Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Sunday, March 15, 2015, Chaitra 1, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 23, 1436 Hijr

Khaleda shows no remorse
Anis Ahmed
Published : Sunday, 15 March, 2015,  Time : 10:01 AM,  View Count : 90
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has re-exposed herself to a wave of surprise and self contradictions as she gave her mind and soul out at a news conference on Friday at her chosen hideout at the party's Gulshan office.
Under flashing cameras and amid huge interest of the media to listen to her in her first audience after shying away from media and public eyes in two and half months, the "uncompromising" BNP leader merely re-stated her often baseless allegations against the government while also reiterated her demands for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down bowing to "unlawful" pressure and allowing an untimely and unconstitutional election under a caretaker supervisor. This is a dream she has been pushing vainly since the BNP along with its allies that made a political blunder by boycotting parliamentary election held on January 5 last year.
Khaleda faced the media - though she refused to take or answer questions from journalists - a day after she herself acknowledged in her statement that she was under pressure because her party leaders were disappearing. BNP sources added to her concern by saying that some leaders with their followers are also threatening to "desert" Khaleda Zia.
This is what reality says.
Khaleda must have analysed her support base during the two and half month "non-stop" blockade and hartal which have been totally rejected by the people. Even her party leaders and men stayed off the streets that angered Khaleda Zia so much that she confirmed her plight in the statement issued on Thursday.
She is clearly upset as the bubble she created in her hype for power by "hook or by crook" appears to have burst deflating her dreams and and tormenting her leadership.
Khaleda Zia is an experienced politician and former Prime Minister but her recent mission to burn-and-kill innocent people in the name of blockade and hartal has probably cost her dearly. Now she is out to justify her thirst for blood by turning the barrel at the government which she alleged of conducting "extra-judicial" killings to eliminate political rivals. This is a furiously debated issue but so far without proof, as the law enforcing agencies say the victims died in encounter with criminals, militants and terrorists.
At Friday's news conference, Khaleda Zia repeated her falsehood and malignant rhetorics that media was barred from covering her and her party events. Had it been true, we wonder how all the media outlets - print and electronic - could show her live in the news conference with no one objecting or trying to switch the lights off. The authorities allowed her full freedom to hold the news conference even though in the eyes of law she is a "wanted" person with a court arrest warrant on her head. Also, over past several weeks BNP's Joint Secretary-General Salahuddin Ahmed had been issuing press statements from his hideout but no attempt was ever made by government to stop their publication. Therefore, we urge the BNP leader to come to her senses and learn to tell the truth. Trying to befool the media and people will not work anymore.
At the news conference, Khaleda Zia also trampled people's expectation that she would call off her vengeful blockade and hartal programmes that have already caused substantial damage to the economy and left people in constant fear of being killed or scorched by petrol bombs and in arson attacks. Since January 6 at least 140 people have been killed and over 1,000 hurt in fire-bombing of vehicles and other violence.
Khaleda Zia surprised the nation by saying that the BNP-led "programmes" would continue until "reasonable" changes happen in the country, meaning the resignation of the government and dialogue between ruling Awami League and her party. These are unlikely to happen or even considered until and unless the BNP and its allies give up their violent agenda and settle for peaceful coexistence, AL leaders say. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asserted that there could be no dialogue with Begum Zia unless she stops killings and violence.
Analysts feel Khaleda's remarks at the news conference had actually relieved the ruling party in a way that she had failed to turn the ball into the government's court. Had she said "I am calling off all programmes for a week or two, giving you a space for preparing ground for a dialogue, then the government would probably come under some pressure," one analyst said. But that didn't happened and the ball now remains firmly stuck in the BNP's court. People would very genuinely blame Khaleda Zia for continuing her vendetta and a blame game. Noted jurist Barrister Rafiqul Huq told the Daily Observer That "Khaleda's blame game is not fair".
We have said these many times in recent weeks in different ways. But today we chose to borrow some words from a friend, who is also a keen political observer, that nicely amplifies people's sentiments.
"She (Khaleda Zia) is suffering from claustrophobia and schadenfreude. She direly needs the advice of a head-shrinker (or be sent to a loony-bin)," he says.
"Her party has now a bunch of troglodytes who are trying to turn the clock back and take us to the medieval age -- burning of heretics or apostates - as they take us for like their Pakistani masters did in 1971."
"Why don't she come out in the open ? Politicians must be inured to face challenges. But, they want to be in the cozy cool rooms and want us to shed our lives to enthrone them. Shame on them."

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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