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Politics dictated by business people

Complains Jalil; Quader says image of politics destroyed by political leaders

Seasoned politician Abdul Jalil yesterday said country’s political leadership is now in the hands of entrepreneurs who have turned the parliament apolitical.

“There is now a political leadership crisis in the country as leadership was not created in the last 20 years,” said the ruling Awami League (AL) advisory council member also a lawmaker at a “Meet the Press” programme in Dhaka Reporters’ Unity of the capital.

Current leaders of political parties are responsible for the situation, added the former AL general secretary.

Another veteran politician Obaidul Quader, said political leaders destroyed the image of politics. “Still now, political leaders are lobbying for favourable reports from intelligence agencies for getting positions in parties,” he said at a discussion in Public Library seminar hall in the capital.

“Where the dignity goes, if political leaders sit around in the offices of entrepreneurs for hours? We have failed to defend our dignity,” said Quader who is an AL lawmaker and the party’s presidium member.

He said the events of 1\11 could be possible in 2007 due to the activities of the leaders of both major political parties.

About the successes and failures of the AL-led government, Jalil, a former commerce minister, said, “Though the government achieved immense success in agriculture and education, it could not be successful in generating necessary gas and electricity.”

Besides, the government failed to improve law and order, and to curb price hike of essentials, he said adding that commodity price hike could not be controlled through command. He suggested that the minister concerned takes opinions of all stakeholders.

Saying that the law and order situation has not improved as criminals are not being punished, he suggested that the government brings a major reshuffle in the police force after increasing their salaries and other perks. He also advised bringing change to the police recruiting system, attracting more educated people to the force.

Jalil spoke on different aspects of the government, the ruling party and its 14-party coalition.

He said the public do not know much about some of the ministers, and those ministers have no touch with the people. He observed that the cabinet should be reshuffled to make it vibrant.

He demanded formation of a parliamentary probe body to investigate alleged torture of political leaders, entrepreneurs, and academicians by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) after the 1/11 political changeover. He said the investigation must be carried out for the sake of strengthening democracy.

There is no coordination in the ruling 14-party coalition due to a lack of proper initiative, Jalil observed adding that each and every component of the coalition should be evaluated properly. Organisational activities of ruling AL also came to a standstill, he added.

Saying the main opposition BNP is not joining the parliament because it is not committed to the public and democracy, he urged the opposition to join the House.

He demanded that ruling party lawmakers be given full freedom of speech in the parliament, with an assurance that there will be no punitive measure against them for talking against party line. The measure is needed so the parliament remains effective even if the opposition walks out, he said.

DRU President Mustak Hossain, and General Secretary Jamal Uddin accompanied Jalil at the event.

Source : The Daily Star

Britain complicit in extreme torture

Source : PressTV

British authorities have collaborated with Bangladeshi security forces to hunt British nationals and interrogate them outside the country in secret bases where inmates are known to have died under torture.

Guardian quoted sources in both countries as saying London used Bangladeshi intelligence agencies and police forces to cross-examine suspects with dual British-Bangladeshi nationality in operations during which a number of detainees became victims of extreme forms of abuse.

In one of the meetings between British and Bangladeshi officials, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith met officials of Bangladeshi Directorate-General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) which was criticized for its human rights record by the Human Rights Watch just about two months earlier.

According to a DGFI officer, Smith, whose department had earlier reported prevalent torture in Bangladesh, privately called on the agency, during the meeting, to examine the case of several people whom she described as suspicious.

Reports said a number of British suspects became subject to torture in the secret interrogation center known as the Task Force for Interrogation cell (TFI).

The inmates reported horrific torture methods including being forced to stand still for six days with their hands chained to bars above their heads, receiving electric shocks and even being strapped to a chair while a drill was slowly driven into their bodies.

This is while Smith’s own department had mentioned the very torture methods used on the victims as commonplace practice by the DGFI.

MI-6

MI-5

Reports claimed of MI6 and MI5’s complicity in the interrogation and torture cases sanctioned by senior government officials including Smith, former foreign secretary David Miliband and former Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

RAB

This comes as earlier WikiLeaks cables revealed the British government trained the Bangladeshi rapid action Battalion (RAB), also involved in the torture cases.

RAB, which were described as a “death squad” by the Human Rights Watch, were blamed for hundreds of extra-judicial killings and human rights violation cases before receiving training by Britain.

AMR/HE

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