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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2958

Bangladesh: Babar & his magic stick

By Christopher Giddings

In Bangladesh, one name is widely circulated, as a man with the Lutfozzaman Babar never hesitated in accepting the challenge.  He understood the importance of bringing the law and order situation in total control for the good of his party.Lutfozzaman Babar never hesitated in accepting the challenge. He understood the importance of bringing the law and order situation in total control for the good of his party.magic stick or wish bone to mesmerize the members of Bangladeshi law enforcing agencies, in becoming extremely active in handling the opposition activists during any political agitation, which, in the name of democratic right, always turns into anarchy to the highest degree.

His name is Lutfozzaman Babar, one of the youngest members in Bangladesh cabinet, with his own style of spike cut hair and certainly a decent smile, whenever speaking to the press. Many would rather wonder as to how this thin man would handle the entire situation in the country, and successfully face the political turmoil without any tense or fear. Each time, he looks to be very confident on the members of Bangladesh’s law enforcing agencies, which too, have notable admirable and affection for this man, for untold mystery.

Opposition politicians say, Babar has a wish bone to convince the members of his forces in actively abiding by his instructions. And, despite the facts of such uninterrupted position and strength, his name never appeared in Bangladeshi press, with those corrupt ministers.

Many people say, Babar is the true disciple of his leader, late President Zia, whose name will always remain in Bangladesh history at the highest esteem, as the most honest and patriotic person. Being a General and the President, he is possibly the only few men in Bangladeshi politics, who never ran after wealth or comfort. Rather, till the last day of his breath, he lived an extremely simple life and was getting the meal for his family from the garrison kitchen.

If Bangladesh will have to feel proud with its honest leaders, it will certainly remember only some figures like founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or the veteran freedom fighter Zia. Even worst enemies of Mujib or Zia could never say that, any of them were even slightly indulged in any corruption. Unfortunately, in today’s Bangladesh, there is really too shortage of such committed leaders.

When Khaleda Zia decided to give the single handed responsibility of Ministry of Home Affairs to Babar, many of her cabinet members, including some senior figures in the Standing Committee of her party, simply opposed, openly or silently, saying, this young man would never be able to tackle the turbulent political atmosphere in Bangladesh, where former air force chief Altaf was a grand flop. Moreover, no one in BNP was willing to step into the post of home minister, anticipating the greatest degree or risk and danger in delivering any performance.

But, Babar, although comparatively younger in age, never hesitated in accepting the challenge, not only because it was the desire of Mrs. Zia, but, he understood the importance of bringing the law and order situation in total control for the good of his party. By doing so, he already has risked his life and sacrificed personal comfort. Being a patient of chronic asthma, he still has to work till the deep hours of night, to make sure, everything was under control.

For this man, the worst ever challenge was to control the rise of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh. Initially, when the entire country witnessed blasts on 17th August last year, many of the opposition leaders were almost confident that, this was the final bell for the departure of BNP’s coalition government. Criticism and rumor was on the air. Even some senior BNP leaders were just waiting to witness the final failure of Babar in combating these Islamists. No doubt, initially a number of actions and initiatives of the home ministry turned flopped, when subsequently more bombs were exploded killing innocent people, including two judges.

At this extreme adverse situation, Babar was virtually alone, who only had the blessings and moral support from Mrs. Zia, who knew for sure, this young member of her cabinet will finally overcome every challenge. And he did! He nabbed kingpins of the Islamist militant group, thus crushing the bases of Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) throughout the country. No doubt, Babar’s favorite Rapid Action Battalion played significant role in making everything possible.

But, before he could breath fresh after the successes with combating Islamist militancy, internal situation in Bangladesh became turbulent once again, with series of programs by the opposition forces. This time, the home minister has even much greater challenge; to control and situation as well; ensure safety and security to the general people and their properties. According to a recent statistics, political opponents in Bangladesh, destroyed private properties worth US$ 200 million just in past four and half years. The trend is still continuing. During the latest general strike in Bangladesh on June 13-14, hired hooligans belonging to opposition demolished dozens of vehicles, owned by public and private entities.

Each year, innocent people in this poor nation have to sacrifice their valuables to the hands of political agitators, for reason unknown. Commenting on it, a Bangladeshi residing in Florida said, power monger politicians battle for riding in power, and they never mind in destroying public and private property in the name of political agitation. He said, not a single vehicle belonging to political leaders had been demolished in any of such agitation. Every time, general people become their target.

This is a million dollar question; can Babar eliminate such culture from Bangladeshi politics? Or at least, can he bring those culprits who get into destroying public and private properties for no obvious reason, to the dock and finally punish them? This is again, not any simple challenge to this young man. Analysts say, governments in Bangladesh need to adopt motivation, orientation and mass media campaign policies for public awareness to see and end to such destructions and anarchism. Surely, no one wants to see his vehicle or valuable property to be destroyed by political hoodlums. The affected are certainly angry. But, they do not have the courage to raise their voice against. Only mass campaign can surely give them the strength to confront political party’s anarchism. Does Babar or his Prime Minister realize this?

- International News Service -

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