Thursday, 29 September, 2022

Precaution Needed to Avoid Another National Crisis

A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman

Precaution Needed to Avoid Another National Crisis
A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman

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I sometimes watch the serial titled 'Radhakrishna' on an Indian television channel when I get time. Dimvaka is the younger brother of a demon named Hangsha. When Krishna was about to punish Dimvaka after killing his brother Hangsha for disrespecting a woman (Radha), Dimvaka begged Krishna for forgiveness. Krishna was adamant to punish Dimvaka but when Radha requested him, Krishna forgave Dimvaka. Krishna could not ignore Radha's request. However, Krishna warned Radha that forgiving Dimvaka could lead to a great disaster in the future. And later that had happened.

We did not forget the role played by the Peace Committee people, Razakars, Al-Badrs, Al-Shams, the Muslim Leaguers, the pro-Pakistani civil and military bureaucrats, etc. during our great liberation war in 1971. Majority of those anti-Bangladesh souls were pardoned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972. But those people, in lieu of rectifying themselves, engaged again in anti-Bangladesh or anti-Awami league activities. And the nation had to pay and is paying for that.

We know that several Bengali diplomats working in various embassies of Pakistan left those embassies of Pakistan expressing their allegiance to Bangladesh. On the other hand, some Bengali diplomats loyal to Pakistan remained in the service of the Pakistan government. When Bangladesh became independent, most of them returned to Bangladesh with Pakistan in their hearts. When Bangabandhu pardoned them, they joined the Foreign Ministry. Some of them became Foreign Secretary. One even became a state minister in the BNP government. Such examples can be found not only in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but also in other ministries. Although they held various high positions in the Bangladesh government, they never washed away Pakistan from their minds, they could not make themselves Bengalis, they could not love Bangladesh. Instead of doing the purpose for which Bangabandhu gave those officials the opportunity to rectify themselves, they worked against Bangabandhu and Bangladesh. We can see those who are still alive after retirements continue in the same vein.

Besides, another group was within the party (Awami League). The group included those who were actually very active during our liberation war to stay with Pakistan and those who joined hands with those Pakistani minded people after independence. I like to mention one such incident. It was September of 1971. Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly were on. Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad reached at Dum Dum Airport with a group of seven/eight persons to go to New York. His aim was to inform the world community that Bangladesh does not want independence, rather likes to stay with Pakistan. However, Indian intelligence reached there and Khandaker Moshtaq's wish could not be fulfilled, they had to return from the airport. The then Awami League leaders should not be unaware of that incident. But what did they do? Mushtaq was not removed, rather was pardoned and given the responsibility of an important ministry. And under the cover of that opportunity, he got involved in the conspiracy against Bangabandhu. He took on the role of a betrayal to remove his leader from the world without thinking of redeeming himself.

On 15 August 1975, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad became the President after the assassination of the Father of the Nation. Many members of Bangabandhu's cabinet joined Moshtaq's cabinet. Former President Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury took over as Foreign Minister. General M. A. G. Osmani joined Moshtaq as Defense Adviser. Two weeks later, a parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of the National Parliament, Abdul Malek Ukil, went to London to attend the annual session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. These were some of the examples of loyalty to the party and party leader set by some high-level leaders of Awami League! These were the signs of confidence in the goal and spirit with which Bangladesh became independent!

This is how these Pakistan-trusting leaders and officials were entrusted with the responsibility of the newly born Bangladesh. Were there any tools to monitor their activities in the administrative structure? Did they love Bangladesh? Or were they working from within the state management of Bangladesh to protect the interests of Pakistan? Was there a way to keep track of the fragmented groups that were coming together in a network that was getting stronger day by day? There was nothing.

Can anyone ensure that the trend does not exist now? I am sure, nobody can. As there are conspirators inside the house, there are also people from outside who not only fuel but provide constant support and assistance. Not only against the Awami League, they have been able to establish themselves as a force against the believers in the spirit of the liberation war. I don't know if Awami League has any reliable system to monitor those people. Because they are spread in different sectors all over the country and are doing their work with the blessings of some political leaders.

On 26 August 2021, while virtually joined the National Mourning Day meeting organized by Dhaka Metropolitan North and South Awami League, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her address, questioned about the role of some Awami League leaders. She also questioned about the role of Awami League, the party supporters, the freedom fighters and the army. Because they failed to perform their duties, they remained completely silent even after the assassination. As it was true then, it is still flowing in the same direction. Only when the incident happens, its magnitude and destruction level is known, before that there is no need to worry about it. Only the victim has to face the consequences as compensation for faith and trust.

Not only in the political sphere, the anti-liberation forces hidden in the administration of the government are working silently and relentlessly. The secrets of the country are being smuggled. But they are not less in number. They are usually presented to the government (Prime Minister) as trusted people by covering up their inner true identity. In such cases, senior political persons or bureaucrats close to the government play the pivotal role as the introducers. Individual’s benefits are given priority rather than the interests of the country. Then how their performances would bring credit for the present government? Are their previous records verified while placing these people in various important positions of the government? Who will guarantee that these people hiding in the government will not do any harm to the country by taking advantage of the opportunity? This issue demands proper investigation and consideration, otherwise anything might happen at any moment.  And we do not want to see that.


The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary