Government & Politics In Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a Parliamentary form of Democracy.
The ruling party has complete control over the Executive and Legislative branch of the Government.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the ruling Political Party, leader of the Legislative branch and leader of the Executive branch in Bangladesh.
Every now and then, the party in power pokes the Judiciary branch and controls the Law Enforcement Agencies.
You are a law enforcement officer and you don’t obey the orders of a leader from the party in power? Fine, your job is suspended.
Poking law enforcement and poking judiciary is bad. But poking Law Enforcement + Judiciary is worse. You can arrest anyone (poking Law Enforcement) your heart desires at any time and throw him to jail (poking Judiciary).
And that’s not the whole story!
The Anti Corruption Commission and Election Commission are not outside the scope of Government influence.
After all this maneuvers and controls, what Bangladeshis are left with – is essentially an autocratic form of government.
If you ask a Bangladeshi if there can be any room for practice of Democracy left, he or she would answer that the Neutral Caretaker Government  ruling the country for 3 months and holding free and fair General Elections every five years, was the only bit of Democracy left.
But now, even that tiny bit of opportunity for practice of democracy has been abolished!
When you take your eyes off the Government and try to see a broader picture, you see 2 Political Parties that are trying to divide the Nation into two groups with extreme hatred towards each other.
Last year, the International Crimes Tribunal held the Trial for Crime against Humanity. And we witnessed extreme form of divide in the nation.
To understand the Case for Trial for crime against humanity, we have to go back in history to 1971 when the Nation was born.
Looking Back At The Birth Of The Nation
Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan in 1971 through a bloody liberation war. 
More than 3 million people were killed in just 9 months in 1971 during our Liberation War.
Now, 3 million people is some number.
The only way to understand its significance (killing of 3 million people) is by imagining and feeling it.
Take your time and try to imagine how you would feel if a member of your family has been killed.
Now imagine 3 hundred people being killed.
Now, 3 thousand.
And now, try to feel 3 million (3,000,000) people being killed.
Many of our prominent Intellectuals were murdered on 14th December just before the war ended. Pakistani Army wanted to leave behind a crippled country. Leaders from Jamaat-e-Islami who were alive at that time helped the Pakistani Army’s cause, acting as their local agents.
A war takes place between the Armed Forces of parties involved. But killing, torturing unarmed civilians during war is crime, or more appropriately War Crime. 
People of Bangladesh have always demanded trial for people who committed “Crime Against Humanity” in 1971. 
Many of the leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami , who were alive at that time, committed crime against humanity. Before 1971, Jamaat-e-Islami was part of a Pakistani political party with identical name – Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan .
We see that, both BNP and Awami League have assimilated many who committed crime against humanity in 1971. Some of them have even been elected as Members of Parliament and Ministers.
It’s an irony that people who worked against the nation and have even committed crimes, have reached such high positions in the government.
So last year, when the trials for crime against humanity were held we saw extreme form of divide and violence in Bangladesh. Even leaders of political party unfortunately declared that the country has been divided into two factions.
Lets get back to where we started – Politics.
When Crime And Corruption Are Intermingled With Politics
If one politician from one of the two parties commit crime in Bangladesh, his party either supports or ignores or forms a lame excuse.
We don’t see politicians reaching out and helping the oppressed.
Supporters of the ruling party hates the leadership of the opposition party, or more precisely hatred is being spread, and supporters of the opposition party hates the leadership of the party in power.
Extreme form of corruption exists in the country mainly due to the corrupt politicians.
One recent instance is the 2011 Stock Market scam.
According to later calculations, more than a billion dollar worth of corruption took place. A large number of people, who invested in the stock market, lost almost everything they had.
The scam was pre-planned.
People were shown dreams of quick way to getting rich. They rushed in to invest in the stock market. Many sold their lands, others borrowed money – just to invest.
And then, they lost everything they had.
This is not the first time Share Market scam has taken place in Bangladesh. In 1996, we saw similar incidents in the Share Market . According to sources, same persons were involved in both the scams.
Some of the politicians (Members of Parliament) in Bangladesh own “torture cells” where they torture people to death – which is both horrific and unbelieveable to someone living outside Bangladesh.
Criminal minds flourish in these anarchic situations – where they get the feeling that they will not be held accountable for their deeds – if only they join one of the two main parties of the country. They can commit any crime (murder, torture, rape, corruption) they desire and still manage to become MPs and Ministers.
In rural areas the situation is worse. With comparatively higher levels of illiteracy, distance from the world of media, it’s easier to hide your crimes.
Beautiful Bangladesh Prepares For Change
But if you leave out politics from the equation, “Beautiful Bangladesh” is a country of enormous potential. It’s consistently high rates of GDP growth (6 – 6.7% in the past decade)  for the last two decades has earned it a place in Goldman Sachs’ Next Eleven  – a list of 11 emerging countries.
Besides, high rates of GDP growth, Bangladesh has made huge strides in different social indicators and in the area of providing healthcare to the poor.
According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, India should learn from neighbouring Bangladesh about how to tap the energy of women in its efforts to spur development. In most of the social indicators, Bangladesh has gone ahead of India, according to Sen .
“Bangladesh is one of the few countries on track to achieve its Millennium Development Goals related to child and maternal mortality.” 
“Bangladesh, the eighth most populous country in the world with about 153 million people, has recently been applauded as an exceptional health performer. Improvements in the survival of infants and children under 5 years of age, life expectancy, immunisation coverage, and tuberculosis control in Bangladesh are part of a remarkable success story for health in the South Asian country.” 
Not surprisingly, people of Bangladesh have been yearning for change in politics.
Banga Bir Kader Siddiqui (90s), Prof. Dr. A Q M Badruddoza Chowdhury, Dr. Kamal Hossain (2000s), Colonel (retd.) Dr Oli Ahmad Bir Bikram – who ever tried to from a third political force were soon silenced by the government.
As I mentioned in “Politics In Bangladesh”, a neutral Caretaker Government used to hold the National Elections. This practice is hugely popular among Bangladeshis due to history of government intervention in the Election Commission.
During 2006-08, the neutral Caretaker Government ruled the country for 2 years with some revolutionary successes. National Voter ID Card and National Database was introduced in the country during that period. Strong Anti-Corruption Commission and Election Commission were established. Many of the Corrupt Politicians were arrested. Positive changes were established in the Judiciary Division.
People welcomed these changes.
Awami League won the 2008 Elections convincingly. During the first year, Awami League actually grew in popularity. People expected that the changes that were introduced during the 2006-2008 Caretaker Government period would last.
But within a year, the hope and dreams were torn apart. The politics of Bangladesh gradually went back to where it was and to be truth – even worse.
Concerned corrupt and criminal politicians of the ruling party de-established the Caretaker Government. With two-third majority in the parliament and de-establishment of Caretaker Government, the leaders of the ruling party started to behave as though they would rule for ever, that they will never have to answer to anyone for their misdeeds.
This is the background for the emergence of Nagorik Shakti.
Nagorik Shakti : Citizens’ Force
In Bangla, “Nagorik Samaj” refers to the civil society.
Nagorik Shakti has been the vision of members of our civil society for quite a few years. The vision has been to introduce a different form of politics in our country that is more in tune with the ideals and what it is ought to be – “of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Now, people have joined our cause.
For the past 6 months, we have been organizing both in the physical world as well as in the digital world.
Young generation of Bangladesh have joined our cause and are showing enthusiastic interest. We used to find Political views of young Bangladeshis in their Facebook profiles not as “democracy” or “liberalism” but as “I hate politics” or some of its variants. Their archetype for a politician was someone corrupt and criminal. They associated politics with the political clashes among student wings of different political parties.
We have seen radical transformations in the past several months. Millions of young Bangladeshis have changed their opinion on Politics in just a few months.
Youth of Bangladesh today are enthusiastic about joining politics to bring about change. We feel delighted whenever we see the face of a politically conscious young Bangladeshi thrilled at the prospects. We have been successful in making them dream and think and become more politically aware Citizens.
Divide among people that we experienced in 2013 has turned into unity for change in 2014.
We are showing everyone that they can feel the “togetherness”, “unity”, “a sense of tightly bound community” that people long for through Nagorik Shakti.
Political parties outside the two main parties have shown enthusiastic interest. Many have already joined us.
When I first thought about forming a new Political Party a year back, the question I had asked myself was – how do I reach the rural population?
We can reach people residing in Urban areas through Social Media, TV Media, Newspapers and other media. But reaching people living in Rural areas seemed comparatively difficult. Besides, leaders from both the two big parties “buy” votes in our elections. Rural people are poor and many votes could be “bought” by money. Illiteracy is also more prevalent in Rural areas which makes it all the more difficult to make these people understand – everything we want them to understand.
So what do you do? How do you plan for winning votes in Rural areas?
The solution came to me immediately!
We have the privilege of counting upon
8.4 million+ subscribers of Grameen Bank and
3.5 million+ Madrasha students and members of Madrasha governing bodies.
Add to that – farmers from Rural regions.
Bangladesh is an agro-based country. We have enthusiastic personalities in our civil society with reach and capacity to organize the farmers all over the country.
[Areas Of Expertise: #Election Campaigning #Political Strategy ]
The most important element that assured me of Nagorik Shakti’s success was the fact that:
From the outset – I felt deep desire for Nagorik Shakti’s success – among hundreds of thousands of people involved. They were prepared to give everything to the endeavor – absolutely everything.
When so many people work towards something with so much heart, there is no alternative but success!
We have finalized Organizational Structure of the party and the initial nominations.
Next on our list: Party Registration and Public Announcements.
Our Successes So Far
[written on April 18, 2014]
Once you setup exemplary protests, show people that they can have their own rights if only they are united, they let go of the fear they previously had and gain the courage to protest for their own rights.
We are giving people the voice, showing people ways so that they can gain their own rights.
We are showing that oppressors are few in number, and in reality, the oppressed are the more powerful. All it requires is to get united. Once people are united, there is no force that can stop them from gaining the rights they deserve and stopping oppression.
We are watching excitedly the actions people are taking with their newly found power in different parts of the country. For now, it’s scattered, but once public announcement for Nagorik Shakti has been made, our efforts will be more organized.
Our dream is a Bangladesh free from all forms of corruption and crime. It’s a huge goal and we are making huge strides.
Some of our successes include
- Control measures against illegal drugs.
- Closing torture cells of politicians (including 5 Members of Parliament).
- Reduction of Corruption.
- Stand against Hartal (devastating to our economy)
- Political Awareness among the youth of Bangladesh
- Most importantly, showing people way to gain what they rightfully deserve and stop oppression.
Bangladesh is poised to leave behind India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries in all the economic, social and other indicators and emerge as a economic powerhouse in near future.
We are ready to stretch our helping hands towards the government – for the greater good of the people and the country.
Nagorik Shakti means Citizens’ Force, and that’s what we believe we truly are – a force for the citizens, a force by the citizens, a force of the citizens of Bangladesh.
Politics In Bangladesh
Looking Back At The Birth Of Bangladesh
A war crime is a serious violation of the laws and customs of war (also known as international humanitarian law) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include “murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of anoccupied territory to slave labor camps,” “the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war,” “the killing of hostages,” “the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military necessity.” 
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, “are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings.” They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape;political, racial, or religious persecution; and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or—depending on the circumstances—war crimes, but are not classified as crimes against humanity. 
When Crime And Corruption Are Intermingled With Politics
“The stock market capitalization of the Dhaka Stock Exchange in Bangladesh crossed $10 billion in November 2007 and the $30 billion mark in 2009, and USD 50 billion in August 2010.” And then Market capitalization reached one third of its earlier value (from USD 50 billion to approximately USD 17 billion).
“A probe committee was formed to investigate the stock market crash on 24 January 2011, with former Bangladesh Bank Governor Ibrahim Khaled heading the four-man high-powered committee.
The committee provided their findings after three months, on 7 April. It identified an array of chicanery performed by some 60 influential individuals that resulted in the recent market crash. The committee interviewed all members of both the DSE and CSE, and consulted journalists and analysts before presenting their report. The committee found various irregularities, including the existence of omnibus accounts, that allowed some market players to make exorbitant profits at the expense of the retail investors. Among the 60 identified primarily included chairman of Beximco and the mastermind of the 1996 market crash Salman F Rahman, former DSE president Rakibur Rahman, SEC chairman Ziaul Khandaker, SEC member Mansur Alam and BNP politician Mosaddek Ali Falu. The report mentioned that pro-government business tycoons, including Salman and Rakibur, exerted influence within the SEC by influencing the appointment of its members. The report ended with recommendations to reform the SEC drastically and asked the government to publish the names of the influential players and to remain cognizant in countering their influences.” 
“Beximco topped the turnover leaders with 1,05,61,200 shares worth Tk 310.81 crore being traded, which was 8.56 percent of total turnover.” 
- 2011 Bangladesh share market scam
- Bulls on a leash
- Fresh innocents to the slaughter
- Revenge of the innocents
- দুর্নীতি দূরীকরণ এবং আইনের শাসন প্রতিষ্ঠার মাধ্যমে অর্থনৈতিক উন্নতি
Beautiful Bangladesh Prepares For Change
“India should learn from neighbouring Bangladesh about how to tap the energy of women in its efforts to spur development, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.
“In most of the social indicators, Bangladesh has gone ahead of India,” said Sen. “The lesson here is about focusing on women and gender: led not just by state policy but also by the NGOs which are so important in Bangladesh: they have consistently focused on women’s agency in particular.
Women can play a key role in efforts to change the focus of policy, Sen believes, pointing to the model of Bangladesh, which has surpassed India on most social indicators in part because of an official focus on women.
“As a result, a much higher proportion of workers, like schoolteachers, family planning workers, health carers, immunisation workers, and even factory workers are women in Bangladesh than in India. This latent energy of women is something that hasn’t yet been tapped so much in India, ” he says.
“But some of Bangladesh’s achievements have come from independent thinking, and its pride in being both Muslim and Bengali in its culture. This has been very favourable to mobilising the power of women.”
“The two countries that India can learn most from right now are Bangladesh and China,” Sen says.”