Why the AL Government is so unpopular at present?

                        -Dr. Oli Ahmad, Bir Blkram, Member of Parliament

                          President, L D P 

In fulfilling the people’s demands, the present government has been appallingly unsuccessful over the last three years. Instances such as the:- ? 10 trucks arms haul in Chittagong, ? grenade attack on 21 August, ? Ramna Batamul attack, ? actual happenings of BDR mutiny, ? internal rifts within the ruling party, ? unprecedented deterioration of law and order in last 40 years, ? judiciary loosing independence and impartiality, ? amendment of the Constitution; ? price hike of essential commodities; ? severe crisis in power and gas sector; ? Jail killing case and trial of the liberation war criminals; ? withdrawal of corruption and criminal cases against ruling party leaders and activists (misuse of presidential pardon to let go of convicted murderers even), ? Government is planning to allow transit to India and use of Ctg. port by taking loan from them; ? playing around with proposed Asian Highways; ? conflicting Women Policy; and ? turning Anti?corruption commission into a party commission for political vendetta have rendered unmanageable dimensions for the present government.

Present Mohajot Government is passing its 3rd year and has announced three ‘Hopeless’ budgets. They have to realise that now they must face the criticism of the people. They must understand the peoples need and language. They can not be detached. The main focus of a democratic government should be to identify the demand of the nation as well as its people. Then they have to search the possible alternate solutions of those problems and choose the best path to take forward the nation economically. Currently the nation is held hostage by corrupts, terrorists, toll collectors, hooligans, brokers and middlemen. They have to be obliterated. The role of a government is to ensure economic as well as social security of every citizen. 

About 19 new fronts have been opened by the present government in last three years. Most of them may not be resolved within their present tenure. Moreover some of them are being addressed in questionable manner, for example: 

  1. BDR mutiny/ killing: The real mystery behind the scene is yet undisclosed.
  2. 10 Trucks Arms haul in Chittagong: no conclusion reached, posing questions on the inquiry process.
  3. 21 August Grenade attack: Trial of this sensational case is yet to be started. Government is arrogant and trying to take revenge from the opposition leaders.
  4. Grenade attack at Ramna Batamul: It is as same as 21 August Grenade attacked case.
  5. Trial of Liberation War criminal; this is a good initiative of the present government as it is a real demand of our nation since 1972. But there must be transparency, accountability and internationally acceptable. It must not be used for political revenge.
  6. Amendment of the Constitution: Any amendment of the constitution must be in the public interest. The recent 15th amendment of the Constitution is conflicting from different angles. Our nation is born through a War of liberation in 1971. Most of our population is Muslim. Going against the religious sentiments of the majority is unacceptable. The supreme law of the country, the Constitution of a Muslim majority nation must not have any article or provision which might be in conflict with The Holy Quran or Sunnah and at the same time we need to understand the sentiments of the people of other religion. Moreover the wrong decision on the Caretaker Government is suicidal. By their brute majority the government has done this misdeed.
  7. Local Govt. Election: In local elections incidents of unrest, injury and killings have broken all past record. Votes have been bought in an unprecedented manner.
  8. Price hike and Inflation: The prices of essential commodities are getting out of reach of the common people day by day. Government has totally failed to control this artificial inflation. Price hike of essentials is the highest in past 40 years. If this situation is continued, the low income group like poor employees, manual labourers, landless people, small traders and also the farmers would loose everything. From the look of things the inflation rate is likely to go up higher. This problem should be given the highest priority by the government.

(a)    Foreign and Local investment must be facilitated to increase employment and also to grow the Income generating activities.

(b)    Rate of ADP implementation should be increased, as Govt. has not been able to achieve the target in 2010-2011 fiscal years.

(c)    Inflation rate must be decreased; the exchange rate of taka must be contained as against US dollar.

(d)    Private investments must not be disturbed or discouraged by higher interest rates.

  1. Share Market Scandal: About 20,000 crore taka have been looted from the share market in the year 2011. The same incident had occurred during the last regime of Awami league government in 1996. 4.5 million people are directly affected and lost their hard earned capital. The list of the culprits is already published in the daily newspaper on 08th April 2011. But the government does not pay any attention to it due to conflicting self interest. It raises the question of how much the government itself is involved in this scandle.
  2. Crisis over Power and Gas: The crisis over the sector is a continuous problem of the present government. They could not keep their election commitment of resolving this within the shortest possible period. Load shedding is increasing day by day. Newly constructed factories could not be started, and some old ones are shutting down without gas. Many industries are now bankrupt. Govt. initiative in the last three years is insufficient. Inexperienced and unqualified personnel can not resolve this issue. Honest and efficient individuals must be engaged. Also, the price hike of gas, fuel and CNG has resulted in raised public transport charges and affected most of the industry.
  3. Investment: Private investment and FDI’s are going down to nil. There are some investments in unproductive sector which is not conducive for achieving higher economic growth rate.
  4. Liquidity crisis in money market: Most of the financial institution are running with liquidity crisis, ref; reports on newspaper on 06 April 2011. Yet government is planning to give permissions for new private banks.
  5. Decreasing value of Taka: In the last three years the exchange rate of dollar against taka has increased by over 13 taka. Whereas globally price of dollar has gone down. Our import costs have gone up, pushing up inflation even further. As many articles published in national dailies indicate.
  6. Unemployment: This problem is growing day by day. Moreover returns of labourers from abroad especially the Middle East is adding to the crisis.
  7. Decreasing overseas employment: Bangladesh is loosing overseas employment opportunities. Political unrests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria and all over Middle East are narrowing the prospects. Government is ineffective in regaining these markets. Many have returned from Malaysia also.

(a)    Bangladesh labours are barred in KSA, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Libya, and Malaysia in recent years. Manpower from India, Philippines, Nepal and Sri-Lanka are given priority over Bangladesh. Even their salaries are higher than Bangladeshi labours. This raises questions over the role of the government, concerned ministries and our foreign embassies. Do they not realize that our competitors are slowly capturing the market threatening our main sector of foreign currency earning?

(b)    Only the Bangladeshi people can not change their service in the Middle East. This is not the case for other nationals.

(c)    In KSA once the children are 18 yrs old they are forcibly sent back home. And it is very difficult for parents to maintain family in two places, forcing many to repatriate all together. However this law is not applied to other countries and our government is yet to address this. We need to resolve the problem through diplomatic channel.

(d)    In consideration of their economic contribution the government should have reserve quotas in job and education for children of our foreign remittance earners.

  1. Textile Sector: As many published daily articles have indicated the textile and spinning industry is at the verge of bankruptcy and destruction. Various protective measures including restricting entry of Indian yarn stopping export of ?Jhut? fabric should be considered. True loyalty of our government in facing this issue is questionable at best.
  2. Deterioration of law and order: People are in complete lack of security due to deterioration of law and order situation in the whole country. Crimes like extra judicial killing, extortion, robbery, political killings, dacoity, and political clash are on a rising trend. Nearly everyday there is a sensational murder in some corner of the country. A situation of complete lawlessness is beyond the control of law enforcing agencies.

(a)    Extra judicial killings: in 2010 on an average one death caused by extra judicial killing every three days in 2010. 38 people have died in the custody of law enforcing agencies in the first three months alone. Growing trend of abduction (of mostly politicians) allegedly by plain clothed law enforces with their victims dead bodies. Later on surfacing on rivers or going missing.

(b)    Clash in educational institutions: government has failed to stop chaos in various educational institutes. Most of it is caused by Chatra League due to internal clashes and tender related violence. On 27th April 2011 news on national dailies – open gun fires, bomb explosions and violent clash between two feuding groups of Chatra League in Mohsin Hall of Dhaka University. 11 expelled and 75 injured.

(c)    Open use of illegal arms: 9th April 2011, reported on national dailies- Over 7 thousand fake gun licenses. Firearms being used in illegal activities.

(d)    Illegal arms from abroad: 11th April 2011, reported on national dailies- every year illegal firearms worth over 500 crore is entering Bangladesh through land, sea and air ports. On 19th May 2011, published on national daily – “Vibrant illegal arms trade in Jessore”. “Bullets recovered in Sherpur border”. On 21st April 2011- “huge arms haul imported from America”.

(e)    Robbery by Law enforcers: Law enforcing agents are themselves engaging in criminal activities. 2nd April 2011, reported on a national daily – Ladies market in motijheel foot path, everyday 2,50,000 taka given to local police. On 27th April 2011, reported on national daily- police receive hundreds of thousands everyday from footpath shops in Sylhet. On 4th May 2011, reported on national daily- police caught while conducting robbery in Birganj of Dinajpur zilla. Arson attack on local police station and five police suspended.

(f)     Kidnapping incidents: On4th May 2011, reported on national daily- Everywhere kidnapping terror, over 200 killed in last 4 months.

(g)    Violence against women: violence against women on alarming rise. Last year 625 rapes. 31 suicides from harassment of eve teasing. Reported case of 394 females tortured over dowry. 137 attacked by acid.

(h)    Abuse of drug: young generation is on the verge of destruction from drug culture. To finance their habit they are turning to criminal activities like robbery, extortion etc. Use of illegal firearms causing many deaths in drug related turf wars. On 25th May 2011, reported on national dailies- “10 MP vehicles with MP stickers used for drug trafficking. 7 from ruling party” Various government agency vehicles are also used for such purpose allegedly.

(i)      Extortion by ruling party hooligans: On 14th April 2011, reported on national dailies- trees worth millions stolen by government cadres in Nazirpur. On 5th May 2011, reported on national dailies- Footpath trade worth over 700 crore being controlled by govt cadre. In Khulna contractual job worth 11 crore distributed among govt cadres. On 8th May 2011- most leaders of Chatra League involved in tender manipulation.

(j)      Political killings: 19th May 2011, reported on dailies – political killings on the rise. Police in dilemma over investigation. Over 2000 killings in last 28 months.

(k)    Summary of law and order condition in 2011. (Published in the newspaper)

(1)    Killing ? 9104         

(2)    Cross fire ? 404     

(3)    Secret killing ? 71

(4)    Political killing ? 600

(5)    Withdrawn cases of corruption, murder, looting, extortion & arms of Government party leaders and workers ? 7000.

(6)    Kidnapping ? 1280.

  1. Nepotism of Public Administration: Public administration becomes frozen due to nepotism and unprecedented political polarization. It is impossible to ensure good governance by the political people in the administration. Power can not be prolonged in this manner.
  2. Interference on Local government: On 13th April 2011, reported on national daily- “Police and intelligence agencies active in the field to gather information on possible UP election candidates”.
  3. Ineffective Anti Corruption Commission: Without an effective Anti Corruption Commission a country can not ensure the transparency and accountability of a government. But by promulgating ineffective law our Anti Corruption Commission has become a “Toothless Tiger.” ACC has to be strengthened, with the power to call in Prime Minister even for questioning. Below are few publications in national dailies- On 2nd April 2011 “Crores siphoned from NGO funds for the disabled”. On 10th April 2011- “150 crore worth foreign currency missing from customs custody. Previously 105 Kg of Heroine went missing”. On 16th April 2011- “Extortion in the name of ACC”.
  4. Contradictory Judiciary System: Government is yielding the judiciary system as a tool for political oppression. They are politicizing it and common people are denied fair justice. Below are few headlines from national dailies- On 17th April 2011- “Open interference on Judiciary”. On 19th May 2011 – Chief Justice Khairul Huq is burying the judicial department. All past records of irregularity broken. Judiciary in dilemma and disrepute”.
  5. Anarchy on Public Transport sector: There is no control over the Public transport sector. Road accidents, broken traffic system, uncontrolled fare and corruption have affected people’s daily life. Crippled by severe traffic jams and hazardous road conditions – road journeys are no longer safe. Those appointed to solve the problem are busy in corruption. Below are reports from national dailies. On 4th April 2011- “police extortion through token system on all highways”. “BRTA officials are millionaires through help of middlemen”. On 11th April 2011- “60 crore from vehicle registration in the pockets of officials”.
  6. Civil Aviation: Some published headlines from national dailies- On 4th April 2011- “In two months due to wrong decision Biman looses 100’s of crores. Passenger less then half’. On 28th May 2011-“300 crore loss in development project. For road construction in Shahjalal airport bricks, sand and cement to come from Denmark. In retendering loss of additional 278 crore”.
  7. Economic mismanagement, failure to achieve, annual development target, hooliganism and corruption in every spare of life have ruined the dream of the people.    
  8. Environment:

(a)    Illegal Brick factories- illegal brick factories are being built everywhere. Effecting arable land and the environment. No one paying any heed to rule and regulations or government directives.

(b)    Cutting of hills: to preserve the balance of nature, cutting of hills must be prevented. Government has failed to take effective measures. In fact many ruling party leaders are involved in this along with sand excavation from river beds.

  1. Social unrest: Social unrest is increasing day by day. It is not a good sign for any nation.
  2. Bangladesh- India relationship: The betterment of India-Bangladesh relationship lies only on words rather than on reality.

(a)    On regular basis in the border region our Bangladeshi People are being killed by B5F.

(b)    Border disputes and sea boundaries: This issue has been pending for last 40 years. Although Bangladesh returned India’s land on 1974 we are still yet to receive our share back from India.

(c)    Illegal arms and drugs are coming through the borders.

(d)    Water sharing of the Ganges and other rivers. We are deprived of our fair share.

(e)    Transit: To develop infrastructure for providing transit we have taken 1000 crore as loan with interest. Projects to be approved by India. This is quite shameful for us considering there was no immediate need of such projects for our own use.

(f)     Bangladesh- India friendship: Has to be on equal and respectable terms. Our own interest has to take precedence always. A cordial and friendly relation is desired between neighbors. 

  1. ‘Digital Bangladesh, Vision 2021’: Before the national election ‘Mohajot’ had shown a dream ‘Vision 2021’ which is totally an imagination of so called ‘Awami Think Tankers’. They have failed to deliver because of inner party conflicts and choosing unqualified people to carry out the tasks. Wheels of administration are stagnant in both central and field level. Implementation of PM’s commitments is in dire condition. Govt.’s priority projects have so far failed. Inefficient Ministers and bureaucrats are slowing down the pace of their so called “changing times”. It will be no surprise if people soon demand changing of government. Time is running out and government is busy inventing new problems and issues. Their popularity is nearly at its lowest. By oppressing the opposition the government is trying to hide its own shortcomings and failures. They are failing to realize that, they are slowly being surrounded by a more unified opposition. And with people increasingly vocalizing their resentments and openly criticizing the government, any movement against them would quickly gain momentum. Their escape route is narrowing and are very much likely to topple over from their own weight.

Needs to address the following for progress & prosperity of the Country. 

1.      Violation of Human rights.

2.      Misuse of power for personal gain by political leaders & their family members.

3.      Stop harassing of opposition political party leaders/ workers. We have to stop polities of revenge and hatred. Polities of revenge must be stopped. Political cases of all opposition leaders must be withdrawn to ensure level playing field.

4.      Reorganising of Higher judiciary.

5.      Free public administration from party politics.

6.      Effective Anticorruption Commission free from the control of the Government & in particular the Prime Minister.

7.      Independent and effective Election Commission free from the control of the Government & in particular the Prime Minister.

8.      Equal application of law for all. Government has withdrawn the corruption and arms cases of their leaders and workers. But the Government did not withdraw the cases of opposition leaders and workers. (2007-2008)

9.      The present Government filing new false cases against opposition leaders all most every day and not allowing to carryout political activities freely. This practice must be stopped.

10.  There is no democracy in the country. We must established democracy at all level.

11.  Big leaders have occupied the position because they desire it & not deserve it. We got to come out of this.

12.  We need to continue and convince India to resolve the minor irritation between our two countries. We have no major issues with them. Strong & peaceful Bangladesh is good for India & others.

                                   Global terrorism and its remedies 

Dr. Oli Ahmad, Bir Bikram, MP

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, but it has taken a central, if not the pre-eminent, role at the global level as one of the main threats to international peace and security in the world today. Apart from the dramatic and traumatic events that saw the end of the Cold war, no other event has had such a profound impact globally as the terrorist attacks in New-York and Washington, D.C. on 11 September 2001.With the involvement of the American and coalition forces against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, South Asia emerged as the epicenter of the war against terrorism immediately afterwards. Bangladesh, where I?m from, is strategically situated in South Asia. It?s a country, which is small in size, but large in population, coupled with economic deprivations and backwardness in education, it?s also unsurprisingly vulnerable to terrorism, in more ways than one. In the last two-three years, a few militant organizations had educational, motivational and partly organizational support from Muslims outside of Bangladesh. They had inspirational support from the success, which Maoist guerillas have gained in neighbouring countries.

For the sake of easy discussion, one must acknowledge the difficulty of defining terrorism in a manner or in a language acceptable to all. I will not insist on arriving at a definition right now, instead, I will randomly quote a few dates/ events from a Historical Dictionary of Terrorism to demonstrate the difficulty in defining ?terrorism?.

a)                          A.D. 66-70. Jewish nationalist zealot (Sicarii) movement creates mass insurrection in Roman province of Judea, leading to Roman destruction of Jerusalem and second Temple and mass suicide of zealors besieged at Masada fortress.

b)                         A. D. 1090-1256. The Isma?ili Fedayeen cult of ? assassins? conducts a terror campaign against the religious and political establishment of the Abbasid Islamic Empire until the Mongol invaders exterminated the cult.

c)                           A.D. 1793 (May). French revolutionary committee of Public Safety undertaking purge of real and suspected enemies of the revolution, leading to 300,000 arbitrary arrests and 17,000 executions.

d)                        A.D. 1886 (May 4). In Hay market Square, Chicago, while 180 police confronted 1,300 workers protesting for an eight-hour workday, a bomb exploded, killing eight and woundering many others. Police opened fire on the protestors triggering a riot in which at least seven were killed and about a hundred others injured.

e)                          A.D. 1901 (September- 1902 March). An American, Ellen M. Stone, is kidnapped by the Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and held for ransom of $ 66,000. After the U.S. government refused to pay this ransom, Stone?s sponsoring organization raised and paid the required sum.

f)                           A.D. 1910 (October 1). During labor strike the office building of the anti- Union Los Angeles Times was dynamited and erupted into flames due to severed gas mains. At least 20 were disabled due to the explosion and resulting fire.

g)                           A.D. 1939 (January- 1940 February). Irish Republican Army carries out first major bombing campaign within England proper with over 50 bombings of public places within a 13 month period.

h)                           A.D. 1954 (March 1). Four Puerto Rican nationalists open fire on House of Representatives from visitor?s gallery, wounding five representatives. All four captured by security guards.

i)                             A.D. 1968 (August 28). Guatemalan Rebel Armed Forces gunmen assassinate U.S. Ambassador John Gordon Main in Guatemala City, the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty.

j)                            A.D. 1970 (September 6- 9). PFLP terrorists hijack five commercial airliners to Dawson?s Field, outside Amman, Jordan, and hold 400 hostages. Three- week crisis provokes Jordanian government to expel Palestinian guerrilla groups in an armed confrontation, an event recalled by Palestinians as ? Black September?.

k)                          A.D. 1970 (October 5). Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ) terrorists kidnap James Cross, British trade commissioner to Quebec.

l)                             A.D. 1976 (September 10). Six Croatian nationalists hijack a TWA 727 New York to Chicago flight, ultimately to Paris. The hijackers demand publication of a manifesto for the release of the passengers.

m)                         A.D. 1978 (May 25). ? Unabomber? Theodore J. Kaczynski begins a 17- year mail bombing campaign directed at academics and businessmen resulting in 3 deaths and 23 maiming until his arrest on 3 April 1996 following his final bombing on 24 April 1995.

n)                           A.D. 1996 (December 17). Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement terrorists seize Japanese ambassador?s residence in Lima, Peru, during diplomatic reception taking 500 hostages. By New Year?s Day only 81 hostages remained, the others having been released. Peruvian police stormed the compound on 22 April 1997 freeing hostages and killing all of the terrorists.

o)                         A.D. 2000 (January 21). Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) made two car bombings in Madrid, killing an army officer and wounding bystanders, so ending a cease-fire ETA had declared on 16 September 1998.

p)                         A.D. 2001 (September 11). Suicide bombers hijacked four American domestic flights, crashing one into World Trade Center north tower and another into the south tower, and another into the east side of the Pentagon. The fourth flight crashed following apparent struggle between hijackers and passengers. At least 4,304 were killed at the World Trade Center and 125 killed at the Pentagon. Altogether all 19 hijackers along with 238 passengers also perished in this attack.

What Winston Churchill once said about Communism in the erstwhile Soviet Union could also be applied to terrorism today. Despite the fact that terrorism is the most written about subject in the world in recent days, it is still an ?enigma? wrapped in a mystery. Whereas Communism could be examined on the basis of clearly spelled out dogmas, the nature of terrorism varies from issue to issue and from country to country. The only common ingredients of terrorism are the organized use of violence for political ends that is primarily directed at noncombatants. The prescriptions for dealing with terrorism also differ according to ones own outlook, where the gap in our understanding of terrorism between what we don?t know far outweighs what we actually do know to be sound and workable methods.

Terrorism is conducted by individuals as well as by groups. It is alleged that certain states also sponsor or patronize terrorism to be conducted against other states. Whatever may be the cause, terrorism is unwelcome and unacceptable, but it is a part of the global scenario now. Some scholars remind us not to confuse motivation of terrorism with methods, or the present tendency to ascribe all forms of anti-state violence as terrorism. They see the current war on international terrorism as part of a US policy that seeks to reaffirm not a ?new world order?, as was the practice in the late 1980s and 1990s, but to create a different would order? that the US  would like to see in the future/

Some argue that there is now a parochial vision of terrorism due to the absence of a clear-cut definition. According to these scholars terrorism is not an ideology, but a strategy that is used either when normal means no longer produce results, or when it provides a short cut for the attainment of stated goals. The best way to assess its impact is to ?measure the intensity of influence on targets of the absorption of influence by the targets?, while the most dangerous manifestation of this is when states use terrorism of this is when states use terrorism to ?promote hidden agendas?. They say that, interstate terrorism shows multiple effects. They tend to lead to rapid deterioration in relations among states in which the whole region can be affected.

Contrary to the above two groups, others view terrorism as part of the subaltern structure in which South Asian countries are connected to each other across national borders by ?shadowy activities? ranging from smuggling of goods and people, illicit production and trading of small arms, money laundering, narcotics production and trading to terrorism. These activities are sustained by informal financial networks, known as hawala or hundi in the region, which are difficult to weed out since the bulk of the money laundering is done on the basis of trust and / or through family connections. Even the flow of small arms in the region could not be possible without the extensive subaltern network. These scholars suggest that contemporary terrorist groups are, therefore, no longer ?national? or ?statist?, but have become transnational in character. The current tendency of states in South Asia to vilify all forms of terrorism as state-sponsored or state-supported, misses the point altogether.

Many South Asian Scholars recommend the development of a cooperative framework for dealing with terrorism among the countries of South Asia. In this context, there is more than one pattern of suggestions of methods. One group of scholars rely on the conflict transformation model, and recommend that new threats to global security require a global cooperative framework which will monitor, manage, and establish new standards governing interstate relations.

Another group of intellectuals believe that the war against international terrorism must be tackled at two different level: first, through a holistic approach to counter it by ?addressing the allied threats to international security?, and second, by devising means to secure cooperation among states at all levels ? international, regional, and national. The underlying assumption in their deliberations is that the new type of threat posed by terrorism is beyond the capacity of states to deal with on their own, which makes it imperative to have the UN as the preferred instrument for waging the war against terrorism. They maintain that this is also why the US policy ?is unlikely to succeed in countering the hydra-headed menace of terrorism?, since combating terrorism requires not only a military approach, but also a concerted, cooperative, international effort for its eradication.

The third group takes an organizational approach in their deliberations and call for the creation of a new organization, which they suggest can be named ?Security Organization for South Asia (SOSA)?, for building trust and confidence that is essential for accelerating regional integration and stability. They suggest that South Asia needs to learn lessons from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which provides for cooperation on broad areas with a long-term vision for the future.

In so far as the rise religious terrorists in Bangladesh are concerned JMB or JMJB were able to grow out of various factors and developments in South Asia as well as in its close neighbourhood, like in Afghanistan and the Indian Northeast. In part these groups were an anti-thesis of Maoist splinter groups operating all over western Bangladesh, in part these groups were independently seeking a change in the style of governance and administration of the country without at all knowing the limits of their knowledge or ability. Their direct links with any major terrorist groups outside Bangladesh is yet to be established.

It was a challenge, which needed to be faced by the government and the people together in unison. The government, though belated, took a number of important steps; one of them was to use the well-known Islamic leadership of the country to spell out the provisions of Islamic teachings against violence, militancy and killings (particularly suicide bombings). It was deliberate step to demotivate the activists of the militant organizations and it was very successfully done. The print and electronic media of the country played the vital role of building up awareness among the people of the country. On their part, the people of the country rose to the occasion and vehemently opposed militant activities. Within six months the top leaders of the militant organizations were apprehended. Three old lessons were re-learnt. First lesson is that timely political commitment of the government is a must; the second lesson is that honest information by credible persons help to correct motivation. The last but not the least is that awareness of the people is a must to achieve any operational success.

Before concluding, a few words on countering global terrorism from a US perspective will be in order. Since the USA has been circumstantially forced to take the leadership of the war on terror, our thoughts will center on thoughts of the US  people. In America, the National Commission on Terrorism was established by section 591 of the Foreign Operations, Export financing, and Related Programs Appropriation Act 1999. the Congress gave the Commission six months to review the laws, regulations, directives policies and practices for preventing and punishing international terrorism directed against the USA, assess their effectiveness, and recommend changes. Very few individuals who are of non-American origin have been interviewed. The Commission met with officials of the governments of Canada, France, Israel, Jordan, Poland and the UK; a few more African and Asian countries should have been included. The USA is concerned about terrorism directed against it. A clarification is required as to why too many people in Asia and Africa, particularly among Muslims, are agitated against the Americans? Before Concentrating on the remedy of global terrorism every nation should evaluate the part they have played in creating and causing this phenomenon. Only after we have addressed these issues and have bridged the communication and awareness gaps,  will our efforts in countering global terrorism have a better chance.

The Daily Star

16 June, 2006

Dev not possible keeping political leaders away- Says Oli 

Demanding a free election as soon as possible, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Col (retd) Oli Ahmed yesterday said development of the country is not possible keeping the political leaders away.

He said all political leaders should not be blamed for the wrong doings of around 200 corrupt persons.

Oli Ahmed said the whole nation is demanding the trial of war criminals through forming a commission which will prepare a list of razakars and other war criminals.

He however cautioned that everybody should be alert so that none can hatch conspiracy to foil the election centring the issue.

LDP president was speaking at a view-exchange meeting with the reporters at Jhalakathi while distributing relief materials in the cyclone-affected areas.

He stressed on coordinated initiative and proper distribution of relief materials.

The Daily Star

28 November, 2007

Stop construction on arable land

JS body asks govt to draft a law

The parliamentary standing committee on the planning ministry yesterday recommended that the government legislate against construction on arable land.

It asked the land ministry to draft a law and place it before parliament.

?Within 20 years, there would be no land left for agricultural use if the way arable land is decreasing continues. So we have made some recommendations to keep the remaining cultivable land intact,” Col (retd) Oli Ahmed, chairman of the committee, told reporters after a two-hour meeting at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.

“We have asked the land ministry to draft a law prohibiting construction on arable land and place it before the House,” he added.

He, however, could not say whether the proposed law would be placed in the session beginning on June 4.

The recommendations come at a time when experts say every year the country loses around 80 thousand hectares of land suitable for cultivation due to human settlements, rapid urbanisation, erosion of rivers, construction of new roads and broadening of the existing ones, and various other development activities.

At yesterday’s meeting, the parliamentary body also expressed dissatisfaction over performance of different ministries with regard to implementation of development projects.

It asked the education ministry to leave the task of recruiting teachers to the discretion of the schools’ managing bodies to cut the red tape in this regard.

Oli, lone lawmaker from Liberal Democratic Party, said the committee also recommended that the education ministry take measures so that no-one with education below SSC level can become a member of the school managing committee.

“We have also asked the ministry to ensure that all public educational institutions are built with an option to raise it by at least four storeys,” Col (retd) Oli also said.

About different ministries’ performance, he said the trend of going slow during the caretaker government tenure is still there.

“We have asked them to quicken the pace in their activities especially in development projects.”

The Daily Star

20 May, 2009

The Daily Star published part of the speech on 26th June, 2009.

Shelve MRP, go for e-passport

JS body asks govt to scrap Tk 3.5b project to save money

Staff Correspondent

A parliamentary body yesterday asked the government to cancel the machine-readable passport (MRP) project and introduce electronic passports instead to save public money.

The parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry made a set of recommendations including relocation of Kamalapur railway station to Tongi to ease gridlock in the capital.

Committee Chairman Col (retd) Oli Ahmed, also chief of Liberal Democratic Party, unveiled the recommendations before reporters at his office at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban following a committee meeting.

The parliamentary body said electronic passports will be used worldwide after machine-readable passports become invalid in 2014. It is undesirable to spend several hundred crores of taka for issuing two types of passport, it said.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in March approved a Tk 3.50 billion project on machine-readable passports and visa under the home ministry.

The Department of Immigration and Passport under the ministry has already launched the project for issuing about 18.4 million MRPs by 2014.

Bangladesh has to introduce MRPs by April 2010 to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements. If it fails to become an ICAO member, Bangladeshi citizens’ access to the international labour market and visas could be hindered.

The committee said the government would have to spend a big amount again for issuing electronic passports after the MRPs become invalid across the globe. All developed countries in the world have already introduced electronic passports. ?The ministries of foreign affairs and planning will write to the home ministry soon in this regard,? the committee said.

The parliamentary body asked for installation of closed-circuit cameras at airports, introduction of a uniform renewal fee for passports and their quick renewal for Bangladeshis living abroad.

It also recommended simplifying the procedure of issuing diplomatic passports for lawmakers and instructing Bangladesh missions abroad to provide protocol to lawmakers and distinguished people. ?It’s regrettable that officials at foreign missions don’t bother about anyone except the ministers and ruling party lawmakers,? the committee said. Referring to traffic jam, the parliamentary body recommended that the government designate parking places in the capital, enforce traffic rules strictly and take action against violators.?A legal provision should be introduced to fine violators of traffic rules. If anyone is found guilty of violating the rules and causing traffic congestion, the person should be fined Tk 1,000. Even the ministers and lawmakers should not be spared,? said the parliamentary body. The committee told the home ministry to equip police stations with an adequate number of vehicles.

It also asked law enforcement agencies not to harass people during anticrime drives. The committee observed that a section of ruling party activists work as brokers at police stations and extort money from people. ?This situation must change, otherwise it would not be possible to have a digital Bangladesh,? it said. During a discussion on the LGRD and cooperatives ministry, the parliamentary body recommended that the government increase the allocation of funds for upazila parishads and provide vehicles and office allowances to upazila parishad chairmen. The committee emphasised that development activities under upazila parishads and municipalities should be intensified to ensure decentralisation of power and people’s welfare.

The Daily Star

29 October, 2009