While editing the lead story of the newspaper that I work for, I came across a story reporting how two lower-level leaders of the ruling Awami League (AL) became owners of 30 houses in three years! Did they have Alladin’s lamp?
After some actions, and the arrest of student and youth wing leaders, As the prime minister’s anti-crime crack down turned to rogue men in her Awami League, some of those who were facing the music, went into hiding.
In three houses raided by the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and owned by AL men in the old parts of Dhaka, the crime fighters seized Taka fifty million in cash, eight kilograms of gold ornaments and six weapons.
I was asked by many who were awed by the level of greed and the corruption: how much money does one need to lead a life of a “king,” leave aside a normal one.
These two men were not “hybrids,” but genuine AL men. The problem with them was that neither had any respect for the party they used to make big money.
The unprecedented anti-graft crack-down started several days back on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s orders with men from the AL and its affiliate organizations facing the music.
This is for the first time any government has started a clean-up drive from its own turf and not the opposition.
The 30 house owners were Vice President of Gandaria Thana Unit of AL Enamul Huq Enu, his brother and Joint General Secretary of the unit Rupan Bhuyian, their employee Abul Kalam and Enu’s friend Harun-or-Rashid.
The RAB says the illegal money made from casino business was the source of all the valuables, cash and property.
Ruling party leaders have said the crackdown would continue and none linked to casino business or people who received cash from those, would be spared. No mercy!
We, the people who love the premier and Bangladesh, and salute her for her hard work would like to see a 200 percent success of this crack-down to ensure a clean society and administration where words like kickbacks or favouritism would erase from our vocabulary.
The media reported that some ministers and lawmakers were under the scanner of graft fighters and quoted “highly placed sources in the government” that the premier was given a list of leaders and lawmakers who abused power, tarnished the image of the party and maximized wealth through illegal means.
The AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said that the drive would continue until the criminalization of the society and cycle of the graft was completely eliminated as most of were acted by “Hybrids” or neo-Awamis, who infiltrated into the ruling party from opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami.
Indeed the people have welcomed the move, especially when they understood it was not a witch hunt or politically motivated, but the cleansing started from the ruling party itself.
The word is around that such a drive with the total backing of the party’s powerful leaders must be implemented.
It is not only the politicians who were involved in graft and it would be best, which I am sure our “Apa” – the premier – knows much better, to rid all sections of the society of the menace. A graft free society would turn Bangladesh into one of the wonderful countries of not only Asia but the entire world. It is definitely possible.
Corruption was present in every country, but it was carried out differently and very discreetly while ours were limitless greedy people who betrayed the premier’s trust in them.
Those who support the crack-down must show their support to the premier in public and do their bit to make it a grand success. Sports organizations have come out against the wrongdoers in public and that was very important to make the crack-down successful.
When we know that we ARE protected by the premier, no big or small thugs would be able to threaten or bully us if one publicly stood to support the crack-down.
Nadeem Qadir is the Consulting Editor, Daily Sun and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.