Giving dialogue a chance
Thursday, 29 May 2008

It will be futile exercise of the caretaker government in setting stage for dialogue if the two major political parties remain stubborn in their demands about joining the dialogue. The AL and BNP have borne the brunt of the CG’s massive anti-corruption shelling but that does not change the reality that these two parties enjoy massive support of the people. If the next elections are free and fair as promised, these two parties are expected to retain their pre-eminent positions even with their supreme leaders in prison. Practically nil we would say unless, of course, the polls are designed that way. But we have been repeatedly told that the CG has no such intentions and we have good reasons to believe that. The CG is obviously in a fix. It cannot perhaps agree to release Hasina and Khaleda on parole because that would greatly dilute the gravity of the cases brought against them and also it might be seen as CG bowing to pressure. On the other hand, without the AL and BNP the dialogue itself and the roadmap to next December’s national elections would be at risk. By now it has dawned on many that the degree of responsibility, accountability and honesty is directly related to the state of the society. Many good things the CG has done have not and may not produce the desired results. In a society like ours where poverty and illiteracy reign supreme, institutions, however independent, cannot be totally free from the influence of people occupying superior positions of authority. The High Court bench that asked Mujahid to seek bail from Almighty Allah underlined this harsh reality. After nearly sixteen months, we seem to have reached the most difficult stage now. With more than sixty per cent of the population not sure about the next meal, we cannot just expect honesty and integrity as defined in books. What we need is making the best of a bad situation.

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