The verdict of the Zia Orphanage Trust case will be given on February 8. Former Prime Minister and BNP Chairperson is one of the key accused in this case. If she gets convicted, then she will be the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh to have been sentenced. Earlier, former President Hussain Muhammad Ershad was also imprisoned in the Janata Tower corruption case. Whatever the verdict of this case will be, in my opinion it is going to be a historic event for Bangladesh. Our constitution says, "The law is the equal for all." But often we see that the law is one for the poor and the other for the rich.
There is a strong belief in the society that money can go beyond law, justice and ethics. Majority people of the country think that the law is only for the common people, not for the powerful. This verdict is attacking heavily on such thoughts. A prominent and highly influential politician like Begum Khaleda Zia is facing the trial in the court on corruption charges. It`s a big event for sure. In recent times, the trial of the murder of Bangabandhu, the trial of war criminals, trial of Begum Zia`s corruption—is advancing Bangladesh a step forward in terms of establishing rule of law. We have been able to come out from a situation when justice was not rendered. This trial is a great example of it.
The allegations of corruption against Bangladeshi politicians are outdated. The elite citizens of the country, who prefer to be called as `civil society`, think that uncontrolled corruption of the politicians is the biggest obstacle of the country. It cannot be denied that such allegation is not totally untrue. But the main purpose of such campaign of the civil society is depoliticization. It is an old desire of the civil society of the country to form an artificial system of governance criticizing the politicians. This is why our civil society members shout loudly at the end of the tenure of each democratic government.
They only focus on the corruption and failures of the politicians. Although Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) came into power subsequently, the issue of corruption remains in the lecture-statement. No ruling party makes allegations of specific corruptions against the opposition. It is such that `the crow does not eat crow’s meat`. In this context, the ruling government maintained certain exception. The verdict of the case, which will be delivered tomorrow, was filed during the non-elected government during one-eleven. The army-backed government of the one-eleven was formed by the civil society members based on the theory that ‘corruption has encroached politics’.
The civil society said then, politicians will not file cases against their corruption. ‘Therefore, it is the time’. After the end of the one-eleven government, many people assumed that their cases will be moved to the snow-house. But the government continued all reasonable cases arbitrarily. The cases against Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Barrister Nazmul Huda, have continued uninterruptedly. Now we are also witnessing the trial of the former Prime Minister. Therefore, the idea that politicians are beyond law justice is losing its validity.
I think, it is a great achievement in terms of good governance and rule of law. But I am highly surprised at the silence of the civil society. Where are dear editors, Mahfuz Anam and Matiur Rahman? And where are those doing research on the corruption of politics? Aren’t they happy with ending the lawsuit that was started during their `dream government`? Are they not fascinated that the top leader of a major party standing at the end of the trial? Or are they disappointed at accused Begum Zia? Where is our favorite economist, Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya? How does this economist, who always speaks of corruption against the politicians, evaluate this trial?
Where is former adviser of the caretaker government Barrister Moinul Hossain? This case was filed when he was the law adviser. His case is going to get full, why is he silent? Executive Director of TIB gets the smell of corruption anywhere it happens. We often hear from his mouth that it is necessary to bring corruption under justice for ensuring good governance. A former Prime Minister has come under the law. The nation wants to know how TIB Executive Director sees this. The verdict of a corruption case against a former Prime Minister is an unprecedented incident for Bangladesh. This is a big message against corruption. But I am very sorry and ashamed that our valiant civil society members are upset with this. Are they suffering pain for Begum Zia? Are they having tears in their eyes for Begum Zia? Let`s make a hypothetical analysis before finishing. Imagine, Begum Zia is the Prime Minister and this verdict is being given against Sheikh Hasina. Won`t these civil society members say with a smiling face, `This is a milestone for democracy`? Wouldn`t their minds have been filled up with joyous gestures?
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