Five prominent citizens of Bangladesh are lobbying strongly in the international arena as they held talks with foreign diplomats in national and international level to put pressure on the government to hold a participatory election in the country. They have presented a long list of complaints against the government before the embassies. The five prominent citizens are dubbed as the Five Pandavas, the characters of Hindu epic text Mahabharata. They are Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Dr Muhammad Yunus, eminent lawyer and Gana Forum president Dr Kamal Hossain, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, and CPD fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya. These Pandavas were the main plotters who devised the one-eleven government. The government is now keeping an eye on their activities.
Of late, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader indicated the Pandavas growing active again. He said, ‘The plotters of one-eleven government are active again.’
Basically, the Pandavas have raised three points against the government:
1. According to them, the ‘extrajudicial killings’ in the name of the anti-drug drive
2. Barriers to hold the upcoming election in a free, fair and participatory manner
3. The allegation of politicizing different organizations
In the past two months, they have complained to the government to the international community. One of the two newspaper editors recently visited India along with a journalist group. However, he held private talks with the think-tanks of India alone. Sources said the Editor expressed his concern over the upcoming general election of the country. The other Editor also held talks with the US ambassador in Dhaka and expressed concern over the ‘extrajudicial killings’. He told the US ambassador about the absence of good governance and accountability.
Dr Muhammad Yunus visited France, Italy and other European countries throughout the month of May. During this tour, he claimed in at least two of his seminars that the present government does not represent people. He invited European Union to play a strong role in the upcoming election to ensure that people may reflect their desire.
Dr Kamal Hossain is desperate to overthrow the government. Sources said Dr Kamal requested the United Nations Secretary General not to come to Bangladesh. However, the request was not accepted. Dr Kamal sent a letter to the International Human Rights Commission complaining against the anti-drug operations in the country.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya is visiting different embassies as representative of the civil society. He also advised the foreign diplomats to pressurize the government to give a space to everyone.
Sources said the main objective of the five Pandavas is not clear yet. However, there is no doubt that their actions are to put pressure on the government.
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