Syed Mahbubur Rashid
Probably for the first time in recent times the world famous financial weekly the 'Economist' Bangladesh has got a positive coverage regarding its economic development. It has categorically stated that Bangladesh has been able to remove the stigma of a being a bottomless basket attributed by Henry Kissinger former U.S. Secretary and an avowed hater of Bangladesh. During the war of liberation of Bangladesh Kissinger and his cohorts took side with the aggressor, Pakistan because of the then geopolitical situation. The Economist itself is not happy with political situation obtaining in the country. It has directly and indirectly condemned the acrimonious relation existing between leaders of two major political parties. The Economist also did not hide the psyche of the leaders of two major political parties and desired that they should quit politics, hitherto known as minus two theory. This journal willingly or unwillingly took a faulty stand on the issue of those who have been put on dock for committing crimes against humanity along with the war crimes. It is unbelievable that the Economist does not understand that it is not fair to say those people should not face trial. It has expressed doubt that this was being done for taking political vengeance. Can we accept that a globally famous journal like the economist is not aware of the modus operandi being followed in the trial. The trial is being held under an Act passed by the Parliament of Bangladesh. It is being held in an open court. The defence lawyers are getting adequate opportunities for arguing on behalf of their clients they are entitled to produce defense witnesses. They will get the chance of appeal before the appellate division of the Supreme Court. Of course, there has been a buzz words around the globe that the international standard is not followed here. We are not aware if the U.N. or any other global organization has issued some directions known as international standard. Every country holds trial under its own law, we hope that the explanation will remove misgivings if there be any.
We are really happy to read the glorious economic achievement of Bangladesh as described in the Economist. In case of life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality, infant immunization, female literacy Bangladesh has improved over India and Pakistan. As far as per capita income is concerned, Pakistan and India are in betters position than Bangladesh. But Bangladesh can boast of one thing. It has poverty but not abject poverty like that of India and Pakistan. Former U.S president Bill Clinton has recently narrated five ideas which may make human life better. In his list mobile phone remains at the top Bangladesh has made tremendous progress in the use of mobile telephones compared with its neighbors. It is having greater economic impact on the nation. Within a few seconds money can be transferred from one corner of the country to another. The Economist has praised our farmers. We are proud of them. They have a wonderful quality called resilience. Occasionally, their citadels are savagely attacked by natural calamities. They have withstood the onslaught with courage and begin their life anew. If they are properly provided with the inputs, they have the ability to achieve miracle. Bangladeshi workers working abroad are one of the highest foreign exchange earners. Their journey to the places of the works have not always been smooth. Many of them have been cheated by the so called man power exporter. Garments workers, majority of whom are also greatly contributing in the economic development of the country. I fact farmers, remittance earners and the garments workers are the wheels of the engine of the economic growth of Bangladesh. Some of the NGOs have played a great role in the growth. Role of the government has not been upto the desired level because of graft and poor governance. Let us quote a few lines from the Economist (Page 13, November 3rd -9th 2012 issue) "Bangladesh shows what happens if you take women seriously as agents of development. When the country became independent, population control policies were weak and ineffective (this was the period of China's one child policy and India's forced sterilization). Happily lacking the ability to impose such savage restriction, the government embarked instead upon a programme of voluntary family planning. It was stunningly successful. It not only halved the rate of fertility within a generation but also increased in women influence within their households. For the first time wives controlled the size of families it is a known fact that religious fundamentalists are against the progress of women. They do not believe that women can play a role for economic and social development of a country. Afghanistan under Taleban rule was a well known case to this effect. In Bangladesh earlier the religious fundamentalist tried to raise their heads, particularly when Jamat Islami had an alliance with the BNP government. The present government probably may claim success on this count they have even handedly tackled the issue and women are properly playing their role.
We regretfully mention the tragic fire incidents of the garments industry. happened on 25.11.2012. This is not the first case, this time the casualties have been much higher. Earlier from the beginning of the industry, scores of such accident happened and innumerable lives were lost. This happened due to the callousness, irresponsibility and absence of feeling for the workers. Sufficient measures were not taken to present fire incidents. There have not been enough exit routes for the workers at the time of accident. In the name of protection of properties, places of works were made into forts. This is very unfortunate. Because of the sincerity and hard labour put in by the garments workers, garments industry has earned a name and fame in the globe. But they have been treated in an inhuman way. As a result thousands of garments workers were burnt to death. The government declared a day of mourning for the victims of Tazreen fashion fire incident. But this is not enough. Time has come that adequate measures are taken so that no such tragic accident happens in future. As a compensation for the victim Tk. 1.00 lac has been announced. This not at all sufficient. In paying compensation an amount equivalent to 20 years salary/wages of a victim shall have to be taken into consideration and should be paid to his/her family.
From the report of the Economist under review so far the development of this country is concerned it is clear that we could progress more if there would have been minimum consensus among the politicians of the country. We hope that they will realize the truth and we shall march ahead.