The CHT Accord signed 22 years ago was certainly a very significant achievement of the AL government, especially of Sheikh Hasina. The agreement, signed between the PCJSS or as more popularly known, the Shanti Bahini, and the government of Bangladesh reinforced the belief that neither violence nor a military solution was the answer to a conflict that had resisted resolution for nearly 25 years and cost the lives of many people. Regrettably, after more than two decades since the accord was signed, many of the important provisions are still to be implemented as claimed by one side, while the official version is very different. And it seems that there is a PR game between the PCJSS and the government; the former claiming that nearly half of the 52 provisions of the accord are to be implemented while the government claims that 48 of those have been executed. How is it that there is such a wide variance in the figures of the government and the PCJCC regarding the implementation of the accord?
Given that we have in place the same government led by the same party, and the same leader as the prime minister who took the initiative to end violence in CHT, and which drew international accolade, it is incomprehensible that some of the accord provisions would remain unimplemented. Therefore, the people of the CHT cannot be faulted if they feel frustrated and believe that the accord was merely an eyewash.
The ball is in the government’s court and it devolves on the government to clear the obstacles that stand in the way of the CHT Accord. It needs hardly be restated that it is the state that has entered into a compact with a segment of its ethnic minority and if it does not follow through on its commitment to that group its very credibility will be at stake, so will be the credibility of the AL government and the confidence of the people on the government and the prime minister. And in a restless world such a situation has serious implication.