Ahammad Parvej Khan
Describing the Thursday high-profile dialogue between the ruling Awami League-led 14-praty alliance and Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led Jatiya Oikyafront as positive development in the country’s political arena, country’s political analysts and civil society leaders hoped such talks would help the continuation of democratic process.
Talking to Bangladesh Post, they said there is no alternative but to hold more dialogues to defuse confusion and uncertainty among the political parties and common people as well over arranging a credible and acceptable parliamentary election.
Noted political scientist and senior citizen of the country, Prof. Dr. Serajul Islam Choudhury told Bangladesh Post on Friday that finally a dialogue has taken place, it was much awaited and the dialogue itself is a development.
Dr. Islam said it may happen that the government is not sacrificing any more in terms of the vital issues or demands of its counterparts but still it is a fact that country’s politics has experienced something which was much expected by the politicians as well as common people.
” Now election is getting closer, so holding a credible election is the vital question. Although we have seen such dialogue in the past that resulted in nothing concrete, so now we have to wait and see what is happening”, Prof. Islam said.
Renowned historian and analyst of the war of liberation, Prof. Muntasir Mamun told Bangladesh Post, first of all it’s a big development that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has agreed to hold the dialogue. It’s certainly a sacrifice or positive move on her part for the country’s politics.
“BNP’s Mirza Fakhrul has expressed his dissatisfaction over the dialogue, this matters nothing, he is not happy because things did not go as per the prescription of his leader Khaleda. Fakhrul’s main demand is Khaleda’s release or lessening her punishment, but it is not possible at all because it is the legal issue”, Prof. Mamun added.
He said the financial crimes of the politicians is also considered from political view point, but it’s not fair, a criminal is a criminal whoever he or she is, they should not get any sympathy as a politician.
“Now-a-days politicization of economic and political crimes has become a tradition in our country but this should not be the norms; this tendency criminalizes the society. Main question is whether BNP has the right to exist as a political party”, Prof. Mamun added.
He said our civil society leaders, media and political parties together are trying to avert the main issue. BNP is recognized as a party, committing crime against the humanity because they are involved in the 21 August Grenade Attack. Even they have raised questions over some vital issues like the number of freedom fighters, or independence etc. They had also brought a party like ‘Jamaat’ into power, still our civil society and media are telling that without BNP it will not be an inclusive election, but why?
He further mentioned that during 2001 to 2006 and later in 2013-15 they have burnt 3000 people and at least 500 school-college buildings, we know that the Canadian Court had declared them as a Criminal party, so how can we forget all these?
Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government, M. Hafi
zuddin Khan said the dialogue has contributed to breaking a sort of deadlock that was going on for a long period of time.
“Prime Minister has broken the static position of the government about dialogue, Awami Leaders, its General Secretary, Obaidul Qader used to say always that no dialogue will take place or there is no necessity of dialogue etc., but finally it has taken place so this is a visible progress”, Mr. Khan added.
“In the past we have seen dialogue initiatives taken by Dr. Ninian, Taranco of UN or Prof. Dr. Rehman Sobhan but the initiatives were not successful. This time also it is not possible to say for sure what would be the outcome”, he said.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Dhaka, Prof. Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique said the dialogue happened due to the generosity of Prime Minister and Awami League President, Sheikh Hasina.
He said the political leaders of different parties have sat together and this itself is a big advancement. What will happen afterwards will be considered later as because there was no hope of dialogue at all. But that finally the exchange of views among the politicians has taken place is the cause of big happiness.
“The trust and belief among the politicians have to be strengthened because the dialogue or relationship will be possible basing upon the trust and positive viewpoint”, Dr. Siddique added.
He mentioned that the main demand of the ‘Oikkya Front’ was related to holding participatory or inclusive election, holding election processions, rallies freely so decision has already been taken regarding that, so progress is already visible and its hoped that more dialogue will take place where more issues can be resolved.
Masud A. Khan, Executive Director, ‘Better Bangladesh Foundation’ told Bangladesh Post, the dialogue process is a delicate issue, definitely a good initiative, it’s a good start for democratization but I don’t know whether it will be fruitful or not.
He said usually it is known that building a healthy relationship between the ruling party and opposition party is most essential for establishing democracy.
“Our previous experience is not good, but finally all the leaders have gathered around a single table, we just welcome it whole heartedly”, Mr. Khan added.
Dr. Shahed Imran said the dialogue is a good initiative, its expected in a democratic country. Positive political will is very important for making the dialogue a success.
He mentioned that the opposition alliance is weak and infirm of their purpose, which is a threat for the success of dialogue, so they first need to forge a strong unity among themselves.
” Another issue is that how far people will have trust and accept the ‘Oikkya Front’. Prime Minister said one dialogue is not enough so more dialogue will take place, so now it’s the responsibility of opposition front leaders to make them able to hold dialogue and make it successful”, Dr. Shahed added.