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Khaleda Zia’s Vision 2030
Khaleda Zia’s Vision 2030
‘Vision 2030’ announced by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on May 10, 2017 is a copycat idea taken from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Vision 2021 and Vision 2041. The title, Vision 2030, has also been copied since Sheikh Hasina has been successful in achieving her vision to a large extent. By doing so, Khaleda Zia thought she could hoodwink the people into believing that her party BNP will be able to deliver on her so-called vision.

Despite being in power for most of the time since 1975 the BNP never proposed anything called a ‘Vision’ but executed an agenda to ruin Bangladesh, especially the political system through secret killings and by indulging in wide-spread corruption. The last BNP rule (2001-06) was an ostensible demonstration of how Islamic nationalism can be used as a guard for the worst form of corruption the country has ever witnessed.

 

In the ‘Vision’ Khaleda Zia stated that her party will ensure that all views including minority ones are well protected. She also stated that her party wants to put an end to the culture of political vengeance and retaliation. It is mentioned that her party wants to ensure peaceful cohabitation of people of all faiths. But BNP’s past records in this regard tell an altogether different story.

 

Recently BNP provided assistance to its ally Jamaat when it launched a series of attacks, predominantly targeting Hindus, on households, businesses and places of worship following the war crimes verdicts against top Jamaat leaders. Moreover, both BNP and Jamaat launched combined attacks on Awami League supporters and Hindus during the January 5, 2014 election. In the run-up to that election and in its immediate aftermath, hundreds of innocent people became victims to the terrorism of BNP-Jamaat.
During Khaleda Zia’s last stint in power, more than 25,000 Awami League leaders and workers were killed simply for being the opposition to BNP. A massive retaliation was unleashed against Awami League leaders, workers and minorities. Apart from looting and attacks on private properties, there were at least 100 incidents of rape against Awami league supporting women and religious minorities. A judicial probe in 2009 found involvement of more than 26,000 BNP cadres and its ally Jamaat in these atrocities.

 

Recently BNP provided assistance to its ally Jamaat when it launched a series of attacks, predominantly targeting Hindus, on households, businesses and places of worship following the war crimes verdicts against top Jamaat leaders. Moreover, both BNP and Jamaat launched combined attacks on Awami League supporters and Hindus during the January 5, 2014 election. In the run-up to that election and in its immediate aftermath, hundreds of innocent people became victims to the terrorism of BNP-Jamaat. 

 

From January 2015 onward the BNP-Jamaat combine unleashed another reign of terror killing 231 people through arson and petrol bomb attack and injuring 1,180 people through burning. Arson attacks were conducted to burn 2,903 cars, 18 rail carriages and 8 passenger water vessels. Through targeted attacks, 70 government offices were vandalized/destroyed and 6 land offices were burnt.

 

BNP’s Vision makes no mention of these records, let alone apologizing for them.

 

This Vision wants to limit the powers of the Prime Minister and bring balance in executive exercise of powers. It has no suggestions to offer about how this has to be achieved. In parliamentary form of democracy it is always the Prime Minister who enjoys more power than anybody else in the chain of statecraft.

 

Khaleda Zia’s Vision further says that BNP wants to make Parliament the center of power in a democracy. BNP’s recent records as both Government and Opposition say a different story. In the ninth parliament the party created a record by boycotting 342 working parliamentary sessions out of 418 days as the main opposition party. The party boycotted the tenth election held in 2014. There is no reason to think that BNP would act differently next time given that the same leadership and party structure is in place with strings pulled by the party’s fugitive Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman from London.

 

BNP’s Vision wants to reform the changes brought in to the Constitution by the Awami League, particularly the abolition of the Caretaker government system. BNP will do well to remember that this particular change followed a verdict from the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, where this system was deemed unconstitutional.

 

This Vision makes it clear that the BNP would seek to prioritize the use of ‘referendums’. The people of Bangladesh have bitter memories the last time BNP made widespread use of referendums with dubious turnouts, particularly during the rule of its founder Ziaur Rahman who was also the country’s first military dictator.

 

BNP’s Vision also talks about ‘Bangladeshi nationalism as an alternative of Bengali nationalism’. Bengali nationalism was at the center of the liberation war and is a basic tenet of the Constitution of Bangladesh. It is not clear why Bengali nationalism has to be replaced to make a ‘more inclusive society’. It seems to be an ulterior agenda to dilute one of the principal tenets of the liberation war.

 

After the murder of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 when ‘Bangladeshi nationalism’ was introduced by Ziaur Rahman, all pro-Pak and anti-liberation elements became champions of Bangladeshi nationalism while pro-liberation secular forces professing Bengali nationalism came to be branded as Indian agents. ‘Jai Bangla’ slogan, which became a symbol of nationalism and inspired millions of freedom fighters irrespective of religion, caste and creed to make supreme sacrifices for independence of the country, was discarded by Ziaur Rahman and in its place a new slogan ‘Bangladesh Zindabad’ was introduced on the pattern of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.

BNP’s Vision talks about impunity for crimes. This is indeed ludicrous. It is the same party which repealed the Collaborators Act and stopped the trials of the war criminals in 1975, provided legal indemnity to the killers of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and made well-known war criminals and war crimes collaborators key players in the state including ministerial positions.

 

BNP’s Vision talks about impunity for crimes. This is indeed ludicrous.  It is the same party which repealed the Collaborators Act and stopped the trials of the war criminals in 1975, provided legal indemnity to the killers of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and made well-known war criminals and war crimes collaborators key players in the state including ministerial positions.

 

There is a cause for alarm as BNP wants to compile a list of martyrs from the 1971 liberation war. Khaleda Zia and other senior BNP leaders have in the recent past made highly objectionable remarks about the number of martyrs. Their comments are similar to those made by Pakistan government and ISI and the collaborators of war crimes Jamaat. In such a situation it is difficult to imagine what their intention are. Does the party have any bona fide desire to do something worthwhile for the martyrs and their families? Very difficult even to imagine.




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