The government has lost track of all the 26 thousand vehicles
it procured in the last seven years for its 593 development
projects. A recently published Prothom Alo report has blamed
41 ministries for lack of will to get the vehicles back from
mainly government officials who are now misusing it.
When the newspaper published a report titled "Thousands
of Vehicles Disappeared from Development Projects", then
secretary of the prime minister's office issued a letter to
all the ministries and department calling them to return the
cars to the government's transport pool. An investigative
committee was formed later on, which failed to come up with
any conclusive report.
Though the renewal papers of the cars used in these development
programmes are supposed to be sent to the Executive Committee
of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in every three months,
the relevant ministries have never followed the rules. The
ECNEC, on its part, has never felt it necessary to track down
the fate of these vehicles either.
On 16 March the Establishment Ministry sent a letter to the
respective ministries asking them to inform the fate of the
26 thousand vehicles within three weeks. Now, only time can
tell what answer the ministries come up with.
batch of fortune seekers find themselves back home with all
their hopes shattered and dreams crushed. Never before have
we seen such a spree of returnees from different countries
as we are witnessing since about the last one and a half months
ago. Going abroad for making fortune has been a dominant trend
among the millions of unemployed and often many educated youths.
Instead of trying to work out a moderate living in their own
country, they are often bent on risking whatever little property
or savings they have to make quick fortune by going abroad
and earning in dollars or dinars. A section of manpower businessmen
popularly known as adam beparies often take advantage of these
fortune seekers robbing them off whatever they have. The recent
incident of 11 persons dying out of starvation while crossing
over the Mediterranean illustrates not only the desperation
of the fortune seekers but also the insatiable hunger for
money of a section of people in manpower business.
On March 26 a group of 12 young men came back home from Maldives
and Mauritania. Those sent back from Mauritania were on route
to Spain, the promised country, through Sahara, where the
police finally caught them. The tragic incidents appear to
have finally woken up the people and the government. Let's
hope some effective measures to stop the influx of illegally
sending people across the borders would follow soon.
was organised last week to celebrate the elite crime-busting
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)'s first anniversary at the RAB
Forces Headquarters at Kurmitola. Several ministers and lawmakers,
top officials, attended this gala ceremony from the home ministry,
armed forces and the police. State Minister for Home, Lutfozzaman
Babar, spoke at the occasion and warned the elite crime busting
(RAB) against harassment on innocent people. "If a RAB
member fails to maintain discipline, the government will obviously
be tough on him," he said.
Replying to one of the reporters inquiries about the so-called
encounters, for which human-rights organisations criticised
deaths of criminals in the 'crossfire', Babar said, "When
criminals are being killed in encounters, human-rights organisations
speak out. However, when policemen get killed by them (criminals),
no one mentions anything at all."
It seems that the government claims a marked improvement in
law and order since RAB came into action a year ago. But different
human rights watchdogs, opposition political parties and professional
bodies continue blasting the elite force for extra-judicial
killings either in so-called 'crossfire' or in its custody.
Involvement of RAB in robbery, extortion and bribery has also
drawn scathing criticism from the public and the press.
Asked whether there were flaws in the recruitment of honest
officials drawn from different forces for the anticrime force,
Babar said, "such incidents of robbery or bribe-taking
can take place at any level."
The government is planning to provide RAB with all the sophisticated
firearms and equipment, as well as special vehicles and helicopters.
Two official web sites had been launched by the state minister,
at the function-- www.rabbd.com and www.rab.gov.bd.
The US government has decided to go ahead with its plan to
sell 25 F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. The move irked India. "Existing
military assistance will be supplemented by moving forward
on the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and we are notifying that
to Congress today," a US government official told reporters
last week. The official, who wanted to remain anonymous, also
said though the numbers involved had been relatively small
there was "no set limit on what the United States was
going to be willing to sell to Pakistan."
The relationship between two Cold-War allies turned unmistakably
sour when Pakistan kept supporting the Taliban-led government
in Afghanistan till the attack on the twin-towers in New York
on September 11, 2001. The US, which was giving a cold shoulder
to Pakistan, suddenly found its strategic interest back in
Central Asia. Pakistan's support in Bush's so-called war on
terror and the country's acceptance to let its land to be
used in driving away remnants of Al-Qaeada have made President
Musharraf a darling of the west. This also means that the
Bush administration has accepted Pakistan as a nuclear power
and sees it as a long-term strategic ally.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005