Bangladesh has been marching ahead with 6.0 plus per cent growth of gross domestic product (GDP) over the past several years when the world has undergone a sort of slowdown and the country remained under persistent confrontational politics.
For this achievement all credits go to the resilient citizens of the country, who toiled in all sectors including trade and commerce, while their politicians have continued to bicker among themselves since the country was born in December 1971, following a nine-month-long guerrilla war assisted by India.
However none can deny that the country was born through politics and under the leadership of politicians, who however fell apart soon into steep rivalry which gradually intensified especially after the tragic assassination of the independence leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975.
Despite the restive political situation the countrymen, including people of different trade and culture, continued their quest to achieve economic prosperity through relentless struggle, in which contribution from the reigning politics or the administration has been said to be inadequate.
In recognition to their successful struggle the Goldman Sachs investment bank has placed Bangladesh among the next eleven countries (NEC) of emerging economies in 2012.
The NEC comprising Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam is poised to overtake the 27-state European Union (EU) in terms of combined gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, said a US intelligence agency.
In early November London-based influential weekly The Economist recognised the record of Bangladesh in improving lives of its people in terms of life expectancy, the number of children at school, the incidence of disease and so on.
The Economist concluded that the country had done a much better job than anyone might have expected, given its relatively weak long-term economic growth, and could even be a model for others.
Had there been no violence, strikes, blockade or other political campaign over the past decades or years the country could have achieved more success in attaining economic prosperity, businesses said.
In the past 30 years Bangladesh has become the second largest apparel producer of the world exporting ready-made garments worth $19 billion a year, more than 80 per cent of the country's aggregate annual exports worth $24 billion.
Despite weak diplomacy and poor overseas ties some 8.0 million expatriate Bangladeshi workers have managed to get employment at different countries mainly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East and they remit more than $12 billion a year.
The country has also been drawing foreign direct investment (FDI) from different countries in energy, shipbuilding, ports, industrial production and export-oriented industries.
The foreign exchange reserves were also at a satisfactory level of over $10 billion since 2010, despite oil import worth $6.0 billion to feed oil-fired power plants.
The foreign currency reserves were at record level of over $12 billion in October last year. However, in November it came down to $11.75 billion because of payment of dues and interests through Asian Clearing Union.
Foreign entrepreneurs have already registered their investment offers worth billions of dollars, which are expected flow in from the current fiscal year.
The follow of FDI to the country was over 1.14 billion in 2011 and it is expected to rise with a bigger proportion in the current calendar year, said the officials at the Board of Investment (BoI).
Bangladesh is now also capable to produce more than 34 million tonnes of rice a year, sufficient to support some 155 million people in the country. In addition it also yields 1.0 million tonnes of wheat annually.
The country which used to generate around 3,500 megawatt (mw) of electricity in 2009, has now generation capacity of more than 6,000 mw, against the demand of some 7,500 mw.
However, due to higher generation cost in power plants most of which are now oil-fired, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) now generates around 4,500 mw in peak hours.
There are also some spectacular successes attained in political arena decades ago as political leaders were able to stop ambitious military usurpers from grabbing the state power through coups.
Following the assassination of Bangabandhu with most of his family members at his private residence at Dhanmandi, the country saw a series of coups and counter-coups through which the then deputy army chief Major General Ziaur Rahman became the military ruler and later turned into an elected president of the country.
Only six years after the assassination of Bangabandhu, President Ziaur Rahman, founder of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was also slain in an abortive coup during a visit to Chittagong on May 30, 1981.
Late Ziaur Rahman, as a Major, had revolted against Pakistan army and declared independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman over Chittagong radio on March 27, 1971 to initiate the liberation war, in which he fought as a sector commander throughout.
Usurpation continued in the following year when a quasi-democratic government like the previous one was toppled by then incumbent army chief in 1982 in a bloodless coup.
However, the coup leader, who like his predecessors, later turned into a politician by manipulating referendum or polls, was compelled to quit following a democratic upheaval in late 1990.
Since then the country has a perfect democracy as the country held four consecutive parliamentary elections, beginning with one under a neutral caretaker government in early 1991.
Earlier before 1991 no election was fair since 1973, as political leaders and activists or military groups used to manipulate the election result by interfering in electoral process at different levels, political observers say.
However, the elections since 1991 were fair and widely accepted at home and abroad. But the leaders of the main potential political parties continued to bicker. They never came to a consensus on any issue.
On the process of the ongoing trial against some alleged collaborators at the International Crime Tribunal, the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP could not come to a consensus, though both parties say separately that they want trial of crimes against humanity.
But the problem is that the collaborators earlier established themselves strongly in the political arena utilising ongoing feud among leaders of rival political parties who had deep contributions in the liberation war.
It is an irony that the ruling Awami League, which is now holding war crimes trial against some leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, who in fact had collaborated with Pakistan army in 1971, conducted a coordinated movement in 1994-95 to press the BNP government to hold the next general election under a neutral caretaker government. BNP later befriended Jamaat to root out Awami League in the parliamentary election in 2001.
Later BNP marched one step forward in consolidating ties with Jamaat and it appointed two key figures of the party, who had blames of collaboration, as cabinet ministers.
Earlier, former military-ruler-turned president General Hussain Muhammed Ershad had appointed now-detained BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, another alleged collaborator, a minister.
Since then strikes, blockades, clashes, killings, violence, vandalism and arson continued even on petty issues and differences.
The deadly violence in October 2006 between the then ruling four-party alliance led by the BNP and the opposition Awami League paved way for a army-backed interim government to prolong its three-month tenure to an staggering two-year regime. But it seems the leading politicians, who were persecuted much by the military-backed interim government, have forgotten the ordeal very quickly.
Now they are on the threshold of inviting another third-force-backed regime as the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP are firm to implement respective agenda.
Despite advise from the country's leading citizens, political observers and analysts and also foreign diplomats both the parties have no initiative to start dialogue with their rivals.
After the persecution of politicians by the past military-backed interim government, analysts thought that this time politicians will be careful and will take no steps that will make easy for usurpers to grab the state power.
The ruling party did not feel any grudge to discuss the issue of war crimes trial with the BNP, which ultimately blamed the trial as motivated and alleged that the trial was being manipulated to remove political opponents.
However, the war crimes trials are being taken forward, though the fate of the trial is still uncertain, as following the resignation of the chief of the trial bench, over Skype conversation row, the world media has become critical of the trial.
The ruling Awami League has alleged that the opposition, including the Jamaat, spent millions of dollars at home and abroad to undermine the trial.
Businesses and political analysts fear more violence to come in the run up to the next parliamentary election due in early 2014 as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing her party leaders recently reiterated that the next election would be held under an administration formed with elected representatives from the present parliament.
She took the stance against the neutral caretaker government following a 2010 High Court verdict that termed the concept of the caretaker government was unconstitutional.
However, considering the persistent confrontational politics the court advised that the next two parliamentary election could be held under the caretaker system.
The BNP demands the next election must be held under a neutral caretaker government which oversaw the past four fair and widely accepted parliamentary elections from 1991.
Businesses have urged political parties to ensure negotiation instead of street showdown for the sake of economic progress, peace and overall development of the country.
The writer is special
correspondent of the FE.