PM's remarks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 03, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 03, 2010


PM's remarks

Worsening of rhetoric is extremely unhelpful for the future of our politics

IT has been reported in some newspapers that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has advised Leader of the Opposition Begum Khaleda Zia to repent publicly through a self-debasing pledge (the Bangla term 'Nake Khat' was allegedly used) not to indulge in corruption again, and admit her failure to contain it during the last BNP rule.
We do not want to believe that the prime minister said what has been reported, something that is practically never prescribed in a democratic society. We think that a clarification from her office is in order. However, if no attempt is made to make things clear, one will have reason to believe that there is some truth in what has been reported by a section of the press.
Apparently, the prime minister wants her rival to pay a heavy price for the corruption and poor governance during her second term. But suggesting anything coming close to Begum Zia being pilloried is neither tenable nor democratic. It is as much demeaning to the person saying it as it is to the person targeted.
The prime minister has one clear and result oriented option to deal with the alleged corruption of the last BNP-Jamaat government. She should go to the court of law and seek legal recourse to settle these matters and in the process reveal their wrongdoings to the public. But by publicly repeating the charges and asking Begum Zia to offer her apologies in a demeaning manner, Sheikh Hasina is neither serving any purpose of good governance nor of fighting corruption. She is only making more acrimonious her already antagonistic relations with Khaleda Zia. This is demeaning for her and will bruise her image as the leader of the nation. Above all, such ultra aggressive attitude is totally uncalled for and can only widen the political divide which is unhelpfully wide as it is.
What is not particularly pleasant for us to think is that the two leaders have failed to give up their habit of undermining each other in ways not particularly good for the growth of a healthy political culture in the country. The leaders have to show the way, instead of bringing outlandish charges, and suggesting even more bizarre punishments for the wrongs done.
Finally, we would repeat that we still do not want to believe the reports published in some of the dailies. Such demagogy, if true, does not help anybody, least of all the person resorting to it. The leaders have to realise the truth that decent language should be an integral part of their strategy of dealing with rivals. However, if no clarification comes, then we will have to believe the worst.

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