2152Published on October 6, 2022
Dr. Pranab Kumar Panday:
Bangladeshi politics is characterised, in part, by the opposition for its own sake. To put it simply, any political party in Bangladesh's opposition believes the government is doing nothing but destroying the country. They are entirely unable to perceive the government's successes in a positive light. Constantly finding fault with the government is what they do best. Both the party in power and the opposition hold significant weight in any democratic form of government because both play a vital role in the process of democracy's institutionalisation.
In modern democracies, the opposition is just as likely to applaud the government's successes as it is to condemn the government for its failures. As can be seen by examining the country's democratic system, the "shadow cabinet" is a political organisation that represents the UK's official opposition. The formation of such a shadow cabinet is primarily prompted by the desire to monitor the performance of all government ministries. Ministers in the shadow government are quick to lash out against the real ones if they catch them engaging in implementing destructive policies. But in Bangladesh, this isn't a big deal because the opposition party rarely, if ever, praises the government for what it has done well. Instead, they criticise it.
Maybe some are just wondering why I brought up those words. The fundamental reason for this is that the achievements of the Awami League (AL) during the past 14 years went unnoticed by the opposition parties due to the current political climate in Bangladesh. Therefore, they are constantly engaged in attacking the government. The Honorable Prime Minister of the AL government has been honored with numerous international awards for her service as head of government for over a decade, despite the opposition's criticism. I am curious about what these awards mean for Bangladesh's political landscape. This indicates that global leaders still acknowledge Sheikh Hasina's efforts.
The United Nations has designated the Honorable Prime Minister a "Champion of the Earth," UN Women has dubbed her a "Planet 50-50 Champion," and the Global Partnership Forum has designated her an "Agent of Change." In addition, the Hon'ble Prime Minister was awarded the APS International Achievement Award and the 2018 Special Distinction Award for Leadership for her visionary leadership in allowing the Rohingya to remain inside Bangladesh and implementing a humane and responsible policy toward them. This is not the first time she has won an award like this. Sheikh Hasina first gained widespread recognition in 1998 when she was awarded the UNESCO "Félix Houphout-Boigny Peace Prize" for putting an end to a nearly two-decade-long insurgency movement in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in eastern Bangladesh. She has also received many such awards from international organisations.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has recently been named the world's second-most influential prime minister in combating the coronavirus. Things have significantly improved in Bangladesh with the Awami League in power. There is no denying that the government may not have attained the desired level of success in some aspects. Even though the person who has devoted her life to the country's progress has received international acclaim, a political opposition within her country is always too busy criticising his efforts.
Some may wonder whether the country must celebrate the achievements of the Prime Minister in different fields. To answer this question in a single word is yes, as this type of international recognition of the country's Prime Minister helps glorify the nation's image in the international arena. As a result of its remarkable progress, Bangladesh is now widely cited as a model for other developing nations. The democratic process in Bangladesh has indeed been stuck in an electoral stalemate for a considerable time which may prompt the international community to accord participatory elections a high level of priority. However, the decision on the modality of the election issue ultimately rests with the people.
The Honorable Prime Minister has repeatedly emphasised the importance of holding participatory elections in the country. She expressed optimism over the conduct of elections involving the participation of all political parties, including the BNP. In the same way that the election is a very significant matter for a country, the progress that the country makes is also an essential matter alongside the election. Therefore, the world's most powerful nations and most influential international organisations have praised the Honorable Prime Minister, indicating they have faith in Sheikh Hasina's politics and governance. Her activities are widely acknowledged on a global scale.
Sheikh Hasina's policies, from which contemporary Bangladesh emerged, are now widely regarded as an example to be followed. Different international organisations have stated their intention for other nations to follow Bangladesh's development under Sheikh Hasina. Although it decided against funding the Padma Bridge, raising fake allegations of corruption, the World Bank is now keen on establishing connections with Bangladesh on other projects. Before leaving the country, the respected country director of the World Bank in Bangladesh met with the respected Prime Minister. She praised the economic and social progress that Bangladesh has made under the current Prime Minister's leadership.
Therefore, I would want to pose these concerns to people who are often trying to find fault with Sheikh Hasina and working to discredit her government. Many efforts to denigrate Bangladesh on a global scale have already been observed. False information regarding killings and disappearances has been used to sway various international organisations' opinions. In some instances, these organisations have fallen into this trap. However, they subsequently offered evidence to dispute their first conclusion. I do not assert in this context that such crimes did not occur in Bangladesh. But the truth behind all these occurrences has to be explored. It is a horrible crime to hurt Bangladesh's reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world by spreading false information based on wrong facts.
I believe that relevant international organisations will make ethical choices about these matters. After a credible institution, such as the United Nations, publishes a report, it tends to gain overwhelming acceptance. But if that organisation's report turns out to be false, it will hurt its reputation. Therefore, instead of going after international communities by spreading false information, political opponents should concentrate on devising ways to convince citizens. Rather than seeking to damage the country and the government on the international level, BNP and its partners should accept reality and attempt to form a government through participation in the elections.
The writer is a professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi