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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sleeping ministers, rapes and atrocities in Bangladesh

Source: Weekly Blitz
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Although nine months have already passed since Awami League led ‘Grand Alliance’ government [a combination of leftists and Islamists] came in power through a questioned landslide victory, according to Dhaka’s popular vernacular tabloid daily Manabzamin, twenty ministers and junior ministers in the cabinet are seen very much inactive. Two of the ministers of the present government are mostly spending time at home or hospital as they have several physical complications, while some of them do not attend their office even five hours a week. Ministries are forced to send files at their homes for signature. According to Manabzamin, there is no reflection of the Electoral Manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League in its administration. There are 52 member cabinet in Bangladesh consisting ministers, junior ministers and advisors. The newspaper said, there is ‘tug of war’ between ministers and secretaries in a number of ministries in Bangladesh, as those ministers are trying to turn these government offices into mere center of party sycophants and touts. The most effective minister in the preset cabinet in Bangladesh is Abul Maal Abdul Muhit, who is in charge of the finance ministry. He is popularly known as the ‘digital minister’ in Bangladesh as he already has introduced e-communication system in his ministry where, every citizen of Bangladesh can contact the minister through email and get replies to their questions. Finance ministry in Bangladesh is considered to be the most effective under the leadership of AMA Muhit.
Agricultural affairs minister Matia Chowdhury, who enjoys high esteem of being the most honest politician in Bangladesh is earning wrath of Awami League activists as she rejects all forms of requests from party touts. But now a days, there are even allegations of irregularities against Mrs. Chowdhury. She is alleged of issuing license for dealing in fertilizer only to Awami League cadres.
Commerce minister Lieutenant Colonel [Retired] Faruq Khan has already earned the bad reputation of being the most talketive minister in Bangladesh. Although there are rumors that the commerce minister does not pay any heed to any type of persuation from the party cadres, it is proved that several relatives of him are active in lobbying and they are known to be the ‘channels’ in reaching the minister in getting any issue settled and done. Faruq Khan is already alleged of according a huge business contract of edible oil and sugar to a non-existent Swedish company.
There are series of allegations against the junior minister in law ministry, Advocate Qamrul Islam. It is reported in press that, he is continuing to take bribes in appointing Public Prosecutors and Assistant Public Prosecutors in Bangladesh.
General Secretary or ruling party and minister in charge of local government and rural development [LGRD], Syed Ashraful Islam attends his office only 5-6 hours a week. His absence in the ministry causes tremendous obstacle in smooth performance of this very important office of the government.
According to some of his close allies, the LGRD minister wakes up from bed everyday at 1 pm. Till he gets prepared, the working hour of the ministry is almost finished. Syed Ashraful Islam is more busy in party activities than taking care of his responsibility as a very important minister.
Labor and manpower minister, Engineer Mosharraf Hussain [who is the father-in-law of Prime Minister’s daughter] has failed to make any contribution in creating any job scope for Bangladeshi workers abroad. He also has failed in doing anything in resolving the ongoing labor unrest in various textile and readymade garment industries in Bangladesh.
Junior minister of labor and manpower ministry, Monnujan Sufian [wife of a trade unionist] spends most of the time in her constituency instead of attending the ministry.
Land minister Rexaul Karim Heera and Social Welfare minister Enamul Huq Mustafa Shahid spend most of their time at their homes, as they have several physical complications due to old age. Sons of these ministers were seen active in the ministries concerned in ‘looking after’ day-to-day activities of the ministries. It was reported in the local media that those sons of the ministers were making good amount of cash through various types of corruption, taking the advantage of their father’s undeclared representatives in the ministries.
Leftist leader Dilip Barua, who is in charge of the industries ministry has failed to show any remarkable performance in past nine months. He has already been alleged of corruption while purchasing fertilizer from abroad. It may be mentioned here that, Bangladesh imports Urea, Potash and other types of fertilizer from foreign countries worth a few hundred million dollar, each year.
Minister in charge of civil aviation and tourism ministry, Golam Mohammed Quader is working tirelessly despite series of threats from the corrupt trade unionists in several organizations under his ministry, including the nation flag career Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Communication minister Syed Abul Hossain is alleged to be persuing and lobbying in getting various projects for his own company named Shaco Limited. Abul Hossain is known to be a good friend of China.
It is further alleged that, Abul Hossain has virtually forced the energy ministry in issuing the permission in favor of his own company for establishment of 150 mega watt power station in Sylhet district.
Health ministry has turned into an epicenter of war between the minister, junior minister and advisor. Due to such internal battle, there is virtually no performance of this ministry, which already resulted in no initiative from the government in providing vaccine to people during the recent crisis of Swine Flu. There are also reports in Bangladeshi media that the country is already suffering from acute crisis of birth control and family planning materials.
Minister in charge of livestock ministry is presently at the center of serious controversy as several animals are continuing to die at Dhaka zoo during past few weeks. The minister failed to take any action in stopping such dubious death of animals.From these information it becomes crystal clear that the present government is gradually failing in ensuring good governance. Bangladesh Awami League is not only failing to fulfill its electoral pledges to the nation, but, pushing the fate of the nation towards multiple complicities mostly due to either mafunction or non-functioning of the ministers.
Meanwhile, another leading vernacular daily in Dhaka, Amader Shomoy reported that, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son, Sajib Wajed Joy is working as her ‘undeclared advisor’ since the present government came in power.
In 1996, when Awami League came in power, Joy, who lives in United States committes series of irregularities by proclaiming to be the advisor to his mother. It was even reported in a English language periodical in Bangladesh that Sajib Wajed Joy became owner of huge properties in United States during the tenure of his mother [1996-2001].
Now, here is the most alarming information, which will clearly show the bad governance of Bangladesh Awami League in past nine months. According to Amar Desh, a front ranking vernacular dailly newspaper in Bangladesh, 338 women and children were raped during past nine months in various parts of Bangladesh while 50 women and 22 minor girls were murdered after rape.
The report further said, 68 women and 51 girls were also gang raped during past nine months.
On September 25, 2009, 10 activists of Bangladesh Awami League raped a young girl, on her return from a Hindu temple at Kolapara upazila [sub-district] under Patuakhali district at the Southern part of Bangladesh. Later, an influential ruling party leader of the sub-dustrict, forced the family members of the raped girl to sign in blank papers to stop them from lodging any complaint with police. None of the perpetrators were ever arrested since the brutal rape of the Hindu girl.
At Pirojpur district [Southern part of Bangladesh], Ahsan Kabir Mamun, information secretary of the district committee of the student wing of Bangladesh Awami League abducted a school girl and videographed while raping her with the help of his friends. It may be mentioned here that, while Awami League was in power in 1996, a leader of its student’s wing arranged a grand party at Jahangir Nagar University to celebrate the completion of his ‘raping 100 female students’. Later, instead of punishing this perpetrator, Awami League awarded him with a job at National University. Since Awami League came in power in 2009, such rapes have again started in various university campuses and residential halls in Bangladesh.

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