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Commentary: PM proves her humanitarian leadership releasing Khaleda

Published : Thursday, 26 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1363
Observer Special

Mahatma Gandhi once quoted "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." The saying only keeps repeating in the humanitarian obligations undertaken by our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In the face of extreme difficult situation and burden on our economy she had given shelter to over a million homeless Rohingya refugees giving priority to humanitarian consideration. She did not stop there she went on to fight for their rights - her relentless battle to ensure their rights is yet continuing. Her unflinching stand against the persecution of the Rohingyas by Myanmar has moved the UN and the world to pursue the Rohingya issue.

She has never shied away from standing beside the most oppressed and deprived groups of people in our society and that has become noticeable in her persistent struggle to ensure the minority rights in Bangladesh. In times of natural calamities, she had often appeared as the guardian angel to ensure the well being of  common people.

And now in the time of a worldwide deadly coronavirus attack which has torn the world apart, she again appears to lead from the forefront to take crucial decisions to ensure safety and well being of her people.

She took bold decisions to cancel the programmes of the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and of the National Independence Day on March 26 giving utmost consideration to save the people from the deadly virus.  Apart from addressing manmade and natural disasters from a humane perspective, she has evidently widened her generosity to fairly treat her bitter political rival. She has been often accused for suppressing political dissent and bluntly facing her political rivals. Referring to her latest move to release BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for six months on humanitarian grounds -considering her age and poor health condition - clearly cancels all previous accusations of her political persecution. We expect her political opponents and critics to realise this fact after her decision to release Khaleda Zia from jail. It is not only her humanitarian move but also her bold political stunt that stunned even her bitter critics.

The timing of her decision to release Khaleda Zia is also her prudent move. She released her when BNP failed to lead a movement and force the government to release her.

She has also chosen a time when the country is fighting coronavirus pandemic-giving BNP and her critics no scope to blame her that government does not care for political consensus to unite the nation to combat the virus and its fallout on our economy. She proved her magnanimity to her arch political rival who hurt her by cutting cakes on the National Mourning Day on August 15 (when her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with other members of his family) and BNP plotted to kill her on August 21, 2004 when Khaleda Zia was Prime Minister. Khaleda Zia and BNP did never felt guilty and remorse for what political vengeance they took against Sheikh Hasina and her party Awami League. But by releasing Khaleda Zia Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given a political gift to BNP and Khaleda Zia. It's time to see how Khaleda Zia and BNP reciprocates to the Prime Minister's

If one goes deep in evaluating the PM's human quality one will find all key elements of humanitarian leadership is noticeably present in her political leadership. And the key elements are - respect for humanitarian principles, coordination of actions, efficient risk analysis, possessing special qualities, decision making ability in the face of moral and humanitarian dilemmas and ensuring all codes of conduct in practice.

Additionally, humanitarian work requires not only self-sacrifice, but exceptional leadership qualities. The mastery of the leadership requires a huge concern to save human lives.
Nevertheless, all battles threatening our civilisation cannot be won with merely humanism.  The world has been seemingly held hostage to an unprecedented global pandemic. The war against the deadly disease cannot be won individually as separate nations; the people irrespective of all their diverse preferences must unite. And especially political parties and their respective leaders, workers and supporters must cut- across-party-lines and wage an all - out -war against a common enemy of mankind.  This is not the time to engage in bitter political battles while slinging mud at one another, it is time to come under a single platform in order to prevent the destruction of human race.

Referring back to the Mahatma's quote, whatever done today will however remain insignificant but it is very important that we do it collectively for a greater cause. If we fail to successfully deter and defeat the Corona-curse, it is not only the political leadership which would shoulder all blames - our political opponents of today would also become equally responsible for not cooperating. And we believe they are intelligent enough to fathom this unkind truth.

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