It’s 1⁄11 amnesia | The Daily Star
04:48 AM, February 11, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:01 AM, February 22, 2015

News Analysis

It’s 1⁄11 amnesia

Shakhawat Liton

They must have very short memories.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet colleagues are now calling civil society members -- who are putting in efforts for a dialogue to resolve the ongoing political standoff -- as "key actors" in the 1/11 changeover.

In doing so they are being oblivious to their own stance on the changeover in 2007.

In Hasina's view which she expressed on Monday, the "key actors" [civil society members] in the 1/11 changeover are out to push the agenda of dialogue. 

It does come as a surprise. It was eight years ago that Hasina herself had emphatically endorsed the changeover claiming it a result of the movement her own party had led.

Amid a protracted political standoff over the one-sided parliamentary polls slated for January 22 in 2007, then President Iajuddin Ahmed was forced to resign as chief adviser and declare a state of emergency on the night of January 11.

The following day, Fakhruddin Ahmed, a former Bangladesh Bank governor, was appointed and sworn in as chief adviser to a new caretaker government.

The armed forces had played a crucial role in the changeover amid growing political turmoil caused mainly by the then AL-led 14-party combine's persistent street agitations to resist one-sided polls.

"The caretaker government [led by Fakhruddin Ahmed] is an outcome of the Awami League-led alliance's movement," Hasina told reporters on March 15 at what was then Zia International Airport before leaving for the United States. 

She also had declared that if voted to power, her party would legitimise the caretaker government as it "earned the confidence and appreciation of the people."

Abdul Jalil, AL general secretary at the time, on January 11 had termed the changeover "a delayed but necessary action."

The changeover certainly made the AL-led alliance happy as it, immediately after the changeover, called off its street agitation programmes.

Flanked by senior leaders of the alliance, Hasina had even attended the swearing-in ceremony of Fakhruddin Ahmed as chief adviser at Bangabhaban on January 12.

The changeover, however, had frustrated the BNP-led alliance as it could not go ahead with its plan to return to power through the January 22 parliamentary election.

Therefore, Khaleda Zia, who had strongly opposed the changeover, had boycotted the swearing-in ceremony.

On the other hand, Khaleda earlier had attended the oath-taking of Iajuddin Ahmed as chief adviser, a programme boycotted by Sheikh Hasina. At that time, BNP leaders had blasted civil society members for opposing the January 22 election.

But Hasina took a different stance on the caretaker government system once the parliament scrapped the system in June 2011. Often she blasted the country's eminent citizens, calling them "key players" in the 1/11 changeover.

"These eminent citizens benefited the most during the tenures of the undemocratic and unconstitutional system in the past…. The key players in 1/11 have again become vocal these days,” she said on December 29 in 2013.

She made the comments a day after some eminent citizens suggested the government defer the one-sided January 5 national polls to make it participatory and credible.

One thing is common to both the AL and the BNP.

Like the AL, the BNP senior leaders had also blasted civil society members for they not only opposed the January 22 parliamentary polls but also called for talks to resolve the crisis.

Thus the two parties that have been running the country by turns since 1991 have exposed their preference for a policy of convenience.

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