The lobbying business in Europe and America is a booming business at this moment. In exchange for money, a lobbyist firm does the impossible. It represents clients to politicians and government regulators. Although it has not become popular in Bangladesh, there is a lobbyist firm in the country which is run by a Bangladeshi born British citizen. He recently contacted a person in Bangladesh to spread this business. The person was surprised when he heard about the magnitude of the works of the lobbyists in Britain and Europe. It is true that the lobbying firms are a good source of income for the respective countries as the tax is very high.
The amendment, passed in 2014, allowed members of parliament to remove judges on grounds of incompetence and misconduct. However, on May 5, 2015, the court has unanimously declared the 16th Amendment to the Constitution illegal, which means parliament no longer has the power to impeach judges of the apex court. But, if we return to 1972’s constitution, we will see that the parliament had the authority to remove the judges. Rumors are there that the lobbyists spent huge stash of money to scrap the verdict of the 16th Amendment. After the verdict, a group of people had something on their mind which would transform the country into Pakistan. A source said that Dr. Kamal Hossain’s son-in-law was the lobbyist who worked behind scraping the Supreme Court`s decision to scrap the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. Dr. Kamal Hossain, who led the process which produced the Constitution of Bangladesh, has played a contradictory role here as he often boasts of Bangabandhu’s ideology. He formed a separate political party vowing to remain on the side of the Liberation War but now he has joined hands with the anti-liberation forces like BNP and Jamaat. Moreover, he was a member of the committee which was formed to probe into the 21 August grenade attack and criticized the BNP-Jamaat government and asked for justice.
Looking back a little, we will see that the families of the war criminals, who had huge money, hired the lobbyists who bribed the human rights organizations to falsify information. They put pressure on Bangladesh to stop the trial of BNP, Jamaat, and Jatiya Party war criminals. But those war criminals, who had no money to hire lobbyists, no human rights organizations spoke for them.
Another example is the arrest of photographer Shahidul Alam, a descendant of the anti-liberation force. He received support from all around the world. The police also arrested an actress for instigating riots in the country. But nobody spoke a word against this, said the British source.
Calling this land as a fertile land for lobbying, the British lobbyist said that there is a good opportunity to do business in the upcoming national elections. Nowadays, the business firms also employ lobbyists in doing businesses. It is legal in many countries.
Last night he said that seeing many human rights organizations criticizing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may seem that other countries dislike her. However, the recent media reports revealed that Bangladesh has been elected a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the next three years despite different lobbyists stood against such decision. Bangladesh bagged 178 votes in the election where the members of the UN General Assembly voted.
Other countries like India, Bahrain, and Philippines participated in the election. However, Bangladesh became victorious. Bangladesh has so far won thrice 2009-2012, 2015-2017 and 2019-2021 during the tenures of prime minister Sheikh Hasina. 15 countries did not vote for Sheikh Hasina. It is not like that they were against her, but, they preferred other candidates for this job.
Translated from the article originally written in Bengali by Sayedul Arefin, a development activist.