Bangladesh media slams Zia, Hasina, but seeks early polls
Apr 20, 2007 - 1:24:27 PM

Dhaka, April 20 - Sections of Bangladesh's media have blasted former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina for their 'politics of confrontation, conflict and personal hatred', but sought early restoration of democracy.

The media has asked 'what next?' if the caretaker government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed fails to deliver on better governance, faster development and a peaceful return to democracy.

'The extrication would be messy,' The Bangladesh Observer warned in an editorial Friday.

Posing the question 'If the current government fails, what next?' the newspaper expressed the apprehension: 'In the face of a popular discontent, it will have no option but to call elections, which itself may not be too bad. But the worst case scenario is when relationship between the current rulers and the future ones become bitter.

'It will make extrication extremely messy, as has too often been the case in the past,' it warned, alluding to failure of those in power to accept an unwanted election verdict as had happened in 1971 in the then Pakistan, leading to a military crackdown on the then east wing and emergence of Bangladesh.

'For some reason, the government is pushing the country to that end for reasons best known to them,' the editorial said.

The Daily Star said in its editorial: 'Questions will persist about the way in which the authorities have acted to isolate Sheikh Hasina and Begum Zia from national politics.'

It wanted to know if 'the moves against the two leaders will bring about any qualitative change in our politics'.

Stating that 'the greatest need today' was to discard for ever 'old-fashioned, destructive politics', the edit said this could be best done 'through a quick return to political openness, the aim being the restoration of a well-meaning, constructive framework of democracy'.

Lamenting the failure of the political processes after parliamentary government was restored in 1991, the Daily Star said: ' was expected that a strong, enduring democratic political culture would grow and in turn would open up all those possibilities which enable a nation to come level with the rest of the civilized world. To our intense regret, that national ambition did not materialize.'

The government has not imposed curbs on media despite a national emergency in force, but issued directives not to publish views of Sheikh Hasina and warning action if it continued to publish news, pictures and cartoons that 'cause confusion' and 'spread misinformation'.

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