Elections at last
The EC finally and definitively announces on November 23 that the long-awaited parliamentary election is to be held on December 29 and upazila election on January 22. The new dates are the upshot of hectic negotiations between the EC, CTG, and political parties, after the BNP had refused to accept December 18 and slated a list of demands. It is the third revision to the polls schedules unveiled on November 2.
Tussle over growth
The World Bank on November 26 says that GDP growth in Bangladesh might come down to 4.8 per cent in the current fiscal year from the government projected 6.5 per cent as ready-made garments export and remittance inflow are likely to suffer due to the global financial crisis.
Finance and Planning adviser A.B. Mirza Azizul Islam however, rejects the WB projection on GDP, saying it might cross six per cent, and other economists and business leaders also pillory the Bank for its gloomy prognostications, arguing that the Bank has consistently been wrong on such issues.
Truth Commission unconstitutional
The High Court on November 13 declares illegal and unconstitutional the Voluntary Disclosure of Information Ordinance 2008 through which the government formed the Truth and Accountability Commission for voluntary disclosure of corruption.
The HC bench observes that through formation of the commission, an alternative system bypassing the judiciary was set up which was against the constitution, and possesses scopes of exonerating the offenders without trial in the courts and interference in the judiciary.
On November 10, Myanmar finally withdraws its warships, the oil and gas exploration rig and the fossil fuel exploration vessels from Bangladesh waters after a protracted stand-off. The withdrawal comes after Myanmar first mobilises huge forces on the other side of the border, and, in response, Bangladesh reinforces Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Bangladesh navy efforts with the deployment of Bangladesh army troops on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
Rab seizes 70kg of explosives November 16 following the confessional statement of an ehsar (full time member) of the banned JMB who was arrested the previous day in Mirpur, Dhaka. Rab also seizes 40kg of nitric acid, 150 cases of improvised grenades, a large quantity of bomb-making materials and equipment, and over 2,000 books on jihad raiding two houses in Mirpur and another at Shanir Akhra in the capital. Despite a number of major arrests made during crackdowns on Islamist militants in the last few years, over 250 trained operatives of JMB are still at large and many of them are reportedly trying to regroup.
Jail authorities on November 5 request BSMMU to send back 12 high-profile prisoners for overstaying in its hospital with fake sickness, and announce punitive measures against former BNP lawmaker Mossadeq Ali Falu for cheating them and the court by submitting a fake medical certificate. Falu's division status is cancelled as a result of this fraud. Most of over 150 bigwigs, detained after 1/11 and freed on bail and parole, spent a large part of their detention at different hospitals in jail custody.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon comes to Bangladesh on a lightning two-day trip and in a speech says that Bangladesh's most pressing need is to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy and for the incoming elected government to consolidate the democracy and reform to stem a recurrence of confrontational politics. In his speech, the UN secretary general says that the political dialogue between the government and the political parties in the process of transition must succeed.
Bangladesh XI beats India XI
ICL Bangladesh defeat defending champions ICL India by 5 wickets on November 24 in the 3rd match of the ICL 20s World Series at the Sardar Patel stadium, Ahmedabad. Shahriar Nafees is declared man of the match after a superb unbeaten knock of 70. Making the victory even more impressive is the fact that the India XI is drawn from the best Indian players from all the ICL teams, whereas the Bangladesh XI is drawn from players only from the Dhaka Warriors who finished the ICL tournament with a creditable 4-4 record, narrowly missing out on a semi-final berth.