiracy. This directive is a message to the people who stand against the national interest. The enemy of the nation is the enemy of the country. The person who takes a stand against the country is a ‘traitor’. He deserves the highest punishment.

A day after the HC order, The Yunus Centre, a think thank organisation of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, issued a statement. In the statement, Dr Yunus rejected the allegation of hatching the Padma Bridge conspiracy against him. Making inconsistent statements is unbecoming of a renowned person like him.

Dr Yunus claimed to have filed a writ petition with the HC in 2011 challenging the government decision asking him to quit from the post of the Managing Director of the Grameen Bank only to protect the fundamental legal right. Filing the writ was not an effort to retain the post, he said. Fie! This portion of the statement is not acceptable as he filed the writ seeking the court’s order to reinstate him in the MD post of the said bank. The statement is marked by inconsistencies. Pleading innocence before the constitution of the commission indicates that something went wrong with him. It is fishy. He was silent about the issue for years together. He made the statement soon after the HC directive. Before the constitution of the commission, he tried to say “I am not a conspirator.” Bangladesh made every achievement in exchange for much sacrifice. The country had to face conspiracies at home and abroad in every stage. Local and foreign conspirators were united to foil every success. In the Liberation War of 1971, killer Mostaq clique hatched conspiracies.

He along with cohorts sent proposals to form a confederation with Pakistan. The then Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed traced the move and removed Mostaq Ahmad from the post of foreign minister of the liberation-time exile government. Later, in 1975, the conspirators killed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to wipe out the very existence of Bengalees. A quarter within Awami League was involved in the assassination plot. In 2027, a conspiracy was hatched to foil the nation’s demand for a free and fair national election. The perpetrators were a section of the members of civil society. Some cowardly politicians joined hands to help greedy and cunning civil society members implement the evil agenda. Conspiracy was also hatched to foil the dream Padma Bridge. Some renowned members of the civil society led by Dr Yunus were the masterminds of the conspiracy. They vowed to obstruct the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh and wipe out the existence of the country. All kinds of conspiracy are seditious. Unfortunately, we could not go into the depth of any conspiracy in the past. Yet, we did not show eagerness to unmask the face of the conspirators. So, one conspiracy was followed by another. The post-liberation war era saw a demand for commission to determine the role of people. Had the commission been formed, the activities of the key person during the war would become clear. As Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was busy with building the newly liberated country, he showed reluctance in this regard. However, he initiated the trial of the war criminals. The government led by him enacted Collaborators Act 1972 to prosecute the people involved in genocide, mass killing and other wartime offences. If Bangabandhu succeeded in his bid, the war criminals and undercover agents would have been identified. Having identified, many of these people would have lost the scope to be associated with the ruling Awami League and government. Assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975 marred and jeopardised everything. Her daughter Sheikh Hasina came to the rescue of Awami League in the post-75 era. Becoming President of the party in 1981, she raised a voice for cancellation of the Indemnity Ordinance which blocked trial of the killers of Bangabandhu. She led movements in favour of the demand. In 1996, Awami League formed a government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina following landslide victory in the national polls. The government scrapped and annulled the black law paving the way for trial of Bangabandhu killers. In her second term in 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina finished the trial of war criminals. Several killers including self-proclaimed ones were hanged in the Bangabandhu Killing Case. Unfortunately, any investigation into the Bangabandhu killing conspiracy is yet to be held. Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and a few leaders wanted an investigation into the conspiracy. During a programme held in observance of the National Mourning Day last year, Awami League leader Jahangir Kabir Nanak proposed the formation of a ‘national commission’ to investigate the Bangabandhu killing conspiracy. He said “We have tried the killers of Bangabandhu, but failed to investigate the blueprint of the conspiracy.” Party President Sheikh Hasina also discussed various aspects of the killing. “None belonging to a big party like Awami League came forward in aid of Bangabandhu or even held a rally after his killing. There are hundreds of questions  over the incident. Why did the Awami League cabinet members expressed loyalty to killer Khondaker Mostaq at Bangabhaban like lambs? Why did the chiefs of three services keep mum like puppets? Who encouraged Bangabandhu to cancel the appointment of Zia as an ambassador,” she posed the questions.

Many dedicated leaders of Awami League, who attended the party’s rally during a grenade attack in 2004, passed away. Any delay in initiating an investigation into conspiracy will result in zero evidence. A question remains as to why did not the Awami League government form a commission to unveil the face of the conspirators. I cannot find any answer to these questions. One Eleven was another conspiracy against democracy and politics.

Some of the identified conspirators of 1/11 political changeover are staying abroad, while others are staying at home. This is because of the courage and firmness of Sheikh Hasina that the blueprint of depoliticisation of the 1/11 conspiracy could not be implemented. But the exact picture of this conspiracy is yet to be unveiled. Why was Dr Yunus given Nobel Prize before One Eleven? That is also in the category of peace. How was the joint Nobel Prize (Grameen Bank and Dr Yunus) publicised as an achievement of a single person--that is also another question. Just after winning the Nobel Prize, Dr Yunus tried to form a political party. The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam had also joined that political party! Political conflicts over elections were rampant. People were pushed towards extreme uncertainty in a planned manner. Relentless character assassination was going on in two class-one newspapers (one Bengali, one English). Afterwards, an elite bureaucrat like Dr Fakhruddin ascended to the throne. Everything in the blueprint was done in a perfect manner. Later, the illegal and unelected government was given legality citing the constitution made by Dr Kamal Hossain. Two newspaper editors relentlessly appeased the caretaker government. One of them wrote in his own name: "Dui Netrike Sore Jetei Hobey" (two leaders must have to quit). The other one created a perfect ground to get Sheikh Hasina arrested by publishing reports based on little piece of papers supplied by the Intelligence. Everything seemed to be related to each other. For the interest of the country, for the interest of democracy and for the interest of people, it was essential to form an investigation commission to probe the incidents of 1/11, but that did not happen. As no investigation was done against the conspirators who were active during the Liberation War of the country, killer Mostaq hatched a conspiracy to kill the Father of the Nation. Likewise, because of lack of investigation, the conspirators dared to hatch a conspiracy over Padma Bridge. The conspiracies of 1971, 1975, 2007 and 2011--all are intertwined in a single thread. In a similar manner, the architects of the 1/11 conspiracy got united to hatch a conspiracy against Padma Bridge. The conspirators of '71 and '75 are war criminals, killers. And, the conspirators of 2007 and 2011 are anti-democracy, anti-state.

Why did Dr Yunus oppose Padma Bridge? Why did the architects of the 1/11 conspiracy join him? Whenever Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke about conspiracy over Padma Bridge, the name of Dr Yunus always came. Dr Yunus was the Managing Director (MD) of Grameen Bank. There is a certain age limit for a government-owned bank. The age limit of the Managing Director of Grameen Bank expired much earlier. Bangladesh Bank sent him on retirement. Challenging the order of Bangladesh Bank, Dr Yunus went to the higher court that informed him that the decision of Bangladesh Bank is right. Then Dr Yunus started lobbying. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton too telephoned Bangladesh Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina. She indirectly rebuked the PM. But, probably, Hillary-Yunus did know little about Sheikh Hasina. She is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She won't bow down to any pressure. Later, the pressure came in another form. That pressure is a stoppage of financing of Padma Bridge. It was known to Dr Yunus that if the World Bank stops financing Padma Bridge, other donors will step aside.  I think that Dr Yunus might have realised that he won't be able to come back as the MD of Grameen Bank if Sheikh Hasina remains the Prime Minister. That is why he hatched the conspiracy to remove the administration of Sheikh Hasina. He wanted to take revenge by usurping the state power. He wanted to orchestrate another 1/11. The stopping of financing Padma Bridge was actually a conspiracy to oust the government. The World Bank formally annulled the loan agreement on June 29, 2012, just one and a half years of the national election. If we keep an eye on two newspapers, the 'proponents of minus two formulas,' we can find lots of fancied stories of corruption and irregularity. Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Dr Shahdeen Malik and many others instantly became pen fighters to prove corruption in Padma Bridge.  Those who were vocal at that time were highly publicised. In this context, I do not want to say anything more about it. However, the objective of the joint attack was to prove the government corrupt. Civil society members climb to the shoulder of political power. In 2007, they usurped power climbing on the shoulder of the BNP. Through Yazuddin, BNP took decisions one after another to hold a free and fair election. In 2012 too, civil society members started a blueprint of another 'unelected' chapter keeping BNP in mind. At that time, the BNP Chairperson took to the streets demanding a non-party neutral caretaker government. She started telling in public meetings that Padma Bridge will not be built during the period of this government. Ultimately, she became a player of civil society.

When the BNP leaders and workers won the city corporation elections in 2013, their self-confidence reached the peak. At that moment, Begum Zia announced to boycott the national election creating a stage for civil society members. The two aforementioned newspaper editors again played the same role that they played before One Eleven. Probably, they forgot the universal message of Karl Marx who stated that the 'same incident does not recur in history'. An election was held in 2014. Another unelected government could not usurp power like that of 2007. Using the trump card of Padma Bridge, an elected government could not be ousted. Because of one person, the conspiracy turned futile. Her name is Sheikh Hasina. Some important personalities of the Awami League as well as of the government said that it won't be possible to build Padma Bridge by self-funding. Some important personalities of the government rushed to Washington to operate the loan accord by following the condition of the global lenders. But Sheikh Hasina could see the future. She knew well about the conspirators and the reason for their conspiracy. On July 4, 2012, she unequivocally gave the historical announcement in parliament that Padma Bridge will be built through self-funding. On July 8, the same year she placed her plan on Padma Bridge. On the next day it was approved by the Cabinet. Then what happened is an war of making the impossible possible. On Wednesday, June 29, the PM told the parliament that our emotion, creativity, courage and determination are entangled with this bridge. Finally, we have seen the light of hope. This was Sheikh Hasina's second victory against the civil society members. In 2007, these civil society members tried to portray Sheikh Hasina as corrupt. One after another cases were filed against her and she was arrested. They wanted to minus her from politics. But, finally, she proved herself to be an honest lady.

 In our country, there are some people who always want to harm others. They do not want democracy in the country. They search for corruption where they find development. They follow the directives of their foreign masters. Padma Bridge has unveiled the veil of the conspirators. Padma Bridge has proved that they do not tell the truth. They do not want the country's development and prosperity. We hope a commission will be formed in the near future. The face of the traitors will be unveiled. On that day, we shall again celebrate.


The writer is Executive Director, Poriprekkhit

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