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12th-Jul-2016

We need participatory democracy, not US anti-terrorism technology

By Editorial Desk

Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal on Monday discussed Bangladesh security issues with US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Canadian High Commissioner and British acting High Commissioner in the city. She also held a marathon meeting with Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla looking for a common strategy.
Indications suggest that Bangladesh's friendly governments with strong political ties and multiple business relations are contemplating for developing an informal coalition to meet terrorism in Bangladesh. But we are afraid efforts by outside powers without committing the entire nation to fight terrorism may prove futile at the end. The greatest weakness of the present government is its lack of popular base and fear to face free election.   
Biswal's visit here immediately after the twine terrorist attacks in Dhaka and Sholakia is viewed by many as very important if she has the right solution for grave situation. She had also meetings with senior government ministers and advisers yesterday.
The attack at Gulshan Café killing at least 18 foreigners out of 32 has earned Bangladesh bad name and shame and anymore attacks bear the high risk of a volatile situation for us to face gun to gun fight within the country and continue normal trade and commerce abroad.
We don't want to be overtaken by terrorists' attacks but we have been compelled to witness such threats in a volatile political situation. The failed leadership of the government, which is persistently proving ineffective to rein in the situation, is equally helpless but not ready to allow the people to be taken into confidence. In other words, the US thinking as expressed through the US Assistant Secretary Ms Biswal is not clear. She is offering help to the government to fight terrorism the US way in the Middle East, but mentioned no concern about the internal situation of human rights or good governance.  
Biswal's current visit to Dhaka after a similar visit in early May this year after the killing of US embassy officer and LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan and his friend shows the US government's growing concerns that things are slipping out of control. The governments of Japan and Italy have meanwhile announced their support. The Indian government has also made similar offer among many others to combat terrorism.
What we must assert that we do not need US killing expertise for fighting terrorism, but US's democratic ideology. The issues of democracy denial politics and excessive police power have impacted on creating frustration and helplessness.
Our terrorism is not Islamic, but anti-Islamic terrorism passing as Islamic terrorism is certainly waiting on the wings to exploit the situation. American policy to fight terrorism has proved seriously flawed and it is rather spreading.    
We welcome any international cooperation emerging to deal with our militancy which is more political than Islamic terrorism in nature and cannot be used to suppress the need of democracy and good governance.
We need people's power not exclusive police power to fight terrorism. In the wrong way terrorism is growing more vicious.  
By ignoring the political aspect of the crisis in Bangladesh Ms Biswal with her idea, as known from press reports, of helping the government to fight terrorism with US expertise, will have no headway for ending terrorism.  
We are facing growing terrorism where terrorism was not there. Reform is necessary in our politics for peace and order in Bangladesh. There is no need for Bangladesh becoming a party to the fight of complicated international terrorism.