“Weeding” of corrupt must go beyond Awami League

Nadeem Qadir
Published : 18:45, Sep 20, 2019 | Updated : 18:51, Sep 20, 2019

Nadeem QadirIn an unprecedented but welcome move, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the weeding out of corrupt people from her ruling Awami League. All good things must start at home and she has just done that. Thank you.
The opposition might use the development to be ultra-critical, but one can remind them that the operation started by tracking down the premier’s own party men. She has acted when she thought enough is enough.
Thus the opposition, keeping in mind its affairs of Hawa Bhaban, must back the government in its effort to clean the country of corruption, the main hurdle in ensuring good governance.
The move to crack down on “casinos” and its owners came as a big surprise to the people of Bangladesh as security forces arrested a ruling party affiliate Jubo League leader as well as others sending shivers among others involved in corrupt practices.
From the Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Home Minister, Information Minister and Dhaka Police Commissioner have made it clear that no mercy would be shown to the corrupt or those involved in illegal activities in line with premier’s announced: “zero tolerance” on graft.
One has to understand that when the premier, known for her kindness and tolerance limit, has decided to act, she means business and that despite inviting the risk of hostility from many hurts by the move.
A good move makes many enemies and surely Sheikh Hasina knows there would be reprisals. Thus she should be very alert to hostile elements and their conspiracies. Many people welcomed the move on one hand and on the other prayed for the safety and good health of the prime minister.
A roulette in a casino Rapid Action Battalion busted at Dhaka. PHOTO: BANGLA TRIBUNE/Sazzad HossainIt is a breach of trust for those who resorted to corrupt practices. They were no less than the infamous “Mir Zafar” of Bengal’s history. Instead of showing the way to others to uphold the ideals and wishes of their leader, they stabbed her in the back. Thus they deserve no sympathy --- rather, exemplary punishment.
Corruption is not new in Bangladesh, but its tentacles have grown in length and breadth, especially during the tenure of the two military dictators – General Ziaur Rahman and General Hussain Muhammad Ershad --- as they allowed the graft to cling on to power.
Between 2001 and 2006, a new record in corruption levels and graft in new areas were seen, patronized by General Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman. He institutionalized corruption by setting up the infamous “Hawa Bhaban.”
Whispers about the widespread graft by ruling party men as well as officials close to them started getting louder over the past few years. The premier had said she would crack down at an “appropriate time,” meaning “I am observing and let me see how far these people go.”
The other pertinent question is when would the axe fall on government officials, many of whom already have files with the Anti-Corruption Commission, without any fear or favour.
Police or other law enforcing agencies have been blamed for widespread corrupt practices. They always cannot act due to “pressure from above” and those who were themselves involved should be looked at from a different angle.
The weeding out process should continue in all directions and beyond the Awami League to make the prime minister’s efforts against corruption successful and to ensure the birth of a graft-free Bangladesh.
Nadeem Qadir is the Consulting Editor, Daily Sun and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.

***The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and views of Bangla Tribune.