War on Corruption
Coordinator of National Coordination Committee for Combating Crime and Corruption's Lt. General Masud Uddin Chowdhury's comment that no-one will be spared in the war on corruption is reassuring. The ongoing drive to nab the fat cats has been a long-overdue step to clean the country of the depraved elements in the society who have threatened to turn the country into a banana republic. Had the state of emergency not been declared, in every probability, we would have to put up with thugs and goons like Nasiruddin Pintu and Hajji Mohammad Selim again. Sheikh Hasina would have declared Joinal Hazari clean again (after her latest Hajj pilgrimage) and the country might have faced the bloodcurdling prospect of having Tarique Rahman as the prime minister.
In the last 16 years some politicians, along with their businessmen accomplices, have abused the faith and trust we have bestowed them with. The economic growth of 7-8 percent that we have as a nation is no less than a miracle, if one considers the millions of dollars that these crooks of political leaders and businessmen have siphoned off abroad. Under the so-called democratic leadership of Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, the Bangladesh that we earned with the supreme sacrifice of millions of martyrs turned into a quasi-feudal fascist state. All the major pillars of the state and its institutions have been politicised, the police were made into a private army of buccaneers; the neutral image of the judiciary has also been tainted. The Anti Corruption Commission (formerly a bureau) has never been allowed to work properly. The Election Commission, one of the fundamental pillars of modern elective democracy, has become a front organisation of the ruling party. All this has been done shamelessly; everyone knew what price one needed to pay to have some top leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Awami League (AL) in your pocket.
You can kill someone and get away with it, if you regularly lay a briefcase loaded with money at the door of the home minister. Criminalisation of politics has taken place to a dangerous extent and those who have played with our faith and trust to earn a few quick million for themselves are still in the helm of the BNP and AL. Now that this government sincerely wants to stem out corruption, some of the putrid elements of our politics are talking of reforms to save their own skin. This must be clearly pointed out here that all politicians are not corrupt as all reformists are not honest. The current drive on corruption should bring every corruption suspects to the book no matter who they are.
Every civil servant (who has finished five years in the service) and their spouses should be made to submit their statements of wealth. Those who contested in the last three general elections must follow suit.
The path that the interim government has taken is a long and ardent one, and there is no room for failure. If we fail, we, as a nation, will plunge into the deepest of darkness. The war to save our country from the biggest of evils must be institutionalised, laws must be enacted and, political and social reforms have to be made so that we can have a parliament where most of the MPs will not have a criminal past.
As it is mentioned earlier, the road to progress will be serpentine in nature, and at its every turn there will remain risks of derailment. A good planning and organisational skill is needed to overcome this; patriotism, coupled with sheer determination and honesty can change our future, the future of a nation that has been promised so much and been given so little.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007