Bangladesh is passing through a period of political crisis. Most severe and deep since independence in 1971. Bankrupcy of the bourgeois political parties and their greed for money and power has is pushing the country to the abyss of disaster. It is endangering the spirit of Liberation War, the most precious achievement of our people.It is also creating the danger to whatever of bourgeois democracy we have at present while threatening disruption of constitutional process.The present crisis has pushed the economy of the country to the brink of disaster and causing tremendous suffering to the working people and the common masses.The crisis has been aggravated by the involvement of foreign powers, USA,European Union,UN, Pakistan,Turkey and reactionary Arab and the Middle Eastern rulers.
Picture above: Fuel price hike demonstration
The purpose of this letter is to apprise you of the situation. The present crisis is multi-dimensional. We shall however mention about only few aspects in this short letter.
The present govt. led by Awami League(AL), headed by Sheikh Hasina started the trial of the war criminals of 1971. (Liberation War of Bangladesh). As you know in that war of independence Pakistani occupation army perpetrated genocide in Bangladesh killing hundreds of thousand of people, resorting to arson, lootings and rape of thousands of women and committed other crimes against humanity. Jamaate Islam, the fundamentalist party and its leaders and cadres along with the Pakistani army took part in those heinous crimes. Jamaat built up its paramilitary forces under its command and control such as Al-Badar, Al-Shams and Razzakars. These forces collaborated with the occupation army of Pakistan and carried out joint operations. The demand for the trial of the war criminal was so far ignored. However, the present govt. started the trial against some of the criminals, the top ones and most of them are the top leaders of Jamaat.
Communist Party of Bangladesh CPB wants the trial to be completed and punishment war criminals. We also demand that Jamaat a fascist party which committed war crimes and crimes against humanity should be banned. The present government with much vacillation went on with the process of trial. The special tribunals constituted for this purpose have justly awarded death penalty to some of the accused persons, whose petitions for appeal now lie in the High Court. In the meantime one Kader Mullah, a notorious criminal, personally involved in the murders and rapes in 1971, as a collaborator of Pakistan army has been awarded death penalty by High Court and he has already been hanged.
The National Assembly of Pakistan had the audacity of passing a resolution condemning the execution of Kader Mullah, which shows they have neither learnt nor changed since 1971. Our party and the people of Bangladesh condemn this reactionary attitude of Pakistani ruling class.
Not only Pakistan, even most of the western media and governments of USA, EU also opposed the execution of the war criminals. They had been giving heavy pressure on Bangladesh to stop the trial. Top bosses made phone calls to the prime minister and other government high ups even up to the last moment before the execution of Kader Mullah. The calls were made to stop the implementation of the verdict of the court and also to threaten about consequences. Being heavily paid by Jamaat, Western lobbies, hired lobbyist farms and some of the so called Human Rights organizations of the west who were observers during the trial and execution of Saddam Hossain, suddenly became very vocal, claiming that the process of trial in Bangladesh is not and transparent and according to international standards. However, the process of trial for the war criminals of 1971, is far more transparent and liberal toward the accused than any other international trial so far held in Dan Haag, Nuremburg or Tokyo. Here in Bangladesh the accused were given the opportunity to appeal to the supreme court and even file review petition.
Jamaat a fundamentalist and fascist party openly called for civil war is resorting to terrorist activities killing innocent people (several hundred people have been killed in the recent period),targeting democratic political activists, throwing bombs, torching vehicles, trains burning alive passengers and drivers of busses and cars, burning houses installations and factories, disrupting rail and road links and communication. Such a large scale violence, sabotage and terrorism is unprecedented in our history.
The BNP main opposition party, one of the two major bourgeois parties headed by Khaleda (two times former Prime Minister) has made political alliance with Jamat in order to fight the ruling party. It has gradually shifted from centre-right position to the extreme right position. The BNP who still has a popular support and the possibility of winning the next election (if there is any reasonably free and fair election) is giving all out support to Jamat. Therefore with the international backing and the BNP’s support it has been possible for Jamaat to create havoc in the country.
The ruling bourgeois party AL has to a great extent lost its popularity because of its misrule and misdeeds during the tenure of last 5 years which include rampant corruption, anti-poor, sale handing over oil and gas blocks on land and sea to western companies,policies brutal suppression of labour movement,denial of trde union rights,repressions on garment workers-dismmissal,retrenchment,assault and arrest of leaders and activists of Garment Workers Trade Union Center and CPB,murder,kidnap, state terror along with party terror etc.
Sensing that it may get defeated in the next election, AL government and its allies (including so called left parties such as Workers Party, JSD, and Smmayabadi Dal who are also part of this govt.) made an amendment (15th amendment) to the constitution abolishing the provision of neutral non partisan care taker govt. during the time of election.
The major opposition party BNP and and many other parties opposed the 15th amendment and demanded the restoration of caretaker govt. CPB also demanded that the proviso for a caretaker government for three months to oversee the election, a system which was introduced on the basis of a national consensus should continue.The amendment was intentionally made with the evil motive of rigging and provoking BNP to boycott the upcoming election.This created a political crisis. Even UN secretary general sent his representative to Dhaka with a mission to solve the problem. However all negotiation failed.
There were two main disputes in the present political situation.
One. Dispute regarding trial of crimes against humanity. Jamaat and fundamentalist parties were fighting to foil the trial and destroy the fundamental basis of the state of Bangladesh as a secular,democratic and modern civilized state.
Two. Dispute regarding modalities of the election, the form and content of the election time government which would assure a participatory, fare and acceptable election.
Unfortunately these two issues were intertwined deliberately by Jamaat as an ally of 18 party alliance led by BNP. BNP despite its difference with Jamaat regarding its total opposition to war crime tribunal and spirit of liberation struggle (BNP being founded by General Zia an eminent freedom fighter and former President of the country, where many freedom fighters,who fought in the frontline,occupy leading positions.) virtually went along the line of Jamaat.AL did not delink the two issues,r ather found it convenient to push BNP towards Jamaat so that BNP the main power competitor could be branded anti liberation force and pro fundamentalist (religious).
CPB called upon the government to shun any hesitation and vacillation and ensure trial and punishment of war criminals, ban Jamaat and other fascist outfits and suppress with iron hand armed attack, terrorism and subversion by anti-liberation and communal forces. The party had been calling for cutting off all routes and sources of huge funds, arms, ammunitions and trained cadres of Al-Qaida and other organisations from abroad.
CPB at the same time wanted AL to come to an understanding with BNP and other opposition parties regarding election time government etc. CPB organized mass campaign along this line and met the top leadership of AL and BNP and other parties to bring about a solution but failed.
In order to press for their demand BNP and its allies (including Jamaat) called for series of general strike, road, railway and river rout blockade. This has been continuing for more than months with brief intervals.So economy is in a shambles. In many parts of the country administration partially collapsed, police force seems to be helpless.
Our party and people at large demanded a fruitful dialogue so as to reach a peaceful and reasonable solution to ensure a participatory and fare election acceptable to all. However there was no solution and AL and its partners decided to go for a unilateral election and January 5 ,2014 was set for the election to the 10th parliament of the country.The ruling AL was rather more interested to keep BNP, (major opposition party, which secured 57% of the votes in the recent city corporation elections) out of the parliamentary election. Communist Party of Bangladesh CPB and Socialist Party of Bangladesh BSD now in a united forum decided not to participate in such farcical election. In fact, no party other than those who were in govt. participated in the election. For 154 parliament seats out of total 300 seats, there is only single candidate who have been unofficially declared elected. For the remaining seats also there would be no election as such. This is a farce of the highest order.
The ruling class as represented by AL and BNP has so far failed miserably to ensure a sustainable democracy and resolve the fundamental crisis facing the country.CPB therefore had been calling for a broad left democratic alternative to lead the country,locked in bipolar politics,out of the abyss.
The situation has been further aggravated due to the involvement of foreign powers and their intervention and manipulations in the internal politics and power game.The US and other imperialist forces are taking advantage of the on going chaos,anarchy, strife and unstable situation to pressurize Bangladesh to sign bilateral agreements to the detriment of our national interest.Very recently govt. has suddenly signed TICFA with USA,(This has been pending for last ten years) which is highly detrimental to our independent national economy.Interestingly indeed BNP which is at loggerhead with the ruling party welcomed the agreement clearly to please the foreign bosses to solicit support in their struggle for power.Many such overt and covert agreements have been made with foreign powers which jeopardize our sovereignty.The foreign powers also have clash of interest amongst themselves and many political parties are fighting proxy war on behalf of them.The infighting and chaos which is also being provoked by foreign powers is creating favorable condition for intervention of different kinds.We can not forget military backed intervention in 2007 which was engineered by imperialist forces.
In this situation the CPB is fighting for a peaceful democratic resolution of the political deadlock and understanding on the question of election.The party will fight against any conspiracy to disrupt democratic and constitutional process.CPB will oppose any interference in the internal affairs by foreign powers.Our party will continue to fight for the rights and interests of toiling and broad masses while forging a broad left democratic alternative for the empowerment of people.CPB has called upon all to defeat the anti liberation,fundamentalist and fascist forces backed by imperialists and international reaction.
Mujahidul Islam Selim, President
Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed, General Secretary
Bangladesh Communist Party