The credibility of BNP as a political party got lost from the very beginning as it was formed by General Zia who is deemed to be the mastermind behind the killing of Bangabandhu. If somebody disagree this contention, then the question arises as to why General Zia who claimed to be a freedom fighter embarked on his political mission. Those who opposed the war of liberation, General Zia brought them back in the country, offered citizenship and allowed them to reform Jamaat. The fact is that the enemy of independence, Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mujahid were the members of BNP cabinet.
The reality is that following the killing of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, the pro-independence forces could not support him. Zia knew it well. So he took the support of the ant-liberation forces to cling to power. Then comes the principles of his governance. He is the person who altered the very fundamental of the state governance. Why did he change the constitution? The secular constitution was transformed into a communal one giving priority to one religion ignoring others.
The constitution was a secular one in the sense that it gave equal rights to all religions- the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. The followers of each religion enjoy the equal rights in the country. So the aims and objectives of the constitution was changed by General Zia and the constitution was made of pro-religious one. He inserted Bismillah in the constitution to please the fundamentalist forces not for establishing Islam but for creating a congenial atmosphere for his governance. Following the path of General Zia, General Ershad incorporated Islam as state religion to please the Muslim community. The government of Begum Zia did not change ‘Islam as the state religion’. General Zia ruled nearly for six years, General Ershad for nine years and Begum Zia for 10 years. They worked against the policies of Bangabandhu and in fact all of them pursued the pro-Pakistani policies as if they wanted to make the country loyal to Pakistan.
It was General Zia’s anti-people governance which allowed his party leader to plunder wealth of the country. The policy of General Zia was to amass wealth as much as one can but lend support to his government. Consequently, a lot of money was spent for development but not for growing economy and increasing production, but for the interest of the rich and certain groups. Zia tried to get support of the middle class which played a vital role in anti-government movement.
The reason is political. If a party rules without an ideology it cannot contribute anything to the welfare mass people. In terms of Awami League, the party initiated various development schemes and relentlessly worked to complete them. On the other hand, BNP had no such planning. They ruled the country for the sake of power. They had nothing to contribute to the people. Hitherto BNP is involved in finding out faults of the government. They have no pro-people political programme. They are hatching conspiracy to tarnish the image of the government and country. There was no development, no increase of GDP and per capita income during the tenure of BNP-led government. No major projects were undertaken to improve the socio-economic condition of the people. General Zia is the person who change the nationality i.e., Bengali to Bangladeshi in an unconstitutional way. By doing this he changed the basic identity of the Bengalis.
The BNP has been playing the role of the opposition for 12 years. It was in power for the 3rd time in 2001 by defeating Awami League. The party ruled from 2001 to 2006, the worst period of Bangladesh history. Immediately after coming to power they resorted to repress Awami League leaders and workers. The way they intimidated and killed Awami League leaders and activists and minority communities was just unthinkable. No party in power could do such cruelty against the opposition Thousands of Awami league activists and members of the Hindu community were driven out of the country and they had to remain outside the country for long time.
Many of them are still living outside the country. The kind of cruelty that was demonstrated by Begum Zia’s government was unparalleled in the history. The way Begum Zia and her anti-liberation colleagues attempted to kill leader of the opposition Sheikh Hasina on 21 August 2004 at a rally of Awami League in front of Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue was horrible. How could she imagine staying in power after launching a grenade attack with a view to eliminating Awami League leaders? Attempts were made to kill Sheikh Hasina at least 20 times, but she narrowly escaped.
Despite all these Sheikh Hasina got to power defeating BNP in 2008 general election. Sheikh Hasina in spite of retaliatory action against her arch rival, concentrated on the development of the country. She has been ruling the country for more than 12 years and has changed the face of the country. Power generation capacity has increased to 2500-megawatt, per capita income is now $2000. Before pandemic the GDP was 8.2 percent and now over 5.2 percent amidst pandemic situations. There has been a lot of progress in the communication sector. The inflation was two digits and it’s now below 5.2. Bangladesh is now in second position in garment exports, 4th in fish production, 5th in vegetables production. It has launched its own satellite in space. Bangladesh is far advanced in health, education, poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
The global survey conducted by HSBC revealed that the position of Bangladesh in the global economy would be 26th from the present 42nd. In fact, Bangladesh will be a rich country within the next two decades if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can work for the people. By all cannons of development, Bangladesh is now a role model.
Bangladesh is advancing so rapidly under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina that by 2041 the country will be a developed one. Sheikh Hasina should rule the country. She has ruled the country for 12 years with brilliant success. Most of the people in the country want Sheikh Hasina to remain in power in future.
Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist.