A few senior Awami League leaders who had been co-sharer of power with Sheikh Hasina and now devoid of it have been telling that the recent drive against corruption, terrorism and lawlessness may tarnish the image of the party. People did hear it from a person who himself probably did resort to corruption in the past and is probably fearful of being caught in the drive. The people of the country have welcomed the drive launched in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s zero tolerance policy against corruption. When the people have been acclaiming the drive against corruption and lauding her sincere step to root it out how could a senior leader of the party call the drives to be contrary to the interest of the people! His statement in fact has gone in favour of the corrupt people who have amassed a huge wealth. There is no doubt that the drive has been continued in a right way and that most of the corrupt people would be brought to book.
The question is how could a leader of the party that fought for national independence to make the people free and change the lot of common men make such a statement? The reality is a large number of people who belong to Awami League have been indulging in corruption. Some of them being co-sharer of power have been making money just to benefit a few ignoring the millions who have not yet been benefitted by the independence. It was the corruption of some unscrupulous leaders who had been at the helm by virtue of their sacrifices for the party for long. Yes, we admit these people had their contribution in the War of Liberation and all national events in the past. But that did never allow them to resort to corruption.
If we consider that there were only 23 families during the 23 years of Pakistani rule. Now in course of 4 decades the number has gone up to 23 thousand. One would find 10-20 millionaires in one district. One may say that the country has developed, so the number of rich people has increased. But if we go to evaluate disparity between the rich and poor, the living standard of the poor has improved little. Certainly this is against the desire of the Father of the Nation who fought for reducing the disparity between the rich and poor. It is his daughter Sheikh Hasina who has been relentlessly fighting since she came into politics of Bangladesh in 1981.
She has been working to fulfill the expectation of her father i.e., economic salvation of the common people. It is Bangabandhu who did feel that the economic emancipation of the common people would be meaningless if the poverty and disparity are not eliminated and disparity between the rich and poor is eradicated. Sheikh Hasina during her eleven and half years rule has been trying her best to reach the country to its peak of glory.
In all sectors like health, agriculture, power, education, infrastructure development, industry and commerce there has been substantial development. The GDP is now 8.2 percent, the per capita income 1909 US dollars, the food production is 3.66 core tons, the annual budget 5 lakh cores, everything reflects this development. The global survey termed Bangladesh as amongst the fastest growing economies in the globe. HSBC predicted that Bangladesh’s position in the global economy would be 26th by 2030 from the present 42nd.
Sheikh Hasina is now a global leader. She has brought the country to a prestigious position. She is honest to the back bone. She is absolutely committed to the people. She loves her country very much. She could not allow a handful of corrupt people to destroy all she has achieved for the country. This is the reason for taking stringent measures against corruption. She has launched the ongoing drive to make a corruption-free society to ensure better living for the people, the only aim of her great father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This is the spirit of the drive.
Awami League is such an organization that waged movement under the leadership of Bangabandhu for emancipation of the people. From day one the party has been fighting for the Bangalees. The country was liberated under the prudent and dynamic leadership of Bangabandhu. Now we have got a leader like Sheikh Hasina who have been relentlessly working to make the country happy and prosperous. It is the high time that we should forget our petty interest and rally behind Sheikh Hasina to make successful the ongoing drive against corruption and terrorism.
The drive although late has appealed to the conscious to the patriotic people. This is for the first time the law has been enforcing against those who could not be touched before. There is a growing feeling now that none is above law in Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh. If law is allowed to take its own course against the wrong doers, the right of common people would be restored and democracy would be consolidated. Those who have been crying for democracy should support Sheikh Hasina’s recent drive against corruption. As Sheikh Hasina does not care who is the wrong doers her party should stand on her. All should come forward to provide support and cooperation to make her mission successful.
Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist