I would definitely be a hypocrite if I hesitate to bring this to the attention of the common people and the honorable court. The current problem over caretaker government (CG) is NOT to be solved by the so-called mutual dialog between Khaleda and Hasina. Whether Khaleda should have turned into the parliament for futile discussion or whether Hasina could have waited further before hasting for the 15th amendment, is inconsequential, if not totally irrelevant, for the destructive face-off we are facing. The onus of solving the CG issue plainly, solely and starkly lies with our honorable court which unsettled the once-settled discourse of CG system through their recent landmark ruling against the caretaker provision in the 13th amendment.
We see plethora of comments plaguing our talk-shows, newspapers editorials about what Khaleda should do or Hasina should not do. Again, this is immaterial. Let me explain why.
•(1) CG resulted not from the lack of trust, but from the vulnerability of democracy
Most commentaries argue that the caretaker government was a creation out of the lack of trust among the politicians. Hence, the politicians are liable to fix their trust issues, without tampering the constitution. Such comments speak of memory lapse. We needed caretaker government, not because Hasina started to distrust Khaleda after the Magura semi-election. In fact, Hasina distrusted and disrespected Khaleda right from the beginning after Khaleda's victory in 1991 general election. And Hasina distrusted the then caretaker government too, of course, following her loss. Magura semi-election did not change that trust scenario. What Magura semi-election did, was exposing the vulnerability of election under a political party.
No matter how strong we make the Election Commission (EC), how honest commissioners we select, an EC can't overpower what a democratic government can do to turn the election-results into their favor. A democratically elected government can maim opponents and yet blame the opponents for "self-sabotaging", it can influence the law-enforcing agencies and yet harp on the tune that law "is taking its own course" and EC can be left to be a hapless, helpless onlooker, beating the drum that "apart from minor incidents, overall election was free and fair". It is not the lack of trust between Khaleda and Hasina, but it is the deficit of adult grown-up behavior in some stalwarts in the ruling party and the resultant surplus of fear of reprisal from the oppressed or deprived opponents that make the general election under political party two hundred percent vulnerable for becoming farcical. And hence the CG was the solution not just as to save democracy from the vulnerability, but also as a purge to the undemocratic wrongdoings done by some stalwarts in the democratically elected party. Our court's decision to void this caretaker system only has reinstated the vulnerability, instead of furthering the true cause of democracy in any way. The decision would be incomplete if they refrain from guidance on how to avoid the vulnerability.
•(2) It is not One-Eleven, but the preceding Ten-Twenty Eight that should count
Some commentaries are continually telling us about the emergence of 1/11 if democratic parties fail to achieve consensus. However, what needs to be remembered here is not 1/11 (2007), but the preceding 10/28 (2006) when the nation saw the tragic killing of a few civilians in broad daylight in Paltan by medieval barbaric way, under the very auspices of the democratic parties. Our constitution and our democracy got soiled with that blood, got tainted with the demonstrated barbarism and rendered helpless by the lack of justice. The obituary of our commitment to and aspiration for democracy was re-read on 10/28. Only the court can block the repetition of this that compromise with the very democratic tenet the solemn and sublime court wanted to protect and uphold.
•(3) It is not the incompleteness of the verdict, but the inconsistency in the verdict that hurts
Some prominent lawyers and civil leaders are begging (to Khaleda and Hasina) for restraint until the full verdict is available. With all respect to them, I think that is short of making any sense. If Khaleda and Hasina has to wait for full verdict before they take any steps, what the purpose and therefore, the implication of the short verdict was then? Why could not the court wait to disclose it wholly, instead of summarily?
Hasina and Khaleda have shown their true colors right after the partial verdict. They are not playing hypocrisy. We live by, if not accept, their consistently inconsistent behavior about democratic practices. What the nation can't afford is further inconsistency added to by our court in as manifest in the recent verdict.
First, on one hand, the verdict termed the 11th amendment as prospectively illegal and detrimental to our basic tenet, on the other hand, it left, did not mandate, an option to consider (by the parliament) the illegal provision for only next two rounds of general election for the sake of the safety of the people. If the court has to guide based on people safety, why did it not mandate clearly for holding the next two elections under CG? How can a word "may" reside in a supreme court decision to represent obligation?
Second, if the court ever interprets people's safety as the supreme law, what caused them to limit the CG only for next two elections? Why not as long as required by the people's safety? Or does the court interpret and hence, decide that people are entitled with their safety only until 2021 and afterward, their safety doesn't matter?
Third, the court ordered not to involve justices in the CG, if ever decided for CG in next two terms. The court recognized that this could make the judiciary vulnerable to public reps. And why could not the court recognize the same vulnerability of democracy if admin is allowed to be continued by the public reps during the election?
Fourth, a very basic question, exactly why does the CG system imperil our constitutional tenet of democracy? As I mentioned, CG is a control against the vulnerability of democracy to the power-holders. And it rooted not from Khaleda-days, but years before from Ershad days when we saw many farcical elections and resultant mockery of democracy, most often endorsed by no less than justice-led Election Commission. If CG can neutralize such vulnerability by running the state organs neutrally, overcoming or deterring the accumulated corruption-layers established by the ruling party, why can't CG system be called as an enabler or rescuer of democracy, as opposed to destroyer to democracy? Does the Supreme Court want us to resort to what Egypt underwent for last 30-years where ruling party continuously harassed, threatened opponents, yet got elected every term through democratic means?
Fifth, a more basic question. How does it sound when the court is silent about the 4th amendment, while giving us landmark ruling after ruling on some other subsequent amendments as impermissible on the reasoning of protecting the tenet of our original 1972 constitution? I, as a layman humble citizen, submissive to our constitution and our court, fail to see consistency in our honorable court's position about and supervision of the constitution achieved through the sacrifice of 3-million lives for the aspiration of a truly democratic nation.
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Very well covered.
Could not agree more.
The fact is- Hasina and Gong (also Khaleda and Gong, if you consider them in power)understand each and every word you wrote, much better than you or I do. But, since they want a pre-settled result (to ensure an election where they and only they can win) they will keep saying those sweet(!) words- that CG is against Democracy......
ex-Chief Justice (ABM Khairul Hoque) and his team made a disasterous judgement. But, I feel pity for them. Just like any other department (Army included), our Justice System also is very much in the pocket of the Ruling Party. So, these people have got their obligations to fulfill - DO AS HASINA (or KHALEDA) WANTS YOU TO DO.
Criticizing the Court is one thing (it is important to keep the Pressure ON), but fundamentally we need to formulate a device to cut the power of endless Maneuvering/Evil Manipulation of our institutions by those BLACK HANDS.
Re the last comment on the fundamental need, the isolation or cross-check is not the fundamental need. Fundamentally, we need to select the right people in the power. Nothing can overpower an elected government, thats the reality. Hence, the people need to be careful in the election. To do that, we need the free-and-fair election method, which we is currently at threat. And the burden to mitigate the threat is with the court, not with the politicians who we are afraid of.
Thanks for your comment.
I have read your blog, which is full of patriotic concern for our beloved country. I really appreciate it.I also agree with the very first line of the article. I think that people with even minimum sense of feelings for their country should read it and ponder over it.
However, I got the feelings from it that you still assume that the Judiciary,mentioned as 'court' in your blog,as an independent entity.
But isn't that the female blood sucker and her thugs, with support from her thousands of paid loyalists in the country have totally subjugated the judiciary already? Do you think ABM Khairul Hq was a dumb person not to understand all these consequences? This guy did it purposefully to implement that blood sucker's political ambition.
That's why I personally expect no justice at all from this Judiciary.
The difference between previous regimes and now is that in the past this kind of political influence over Judiciary,
ACC or administration were done by hidden method, secret way. But now these thugs are doing with open declaration.
But unfortunately, since the media and most of the intellectuals are pro atheism, we do not hear much of their concern about the current situation about the country.
My frustrated conclusion is that this nation deserves severe punishment, and Allah subhanahuta'la has put the appropriate Jalim over them now. Let them now know every bit by bit what these guys are like. And only Allah knows what awaits in the coming days for them.
Wonderful insight. You could probably limit the period of hibernation for the greater benefit.
Just one quick one, as I was reading through your very in depth and detailed description, I don't know why, the only thing that came to my mind was the haunted thought of the 'minus two' theory. Trust me, that is going to be the elixir of all odds that we see now. The two parties will be torn up into ten different pieces and we will enter into a phase of horrendous uncertainty only to meet the savior of Mahbub Bhai. It will not come easy I am afraid.
Keep up the good work and sleep less.
It is a truly patriotic blog. I think our supreme court should fully assert itself as an independent entity. I firmly believe the absolute necessity of the caretaker government. My only regret is that, last time, it should have been a little more assertive to remove the bad elements from our political mechanism.
The beginning was no doubt great.
Sainul, personally, I think you are doing a great job, although, my initial feeling is that the thoughts expressed should have been a little more precise and direct... Might be that it is not always possible.
Wishing you all the best,
Just adding some links for people with lousy memory (for "pure" reference).
- 1/11 (2007):
- 28/10 (2006) (not, 28/11, I guess):
- Fourth Amendment Act:
Thanks for spotting the error. I have corrected it in the original post.
Awesome job, indeed! Love it! Keep it coming! Only one tiny personal advice, please be cafeful if you ever go to Dhaka. I am an expat living in US and visit Bangladesh yearly. During my last visit (last November) I was verbally abused (almost physically) and openly threatened by AL people. I was also accused of treason for making simple comments about on-going corruption and chandabazi in Bangladesh. I was told "this is thier time and nobody can do a damn thing about it. If I talk too much I'll not make it out of the country"...so i shut up and left.
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