The scenario unfolding in Bangladesh should serve as an eye-opener to the Pakistani firebrands itching for an opportunity to call for protest marches and enforce blockades.
Differences over who should run the country during the elections have led to violence and uncertainty in Bangldesh. The country has been paralyzed by strikes and transport blockades. Over a hundred people have died in clashes since October when an 18-party opposition alliance launched a wave of protests calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid to resign before the January 5 polls. Small traders, cart pullers, hawkers, construction workers and the people living at the edge of poverty are the ones who have been hit the hardest. The possibility of army intervention to pull the country back from the brink is not being ruled out.
‘Some of the Pakistani politicians cannot resist the lure of agitation… One fails to understand why a politician like Imran Khan who performed fairly well and formed a government in KP is also drawn to the kind of disruptive politics.’
Not long ago Bangladesh was being presented as one of the top performers among 22 countries in terms of reducing multidimensional poverty. Thanks to the rioting spread over the last few months, Bangladesh is sliding back to poverty and all on account of a handful of egocentric leaders who display an uncanny fondness for violent political pursuits. Owners of garment factories fear that they may face cancellation of orders and huge losses as export containers cannot reach the Chittagong port for timely shipment while production is also hampered due to strikes. The factories are unable to take delivery of imported raw materials due to road cum railway blockades. Transportation of goods to and from the wholesale commodity markets has been hampered, resulting in a price hike. The all-important garments industry, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports, has been unable to make shipments for more than a week.
The execution of Jamaat e Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah for crimes against humanity has sparked fresh protests. The Jamaat is closely tied to the main opposition Bangladesh National Party. Among other things the execution has sparked attacks on the Hindu minority. Bombs were hurled at the home of a judge who delivered the judgment.
Some of the Pakistani politicians cannot resist the lure of agitation. While this is understandable in the case of parties with little electoral future like Tahirul Qadri’s Minhajul Quran, one fails to understand why a politician like Imran Khan who performed fairly well and formed a government in KP is also drawn to the kind of disruptive politics.