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Volume 1 Issue 1 | November 2006


Month in Review: Bangladesh
Month in Review: International
Promises to Keep -- Rehman Sobhan
Original Forum Editorial
In the Beginning -- Hameeda Hossain
The Election Conundrum -- Mahfuz Anam
The Big Bang -- Afsan Choudhury
Time to Play the Long Game -- Farid Bakht
Struggling for Democracy -- Kamal Hossain
How Did We Get Here?-- Zafar Sobhan
Should I Swing? -- Inam Ahmed
Photo Feature
Pirates of the Caribbean -- Tariq Ali
Broken Promises -- Ahmed Rashid
Thailand's Silk Revolution -- Larry Jagan
Evolution of Bush Doctrine -- Martin Woollacott
Support for Democracy? -- Yogendra Yadav
Feet of Clay -- FS Aijazuddin
Militarization of Politics -- Syed Badrul Ahsan
Roll Play -- Badiul Alam Majumdar
Shamsur Rahman, In Retrospect -- Kaiser Haq
Arguing with Amartya Sen -- Yasmeen Murshed


Forum Home


Month in review

Chief Adviser
Following retired Chief Justice KM Hasan's decision on October 28 to formally decline the post of chief adviser, President Iajuddin Ahmed controversially appoints himself chief adviser in accordance with Article 58C(6) of the constitution. Controversy simmers over whether the president has followed the established sequence set forth in the constitution before appointing himself to the position, with statements released by his office contradicted by others who were constitutionally in line for the post. The nation is kept in the dark as to the identity of the chief adviser until the last minute when it is revealed that the president has appointed himself.

Bangladesh Bleeding

At least 12 people are killed and over 2,000 wounded, many by bullets, as activists of outgoing BNP-led four-party coalition government and Awami League-led 14-party alliance clash in incidents the length and breadth of the country, as they come out on the streets within hours of the curtain falling on the coalition government. Downtown Dhaka turns into a fierce battlefield with thousands of AL workers clashing with Jamaat supporters at Paltan and with police at Bangabandhu Avenue and Golapshah Mazar.

Nobel Peace Prize

Micro-credit pioneer and banker to the poor, Prof Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for, in the words of the Nobel Committee citation "their efforts to create economic and social development from below." Grameen's contribution to the social and economic advancement of women is especially noted. This recognition comes as a rare piece of good news for the nation amidst increasing political insecurity, and for one brief moment in time the nation glories in the adulation of the world.

Police Brutality
Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Asif Hossain Khan is one of five who are viciously beaten up in police custody following an altercation between a security guard at the National Shooting Federation Complex and a police officer's driver. The incident is sparked when a security guard at the complex attempts to keep the police driver from parking illegally in front of the compound. In response, police storm the complex, ransack the dormitories, indiscriminately beat up whoever they find there, and take Asif and four others to the police station for another round of beatings.

Dialogue Charade

To no one's surprise, the on-again-off-again dialogue between BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil on caretaker government and election reform finally ends without result.
The two are unable to agree on the crucial issue of the identity of the chief adviser of the caretaker government, with the BNP sticking to its guns that it should be Justice KM Hasan, as per the constitution, and the AL adamant that it will not accept him. The break-down of the talks sets the scene for violent confrontation in the streets, and the AL promises agitation from October 28.

Enough is Enough
102 senior leaders of the BNP including 13 incumbent lawmakers are among those who break from the party to form the Liberal Democratic Party under the leadership of one-time BNP standing committee member Col Oli Ahmed and ex-president Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury. The break-away group point the finger at the unbridled corruption of Tarique Rahman and his coterie as well as other members of the prime minister's family as the reason for their defection, together with the government's failure to curb price hike and the power, diesel, and fertilizer crises. No sooner is the LDP formed, than BNP activists lead a wave of attacks on the new party across the country, burning the residences of four of the rebels to the ground, among other violent attacks.

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