Friday, May 11, 2007

Tasneem Khalil's Arrest

I was away in Ottawa so did not have the facilities to post on this - but as I write this, Tasneem Khalil has now been freed. It was an extra-ordinary 24 hours that saw the mainstream media in Bangladesh silent on the arrest of such a notable journalist, while it was his blogger colleagues around the world who rallied behind him and lobbied to secure his release. His crime - Khalil wrote a Human Rights Watch report about the elite Bangladeshi security forces and its alleged participation in torture and extra-judicial killings.

Both CNN and BBC carry a good background to his story. When the new military backed government took power in Bangladesh and vowed to root out corruption, all of us ordinary Bengalis rejoiced. We should have known "history repeats itself". When Musharref ousted Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistanis who were tired of corruption masquerading as democracy rejoiced at 'accountability in politics'. Today Pakistan is no better than it was on that fateful day when the military took over in Islamabad.

The only difference in Bangladesh is that the military is behind the scenes, hiding under the facade of a caretaker government that had long forgotten what its purpose was - to weed out corrupt politicians and hold democratic elections.

The English have a saying - 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. It seems to fit Bangladesh aptly.

For more information and links visit Rezwan.


Anonymous said...

From as early as February, sceptics were saying that this govt would take only a month or 2 to turn corrupt. However we were told to shut up by people weary of Hasina and Khaleda.

According to most CTG supporters, this govt could do no wrong.

Of course Hasina and Khaleda were bad, but will this govt turn out any better?


Anonymous said...

So true Mr. Mezba “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Today is a very sad day in the history and politics of Pakistan. 15 people are killed in Karachi and dozens wounded. The CJP went there to address the bar council of Karachi but a coalition party of the government, Muttahida (Mohajir) Qaumi Movement, also took out a rally on the same day. It led to conflict and cross fire and many precious lives have been lost. I wonder why our politics always gets so violent? Is it because political process is suppressed for so long by our militaries? Or, are there some other factors behind this violent politics?

mystic-soul said...

Agree, as someone said:

"Even handicapped and worst democracy is better than dictatorship"

Anonymous said...

Better the devil you know than the one you don't! This is what happened when my country had a *democratic* election coz the previous ruler(the only one I knew) was corrupt. Now things have gone from bad to worse. sf

mezba said...

MM: I believe the caretaker government started with honest intentions - but the army is ever present and they are not going to take sh** from some writer, once given the power the army will abuse it.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." - Ben Franklin.

Nauman: I honestly am saddened but not surprised by the events in Pakistan. I did not understand why the MQM had to take out a rally on the same day - they knew days in advance what date the lawyers were going to take out their rally. BBC has a statement on the MQM that "in the past, a decrease in its propensity for violence has invariably led to a decrease in the number of votes it receives". [link]

Mystic-soul: yup, better go to hell democratically than under a dictator.

Sf: Let's face it - unless we have education we can forget all the grand notions of democracy/dictatorship and so on.