By Sajjad Shaukat
Renowned political thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud and falsehood which become the principles of political morality. In one way or the other, they also follow these tactics in seeking revenge to fulfill their selfish aims. But such a sinister politics was replaced by new trends such as fair-dealings, forgiveness, reconciliation and economic development.
In this regard, former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was recently buried in his native town with great respect and grace under the shadow of dripping tears and mourning—recalling his underlined message that constructs like reconciliation and clemency were much superior and morally sound than taking revenge, while pursuing the policies of friction. His departure brought end of a legend who taught world’s politicians to develop moral courage and will power to demonstrate reconciliation and compassion for others. He rejected the mundane approach to undertake harsh decisions driven by crude sense of retribution and foul practice of violence. All peace-loving people of the world feel pride in paying tributes to Nelson Mandela.
Unfortunately in Bangladesh, it has become difficult to pay homage to Nelson Mandela because by acting upon the immoral activities of the past theorists, and in order to address old grievances of Awami League, the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid hurriedly executed the death penalty of a political opponent, Abdul Quader Mullah-leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jl). Thus, she has created an atmosphere of hatred, vengeance and conflict.
Obsessed with strong motives of revenge and political expediency, Bangladesh government hanged Quader Mullah by disregarding the appeals of the UN Secretary General, human rights organizations and objections, raised by law experts on the question of fair trial and skewed judgment. These entities seriously pointed fingers at even-handedness of the trial, quality of evidence, while questioning the fairness of justice and vengeance by the government and judiciary in Bangladesh.
However, real causes behind the execution of Abdul Quader Mullah are quite different from those of the obvious ones. In this respect, in her desire to appease India, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid’s government has executed Jl leader on charges for which only rustic and speculative evidence was used, which is against the spirit of proving a charge. While, evidence should be beyond any reasonable doubt especially when it is the question of life and death, but when political government and judiciary form a nexus, such blunders appear as the outcome which amounts to judicial murder. So, both the executive and the judicial bodies would not be able to remove such dirty spots from their politico-judiciary history sheet.
In this context, Prime Minister Hasina and its like-minded clique of judiciary have derived the sadistic pleasure and emotional gratification in swift elimination of a political rival, but the entire scheme uncovered insular mindedness and narrow mentality of the Bangladesh leadership. The ruling party, Awami League has failed to perform well during its term of governance, and has brought about political instability, social strife and financial problems in the country. Owing to incompetence and flawed policies, Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has totally failed in resolving the problems of the impoverished masses. Therefore, she is generally known as an Indian puppet. Now, Awami League desires to win the forthcoming elections on the basis of hate-vote and vindictive politics.
Notably, to keep her in power, Prime Minister Hasina amended the constitution for the holding of elections under a non-party set up and the opposition has accused her for manipulating the electoral process to establish a one party state. The fifteen party opposition alliance led by Begum Khalida Zia did not file nominations for the January 5 polls, sticking to their stance of boycotting the elections over the failure of Hasina Wajid to form a neutral interim government. It is feared that the whimsical decisions of the leadership and not listening to the opposition demand, would lead to more bloodshed in that poor country.
In fact, since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came into power, India has been employing various tactics to entrap Bangladesh by exploiting her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests. In this context, Prime Minister Hasina has been pursuing Indian directions by conducting anti-Pakistan campaign. Therefore, after passing of 42 years to the events of 1971, which resulted into the separation of East Pakistan, Abdul Quader was hanged because of his loyalty with Pakistan. Till the very end before creation of Bangladesh, he remained supporter of a united Pakistan and today every Pakistani is saddened on his death.
When Pakistan’s National Assembly expressed concern over the execution of Quader Mullah, with the backing of Bangladesh government, a majority of the workers of Awami League and Bengali Hindus continued demonstrating outside the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, demanding the expulsion of the Pakistani envoy. While chanting anti-Pakistani slogans, officially-arranged protesters in Bangladesh also burnt Pakistan’s flag.
In this connection, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement that Quader Mullah’s execution was internal matter of Bangladesh which “is our neighbouring Islamic country…Bangladesh should avoid blame game and try to further strengthen relations with Pakistan.”
But, by neglecting Islamabad’s positive approach, Bangladesh government has continued its anti-Pakistan approach to please India. It could be judged from the statement of Prime Minister Hasina Wajid who vocally said, “Bangladesh has no room for the people loving Pakistan.”
On the other side, the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah led to widespread violent protests by the opposition activists, which resulted into the deaths of more than 40 people, as police shoot those who raised their voice against the policies of Hasina Wajid government.
Nevertheless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been following pro-Indian policies. In this context, on the secret insistence of India, unlike the past years, a ceremony was held in Dhaka on March 24, 2013, with full pump and show to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award,’ in relation to the separation of East Pakistan. For this aim, several foreign friends who included various institutions and media anchors from various countries, particularly India were invited. The main purpose behind was to distort the image of Pakistan and its armed forces regarding alleged atrocities, committed against the Bengalis. Notably, on the instruction of New Delhi, in December, 2012, Prime Minister Hasina had refused to attend D-8 conference in Islamabad unless Pakistan tendered apology for the alleged genocide of Bengalis.
In the recent past, a book titled, “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: The Unfinished Memoirs” written by the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as his autobiography has been simultaneously released in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Without grasping reality, the book misconceived that it was not Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bengalis who wanted to break up Pakistan, but actually created Pakistan. In fact, the political intrigues and blunders of military dictators broke up Pakistan—Majib was arrested and a military operation started in East Pakistan. Bengalis were massacred and their women were raped.
While a famous Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggerations of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000 while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of Punjabis, Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis.
Majib was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. He had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini, established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehman’s general elections in 1970.
Reliable sources indicate that Ms. Hasina directed her staff to close the chapter of water and border conflicts with India. Besides, the Awami League has given transit trade facilities to Bharat—a move which has been resisted by the Bangladeshi patriots for the past several decades. In this respect, a writer has rightly said, “Hasina Wajid again started Honey Moon Period of relationship with India.”
Besides, by ignoring public protests and strikes by students and Islamic parties due to pro-Indian tilt, P.M. Hasina Wajid has given secular orientation to the country by purging the society from religious touch. She has issued instructions for the removal of some Islamic books from academic courses.
Particularly, a survey conducted by a local agency pointed out that 98% Bangladeshis are not ready to leave Islamic culture. They also hate undue interference of India in Bangladesh’s affairs.
Consequently, we cannot see Abdul Quader Mullah’s execution in isolation, as it is part of real causes which prove that Banladeshi Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has been appeasing Indian leaders by targeting Pakistan, while playing wicked politics of revulsion, division and discord.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations