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Commentary

Fragile democracy and weak diplomacy

By Editorial Desk
21st-Jan-2014       
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The Western diplomats offered hopes but failed for lack of understanding the complications of our party politics. Without knowing what should have been done to make it work they were found anxious to initiate dialogue that was not to take place and where the threat of one party rule remained hanging.
Instead of insisting on conditions of a free election these diplomats were advising the government and the opposition to negotiate. Where politics of compromise is unknown.
The Awami League on the other hand flouted all the pleas from the Western diplomats in favour of inclusive and credible election.
After the election was over they–the western diplomats–rightly claimed it not to deserve democratic legitimacy. Eminent countries, excluding India and Russia, have threatened pressure to be put on the government for arranging an early all inclusive election. Some countries also talked about subjecting Bangladesh to sanctions.
Newspapers like the International New York Times suggested sanction against Bangladesh if it was to go ahead with one-sided election.
The strong public utterances of the Western diplomats gave some kind of assurance to the people here that they will not be so isolated internationally in their fight for free election.
Now it should not be right or proper for anybody within the country or outside to say, following the government's earlier demand, which party to be left out of the opposition alliance. This is not also a matter to be dictated by one party to the other. 
This is not democracy and under a democracy it should be left for the people to decide. Besides, in the last deceitful election the Jamaat-e-Islami was not to take part in the election as being legally barred.
Nevertheless the whole nation was denied of the election to be inclusive and democratic by using the argument of unacceptability of the Jamaat to the government.
What is to be clear is that the Jamaat is not the real issue. The boggy of Jamaat has been used to save the government from sure defeat in the election. The Jamaat-e-Islami has not been banned as a party by the government. It would have done so if the Jamaat were so undesirable.
The issue now is that the people were denied democracy and their right to choose their government. We want India and Russia to understand that they should also be with the people in their long-term interest. 
The real losers are not the parties of the opposition but the people. The setback is for the democratic aspirations of the people.
Our fear and anxiety is that there will be more violence and more bitter disunity. The police power will not be enough without right politics and right political leadership.
Neither the Awami League nor the BNP  practised democracy. But for the immediate need of peace fresh election under an impartial government should be the best solution.
Let foreign diplomacy not make our fragile democracy a casualty plunging the country into greater violence and destruction. Such a solution has to be sought through collective outside mediation and not just through dialogue.
Long-term solution will also be necessary if democracy is to survive. Above everything else as people we must be able to show our strength of patriotic commitment being above opportunism.

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