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Closure from 1971 Bangladesh war comes at a high cost

Last Saturday, Bangladesh executed a senior Islamist party leader, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. It was the second such hanging, with several more death sentences handed down by a domestic court set up to try local collaborators of the Pakistani army from that period. The judicial process has come under repeated international criticism for not being up to standard, while supporters of the largest Islamist political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, have violently protested against the verdicts. But the trials have wide popular support. As the BBC’s Bangladesh Correspondent, I covered the first execution and some of the first verdicts. [caption id="attachment_15166" align="alignleft" width="300"]

New Zealand link to Bangladesh hardline forces

New Zealand’s spies are scooping up intelligence material on terrorists in Bangladesh and passing it to local security forces with a reputation for murder and torture, according to secret documents. The link between intelligence gathering by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and foreign security agencies, which engage in widespread killing and torture, has RABsparked concern among New Zealand’s Opposition politicians. The connection came in documents taken by whistleblower Edward Snowden when he walked out of his job as a contracto...

Mystery has opposition on edge in Bangladesh

A jittery silence has fallen over the street where Salahuddin Ahmed, a top official of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, is believed to have been abducted a month ago. The caretaker who opened the compound gate to a group of men, and told several journalists they identified themselves as police detectives, can no longer be found, friends on the street say. Neither can the maid who opened the door to the apartment. The owner of Khaleda Ziathe apartment, the deputy managing director of a bank, is also unreachable. “Of course...

UN welcomes de-escalation of violence, calls for credible elections

In response to questions raised concerning developments in Bangladesh, the Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that Mr. Ban welcomed the de-escalation of violence in Bangladesh in the past weeks. Ban ki MoonThe Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General is encouraged by the opposition's decision to participate in the city council elections for Dhaka and Chittagong, scheduled for 28 April, and he appeals to the authorities in all relevant institutions to ensure that the elections will be transparent, i...

The trials of Asian democracy

These are times of trial – literally in the courts – for a growing number of Asia’s democracies. The list of major national political leaders in the region who have faced, or are about to face, criminal charges has grown soextensive that it is plausible to wonder whether democracy itself can survive in a number of these countries.Perhaps the gravest allegations have been leveled at Bangladesh’s opposition politics BDleader Khaleda Zia, who has been charged with murder in a case going back many years. India’s former prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who...

Premises on the question of political crisis in Bangladesh

Today’s Bangladesh faces political crisis as scores of news-reports and views claim [an end-note to this article cites headings/excerpts of a few of those], and today’s Bangladesh doesn’t face political crisis as one can claim periods of turmoil are not crisis, can cite a few data from economy, and can also refer to a lull within a long period of crisis. Both the statements, one can claim, are correct in relative terms. On the other hand, any of the two cancels the other. Only a scientific approach to the question – crisis – can provide a reliable answer. The approach should look into all related aspects instead of making sweeping remarks based on superficial observations and shallow search that ignores basic elements of crisis.