Monday, August 15, 2011

The Economist Blamed To Be Funded By Jihadists

A senior minister in Bangladeshi cabinet, Ms. Motia Chowdhury said London-based the Economist article on Bangladesh was funded by jihadists as well as drug and arms dealers. She said, "Today or tomorrow" the same newspaper will publish an apology note stating their comment on Bangladesh was wrong. She added saying "what was reported with the financial supports of militant outfits must be resisted by the government".

Bangladeshi minister said, in 2008 the Economist published a report stating "daughter of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina has achieved huge victory through a free and fair election."

Matia Chowdhury said, "the same newspaper now claims that we were elected with finance from India. For publishing two types of comments in the same newspaper, now they are liable to publish apology of either of the two."

She said, "A peaceful situation is prevalent in Bangladesh and the political situation has not turned poisonous."
Ms. Chowdhury said "history of Bangladesh, excepting Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is only the history of looting, repression and deprivation."

Foreign minister Dr. Dipu Moni [she is a physician], "defeated forces of the war of independence are now conspiring against Bangladesh at home and abroad. The anti-government demonstration cannot be termed as political instability. Those [oppositions] are continuing movement for mere personal interests."

Criticizing the Economist report, Bangladeshi foreign minister said, "There is no political crisis in Bangladesh."
She said, it is responsibility of any newspaper to verify fact before publication.

On its August 13, 2011 issue, the Economist published a report on Bangladesh titled "The poisonous politics of Bangladesh", which got huge coverage by the local and regional news media. In this report, Economist said "Bangladesh's economy is becoming ever healthier; its politics are heading in the opposite direction."

Commenting on the recent amendment to Bangladeshi constitution by the ruling party, the Economist said "The most scandalous is its railroading through in June of a constitutional amendment. Like Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, did last year, Sheikh Hasina has used the forms of parliamentary democracy to undermine the substance. Among other changes, the amendment does away with the caretaker administrations that oversaw elections in the hope of ensuring a modicum of fairness. It is hard to imagine the BNP taking part in elections under the new arrangements—the lack of trust between the parties that inspired the caretaker system persists. Bizarrely, but in keeping with a growing intolerance in Bangladesh, it is seditious even to criticise the new charter."

Earlier on July 30, 2011 the Economist in it's another report said "Ever since 2008, when the Awami League, helped by bags of Indian cash and advice, triumphed in general elections in Bangladesh, relations with India have blossomed. To Indian delight, Bangladesh has cracked down on extremists with ties to Pakistan or India's home-grown terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, as well as on vociferous Islamist [and anti-Indian] politicians in the country. India feels that bit safer."

It further said, "For India, however, the risk is that it is betting too heavily on Sheikh Hasina, who is becoming increasingly autocratic. Opposition boycotts of parliament and general strikes are run-of-the-mill. Corruption flourishes at levels astonishing even by South Asian standards. A June decision to rewrite the constitution looks to be a blunt power grab, letting the government run the next general election by scrapping a "caretaker" arrangement. Sheikh Hasina is building a personality cult around her murdered father, "the greatest Bengali of the millennium", says the propaganda."

In response to the July 30, 2011 article, Bangladeshi foreign ministry said, "The writer is of the view that the ruling Awami League [and its allies] came to power through "bags of Indian cash and advice". This is a blatant lie and aptly speaks about the writer's utter disrespect for responsible journalism. The international community, including independent observers, hailed the historic elections in December 2008 as the freest ever in the history of the country, which was reflective of the aspirations of the people. His comment is also a slur on the democracy-loving people of Bangladesh – one of the largest democracies in the world. His observation that the transit facilities between the two countries are to meet Indian security needs at the expense of the interests of Bangladesh is also misplaced as both countries are expected to benefit immensely from it."

Endorsing the fact of the foreign policy of the current Awami League government of attaching "highest importance to its relations with India", Bangladeshi foreign ministry referred to a "gold medal" awarded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on May 25, 2011 "in recognition to her outstanding contribution to institutionalising and strengthening democracy, and also for her achievement in empowering the women of Bangladesh."

It may be mentioned here that, on the website of the university, it is stated "The president of the University of Paris Dauphine, Laurent Batsch, presented Thursday, May 26 Gold Medal of the University to His Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh for his contribution to the democratization of his country and the emancipation of women."

Moreover, there is no reference of the same university giving such 'Gold Medal' to any other figures in the world. Established in 1968 at the former NATO headquarters in Western Paris, University of Paris Dauphine was granted the status of grand établissement by the French Ministry for Higher Education. Dauphine is ranked among the best business schools in France.

Commenting on the latest statement of Motia Chowdhury stating "history of Bangladesh, excepting Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is only the history of looting, repression and deprivation", neutral political analysts in Dhaka said "an esteemed politician like Motia should have felt ashamed before making such blind remarks. She might have forgotten that during Sheikh Mujibur Rahman era during 1972-1975, the government was totally engaged in limitless corruption, including stealing relief materials as well as Sheikh Mujib introduced the most repressive Special Powers Act in Bangladesh, which denies minimum rights of the citizen. He [Mujib] also suffocated the freedom of press and freedom of expression during his tenure. It is no doubt that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a great leader but he was a bad administrator. Motia Chowdhury should not have unnecessarily tried to pull Sheikh Mujib into this issue and should not have tried to unwarrantedly glorify the inglorious.