Extremists may exploit current political situation: Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group (ICG) today said that with daily violence at the pre-election level in Bangladesh, the political crisis is fast approaching the point of no return and could gravely destabilise the country unless the sides move urgently to reduce tensions.

icg-compressorA protracted and violent political crisis would leave Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia the ultimate losers, particularly if a major breakdown of law and order were to encourage the military to intervene, observed ICG, a conflict-prevention non-profit NGO that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict.

“Though there is as yet no sign of that, history suggests it is an eventuality not to be dismissed,” it said.

It observed that extremists and criminal networks could exploit the resulting political void with the two largest mainstream parties unwilling to work toward a new political compact that respects the rights of both opposition and victor to govern within the rule of law.

The Group felt that both parties would be best served by changing course: the AL government by respecting the democratic right to dissent; the BNP by reviving its political fortunes through compromise with the ruling party, rather than violent street politics.

“The BNP, which has not accepted any responsibility for the election-related violence in 2014 that left hundreds dead (and saw hundreds of Hindu homes and shops vandalised), is again attempting to oust the government by force, in alliance with the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is alleged to have committed some of the worst abuses during that period,” the Group said.

“The party retains its core supporters and seems to have successfully mobilised its activists on the streets. Yet, its sole demand – for a fresh election under a neutral caretaker – is too narrow to generate the public support it needs to overcome the disadvantage of being out of parliament, and its political capital is fading fast as it again resorts to violence,” it said.

– Star Online Report