<%-- Page Title--%> Chintito <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 155 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

May 21 , 2004

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Time off from
Hara Kiri


This country is not as divided by its numerous rivers as it is lacerated by our politicians and by political beliefs; let it be said more often than not sans ideals.

Any one not affiliated to a political party or related to a politician in power, including influential opposition politicians, has a select opinion diagrammatically opposite to that of even perhaps his close friend or relative to qualify to form yet another political entity. If this is democracy then we are doing fine.

The confrontational state of affairs between parties, groups and individuals, within professions and associations is severely affecting the affairs of the state.

In our euphoria to meet selfish ends and to sink this country into further despair we have administered the division among lawyers, journalists, doctors, engineers and NGOs, to name a few, along party line.

The sad part is that most politicians, apparently committed to a better society, not a fraction of the society, may not even be aware that they are such vital players in this road to self-destruction.

Despite such gloom clouding development, education, law and order, price of essentials, investment, etc., there have been glorious occasions, tragic though some of them are, when we have largely stood by each other and braced a situation as one single soul.

While the War of Liberation undertaken to free this land from the brutal Pakistani occupation forces and to annihilate Razakars, Al Badars and Al Shams remain an enviable example world-wide of camaraderie, there have been other junctures when we have discovered a common spirit; the death of Ahsanullah Master, MP from Gazipur 2 is one such occasion.

Not many of us knew that he was so immensely popular in his own constituency and around. Not many of us knew of his simple way of life. Not many of us knew of the tremendous respect that he garnered from his colleagues from both sides of the coin.

While after the demise of any important person it is common to babble that the loss would be irreparable, in the case of the 'Sir' there could not have been a more pragmatic summary of his premature departure. The parliament has lost a member, Tongi has lost a leader, the nation has lost a son.

On 12 May, five days after his pre-Jumma assassination, the Jatiya Sangsad met to adopt an obituary reference mourning the assassination of lawmaker Ahsanullah Master. The session was marked by the absence of this towering personality, but saw the return of the main opposition Awami League to the floor.

In a rare instance of national unity the members stood as one, undivided in their eulogy, generous in their appraisal, most importantly unforgiving towards the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Both ruling and opposition members in the three-hour discussion demanded exemplary punishment to the killers after finding them out through a neutral and objective investigation, free from all political biases.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia assured the House that after fair inquiry into the mayhem, the accused would be produced before the Speedy Trial Tribunal for quick disposal of the case.

In the gloom that settled in the House, lawmakers from all parties, except for the Jamaat-e-Islami, mourned the assassination of Ahsanullah Master, a renowned freedom fighter and a highly admired labour leader, a devout Muslim, who got up from the meeting to offer his Jumma prayers just before being shot. At the session Krishak Shramik Janata League lawmaker Kader Siddiqui requested the chair not to allow any Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker to conduct the munajat as Ahsanullah was a prominent freedom fighter.

The speaker moved the obituary reference, reading, "The nation lost an eminent politician, a freedom fighter and a social worker (at his death). This parliament expresses deep shock and sorrow at his death and sympathises with the members of the bereaved family." (DS 13 May)

Let us also not forget the little boy of ten, perhaps twelve, who was also gunned down in the mindless gunfire. Let us also pray for the unknowns who are innocent victims of the continuing terrorism, and there have been many.

Sir will not be back. But let his gruesome death mark the beginning of a joint campaign by all parties to rise above party lines and weed out those responsible for making the life of the common man intolerable.

Will this unity of opposing political parties last? It has to, if we are to find a workable way out of the current mess.

Can someone please do something to stop this senseless trek to the depths of despair? If I sound helpless, I am. The nation is.


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