Sunday, March 27, 2011

Awami League Leaders Out To Slam Dr. Yunus

Bangladesh Government Site A section of the ruling Awami League leaders have started a campaign against Grameen Bank founder Prof Muhammad Yunus, who was removed by the government from the post of managing director of the bank on the grounds of being too aged.(The Daily Star ) The anti-Yunus campaign is being conducted when a compromise between the government and the Nobel laureate is in progress, amid the US and few other western countries' call for an honourable solution to the vexed issue. The party has adopted a hush-hush policy to carry out the campaign against Prof Yunus through seminars, symposiums, round-table discussions, and political rallies across the country, party sources said. Prof Yunus was removed from the post of managing director of Grameen Bank on March 1 by the Bangladesh Bank, which the opposition BNP and some international quarters condemned. The Nobel laureate appealed to the High Court challenging the legality of the order the following day but the High Court on March 8 upheld Bangladesh Bank's order. Awami League insiders said the party high command has already instructed a section of its leaders, including some top-ranking ones, to conduct the campaign. Initially, the ruling party kept mum over the Prof Yunus issue. A senior leader of the party told The Daily Star that they have to wage the campaign as some influential international quarters are mounting pressure on the government to reach a consensus with Prof Yunus and the main opposition BNP is trying to gain political leverage from this. “It's the BNP and Khaleda Zia who criticised Prof Yunus during the last caretaker government and now they are speaking in his favour only for political gain. We will also launch a campaign in this regard,” said Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahabubul Alam Hanif. Hanif, who is also a special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Mohammad Nasim yesterday criticised Prof Yunus at two separate discussions. Addressing a discussion at the Jatiya Press Club, Hanif said Prof Yunus has introduced Bangladesh as a nation of beggars in the globe although Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had introduced it as a brave nation that won independence in 1971. “Whenever Prof Yunus goes anywhere, he takes a poor woman with a goat or hen with him and portrays Bangladesh as a poor nation,” he said at the Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) organised discussion. Jatiya Party Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju chaired the meeting. He said the western countries are favouring Prof Yunus in their own interest. Mentioning that the Norwegian government first noticed money being illegally transferred, the Awami League leader said the Nobel laureate evaded tax of crores of taka and siphoned off the money abroad and for this reason foreigners are mounting pressure on the government. He said Prof Yunus never placed floral wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar or stood beside the victims of natural calamities. Addressing another discussion at Dhaka Reporters' Unity, Nasim, a former home minister, said it is not right to get respect through foreign pressure without showing confidence in the country's court and its people. Condemnation of Blake's statements Engineers Institutions Bangladesh, Agriculturalists Institution Bangladesh and Bangladesh Medical Association yesterday in a joint statement described US Assistant State Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake's statements on the Prof Yunus issue and bilateral relationship as diplomatic aggression. It said the laws relating to financial institutions in the country determine who would be the managing director of Grameen Bank. Prof Yunus should be respectful to the laws of the country, said the statement signed by IEB President Nurul Huda, honorary General Secretary Abdus Sabur, AIB President Nitish Chandra Debnath and Secretary General AFM Bahauddin Nasim, who is also a central organising secretary of Awami League and BMA President Mahmud Hasan and its acting Secretary General MA Aziz.