News analysis: Foreign diplomats are worried: Crisis is for democracy

The reason for the activities of the foreign diplomats is understandable. They do not see peace is possible on the basis of an election won forcefully by the government without caring for the need of the opposition or people’s vote. It is not important that the BNP, the main opposition party has been antagonistic, what is important is that the people have been denied their right to choose their government. The diplomats know that such a situation cannot be helpful for the government to maintain law and order. The need is to have an acceptable and credible election to the people and the world.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran called on BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office in the city on Thursday evening.
Different issues of bilateral interests were discussed at the meeting. The issues include the prevailing political situation in Bangladesh, the next general election and post-election violence against minority communities, meeting sources said.
It was the first meeting between Khaleda Zia and the Indian Envoy after the 10th Parliamentary elections were held on January 5 amid boycott by BNP and its alliance partners.
BNP vice chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Chairperson’s advisers Reaz Rahman and Sabihuddin Ahmed also attended the meeting. The meeting began at about 8:15 pm and was in progress till the time of filing the report at 9:00 pm.
Envoys representing different countries including the USA, UK, EU, Canada, China and also Saudi Arabia met Begum Zia during the last few days following the January 5 farcical elections. Most of the foreign diplomats told the media after talks with Begum Zia that both sides should sit for talks as early as possible to discuss ways and means to go for fresh elections reflecting hopes and wishes of the people.
The people, could not choose their representatives in the January 5 elections as out of 300 MPs, 153 were elected unopposed. Becoming elected unopposed is seen as also against the spirit of the democratic Constitution. This time more than half of the country’s population were deprived of such right to choose democratically their government.
Where lies the duplicity is to deny that election is a cause only between parties. The people have every reason to feel deprived and angry. Democratic election has a legitimacy of its own as because the issue of sovereignty of the people is important.
The sorry and shameful aspect is a section of our educated people are selfish opportunists who think that the country does not belong to the people. They are interested how best to gain personally. And as opportunists they are political activists without being political.
When the diplomats based in Dhaka are showing their concern over the prevailing political crisis centering the just held farcical elections, which indeed is a welcome move. It is a matter of shame that the educated and opportunistic people of our country remain unconcerned and also uninvolved in the affairs of the country. Such indifference of our people is seen as nothing but shrugging off their responsibility to the country to which they belong.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson on January 8 met Begum Zia. Voicing its displeasure over the low turnout in the January 5 Parliamentary elections, the UK has urged the government and all political parties to act for sake of the people of Bangladesh.
Begum Khaleda Zia and the British envoy exchanged their views on the latest political situation, post election development and other mutual interest of the two countries.
Speaking on the Bangladesh election, British Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi earlier said, “Bangladesh is an important partner for the UK and we continue to support its people in their aspirations for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future.”
We see very little hope that the Western diplomats will succeed, because the game is deeper and the country is being led to one party government. The plan was tried once before in 1975. There will be no opposition in the country, there will be no independent judiciary or the press independence.
So the one-sided election victory is not only a matter of free election but a matter of survival of the fragile democracy.

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