Editorial Desk :
The new US policy of visa cancellation is quite innovative and it has come as a great relief to our people in the hope that the government officials will not take the risk of rigging elections because punishment will be meted out not just to them directly involved but their immediate family members as well. In the past manipulating the election results in favour of the government was all benefit and no risk for them.
The assessment of the US government is so right that in Bangladesh the government officials of various sections are very much party to stealing election and use of state terrorism against the people to keep them in constant fear.
The government has been surviving with the help of corrupt ones to be found in every branch of the government. One view is that there are high stakeholders within the machinery of the government and the prime minister is not alone to decide the issue of survival of the present government. Much will depend on the role of such stakeholders who gained enormously.
Finding the situation uncertain these stakeholders may think it is time for retreat and not suitable for confrontation. Whatever be the situation no one will like to expose now as opposing free and fair election, although the last two general elections were not at all free.
The politics of killing and mayhem was not our people’s politics. It was not expected that the birth of Bangladesh would mean the demise of democracy.
The people who stayed in the country and suffered inhumanly in the hands of the beastly Pakistan army in the last days of united Pakistan were the worst victims of the wrongdoings of the government during those days and lost their voice in the affairs of the country.
But those who fled the country making it easier for Pakistan to commit atrocities on our people are in the front seat of running the country as heroes of liberating us.
But the birth of Bangladesh should not have meant the denial of democracy for which our people and founding leaders of Awami League together struggled hard and long.
In Bangladesh the leaders of Awami League found it convenient to put an end to democracy for remaining in power lifelong without holding free and fair elections.
The government has changed the Constitution for creating constitutional impediment for free and fair election. The removal of this constitutional impediment would have shown good intention of the government to facilitate free election. But that is not going to happen and that is what worries us most.
The democratic process should unite us for peace and togetherness. There should be the realisation that the politics of violence and confrontation to avoid free election cannot go on especially when the government itself has built the constitutional barrier against popular election.
If the government is sure about its popularity then there should not be any objection to face free and fair elections.
Nobody is saying that power should be transferred in favour of any party. The people should be allowed to choose the party they trust to form the government.
All along we have been reminding the Awami League government not to deviate from the democratic ideology for which its founding leaders fought and established it as the largest democratic party in Pakistan.
We hope as a result of America’s new visa restrictions, tangible change in political ambience will take place. There will be restraint in the use of violence by the police and other law enforcement agencies.
It has to be said in clear terms that to save free elections does not mean saving democracy. Free elections must be the foundation of democratic system of government. It is the reality that we do not have political leaders in either of the two largest parties with clear understanding of what democracy is and how to make it functional.
The wrong-headed opportunists have been using the leaders of the two major political parties wrongfully to serve best the vested group interest.
It is admitted that there is democratic deficiency in both the major political parties, yet the people have to choose between them as a better alternative. The people must have the protection of the rule of law and peaceful change of government in compliance with the wishes of the people to whom the country belongs.
The eminent British statesman Churchill reminded everybody that democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.
Yes, our people are unlucky for not having able political leadership. It is also unfortunate that the greedy educated people can do anything and everything for the satisfaction of their greed. That is why the urgent need is to disable them from public life. Politics must not be a money-making business. The task of politicians is not going after money!