12:00 AM, December 20, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 20, 2012

Strategically Speaking

Conspiracy: Gripping AL psyche

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Brig Gen Shahedul Anam khan ndc, psc (Retd)

The risk of coming out with conspiracy theories consistently and attributing anything that happens to you to devious schemes is that you are likely to be taken as a part of that conspiracy. And that is what the ruling party has come to be thought of by many. With the government trying to make us believe in its postulation of conspiracy everywhere, its inability to go to the roots of those and exposing the "conspirators" is being taken as its unwillingness to do so, it being a part of so-called conspiracy, they think.
There are many different types of conspiracies. And one would not mind John Updike's kind when he says that America is a vast conspiracy to make its people happy. And one may even conspire to commit corruption as we have come to learn lately.
One is compelled to believe that, if everything bad that has happened in the country in the last four years is the result of conspirators succeeding in their schemes, there is something seriously wrong with the government agencies, for they have continued to fail in uncovering the plots. Or conversely, their missives were not given due importance. In either case it is a question of government failure to address its own concerns. I suggest the government consider seriously the profound remarks of late US president Franklin Roosevelt, that in politics nothing happens by accident, and if it happened, you can bet it was planned that way. Therefore, if anything that the government does not want happens, it is for the government to find out who is making that happen and why.
Frankly, that has not been the case, and given that we have not had any plausible explanations of the four or five incidents, which the PM says are the results of devious plots against her government, we are unable to concur with her and those who believe so that all these are the work of national and international plotters. Therefore let us dissect some of the issues and see if they fit the conspiracy bill.
A government probe has found the Tazreen fire to be an act of sabotage. It is not surprising that the committee's conclusion has not found many takers, and has been rejected out of hand by rights activists and worker leaders. It is not because that the fire is not likely to be an act of sabotage, but the premise on which the case has been made out is rather loose. One is not certain whether the committee has enough facts to support its finding, which is at best a conjecture. There could be a few other causes of fire which the committee did not feel obliged to inquire into. This is what happens when government leaders come out with their own theories even before the start of the inquiry.
Public pronouncements on Bishwajit's killing are even sadder. If we are to believe the government version then he was the victim of miscreants belonging to other parties who had infiltrated into BCL. And to hear that he, a Hindu, was particularly sought out and killed, just to run down the government as part of opposition conspiracy, is doing injustice to the intellect of the people. According to one newspaper there is no deep stab wound on Biswajeet's body, while in some, the autopsy is cited as having found one severe stab wound. If his killing was conspiracy then I suggest the conspirators are from within the party.
As per the government, even the issue of corruption is being inflated as a part of the same conspiracy. There is a conspiracy in the Padma Bridge loan issue too, as the PM says, where the international donor is "devising strategies" to paint the government as corrupt. If the Padma project is finally scuttled, we do not know yet what might happen finally, the PM need not look outside her party to find out who the conspirators are.
Ramu incident is a different ball game altogether. What happened there was planned, going by the events. However, we are not aware of the findings of the various inquiry committees, and we do not know if those have been able to identify the perpetrators and the planners. Grapevine has it that some of the plotters belonged to the ruling party.
There is no doubt that the government is under strain on the political front. There are many fault lines in the area of governance which the opposition will exploit, and that it will use every ploy to put the government on the back foot to attain political mileage. Some political parties may even go to the extent of using all possible means to prevent the government fulfilling its plans, particularly those that strike at the very existence of those parties. And in that they may seek help of international expertise, as was perhaps done in the so-called Skype scandal. That being the case, should not an efficiently and astutely run government have expected these encumbrances to come their way? And should they not have adopted appropriate strategies to thwart and preempt such plots instead of attributing everything to conspiracy?

The writer is Editor, Oped & Strategic Issues, The Daily Star.

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