Islamists to rise if crisis continues
The breakdown of the political process in Bangladesh creates space for Islamist groups to carry out violence, fears a leading global risk analysis, research and strategic forecasting company.
“If the political crisis continues well into 2015, Islamist groups are likely to exploit the population's loss of faith in democratic institutions with increasing success,” says Verisk Maplecroft in its report released yesterday.
The report says political crisis is set to escalate in the coming months, which will hurt the country's business.
“Bangladesh's dysfunctional politics will weigh heavily on the country's business environment in 2015,” it says.
There is little scope for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the coming months unless the government stops or delays legal proceedings against BNP chief Khaleda Zia whose putative arrest will almost certainly trigger another intense round of violent unrest by BNP supporters across the country, the report observes.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not accept the BNP's key demand to step down as "the AL maintains that the BNP forfeited its chance to participate in the political process by boycotting the elections."
“The only conceivable trigger for reducing political tensions and levels of unrest is for the government to curb its zeal to prosecute Zia.”
The report says that in addition to "personality clashes", the ideological differences over political Islam will limit the scope for political reconciliation even in the long term.
International pressure on Bangladesh is not likely to play any important role in reducing tensions and even if the crisis deepens the army is unlikely to intervene, mentions the report.
It also points out that "Bangladesh's instability is causing concern among its neighbours as well as donor nations, all of whom have urged the various stakeholders to resolve their differences peacefully."
According to the report, transport blockades are, in particular, likely to continue for the foreseeable future, along with associated risks of violence.
“Disruptive BNP-led protests pose substantial risks to commercial activity and supply chains, particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong. BNP and Jamaat -led protests and hartals can cause severe disruptions to traffic and commercial activity.”
It also warns that security forces may use force to break up demonstrations, posing high human security risks.
“Bangladeshi security forces have been accused by multiple human rights organisations of using excessive force to maintain law and order,” it says.