Sit for talks, save economy
FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed speaks at a meeting between the leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and senior journalists at Dhaka Club yesterday. Photo:Star
Leaders of the community and editors of a number of newspapers and TV channels yesterday expressed deep worries about the current confrontational political situation in the country.
They said the street violence in the name of shutdowns must stop without any delay, and urged the political parties to sit together to sort out differences.
They also called upon the Awami League-led ruling party and BNP-led opposition alliance to find out alternatives to shutdowns that are crippling the economy and denting the country image.
The call came at a meeting between the leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and a number of editors and senior journalists at Dhaka Club in the capital.
FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said the shutdowns have become a suicidal activity.
"During shutdowns trains were set on fire. Innocent passengers were killed. Trucks and vans carrying export items were torched. Even the law-enforcers were not spared, which is too worrying."
"The public life has been disrupted seriously. We have already started to lose export orders due to the image crisis and a rise in lead time," he said.
Ahmed also said the expected investment would not come due to the current political situation.
The country will not be able to achieve its revenue generation target this fiscal year if the congenial environment for investment and the political stability cannot be ensured.
The FBCCI chief said the opposition alliances will have to avoid shutdowns, and at the same time, the government will have to be serious about the demands of the rival parties.
Ahmed said they would sit with business leaders from across the country at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on April 20 to set their next course of action.
"Before the meeting, we will again try to meet the two leaders of the two key parties," he said.
Golam Sarwar, editor of the Shamokal, said the country has never faced such a tough situation. "The solutions lie at the hands of the top politicians of the two major parties."
He also said the government will not be able to hold dialogues with BNP by keeping its top leaders in jail.
"Here, the government has the maximum responsibility," he said, adding that no solution would see light without any consensus over the caretaker government system.
Shyamal Dutta, editor of the Bhorer Kagoj, said shutdowns are the symptoms of deep political troubles. "So, we will have to look for the root of the troubles -- which is that no party trusts each other."
He said the situation has reached a dangerous level. "We have no time to sit idle."
Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Boishakhi Television, said the businessmen close to the leaders of Awami League and BNP should try to convince them to sit and hold dialogues for a political solution.
He also criticised arrests of the BNP leaders.
"Their arrests are gagging the practice of open politics, which could pave the way for the rise of bad politics and ill politics. We have already started to see the face of ill politics," he said, referring to the sudden rise of Hefajat-e Islam, which actively seeks to establish Sharia laws.
Asaduzzaman Noor, a ruling party lawmaker and also the chairman of Desh TV, said time has come to realise the fact that shutdowns cannot oust a democratically elected government.
"In fact, the move to oust a democratically elected government is undemocratic," he said. "Shutdowns are only crippling the economy."
The noted television actor also said the government and the opposition cannot avoid their responsibility. "The government will have to find out ways to bring the opposition to dialogues as part of its efforts to rule the country properly."
M Hamid, director general of state-run Bangladesh Television, said: "We have to make 'coming to power' less profitable to lessen violence centring it."
Abdul Quayum, associated editor of the Prothom Alo, said the problem is political and has to be solved politically.
Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor of the daily Sangbad, said shutdowns have become a chronic disease for the country.
He alleged that almost all the political parties run on the money they get from the businesspeople. "The business community will have to stop this source of money. Then things will change."
Naem Nizam, editor of the Bangladesh Pratidin, said the FBCCI will have work in a non-partisan way to bring the rival politicians to dialogues.
He said the rise of new parties is a matter of concern too.
He criticised the government for failing to take stern and exemplary actions in cases of vandalism of Shaheed Minar and attacks on the houses of the Hindus.
Mahbubul Alam, editor of the Independent and a former adviser to the caretaker government, Naimul Islam Khan, editor of the Amader Orthoneeti, Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, consulting editor of The Financial Express, and Syed Salahuddin Zaki, chief operating officer of SA TV, were also present.