Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Keep them in jail

Update : 07 Apr 2013, 06:00 PM

The recent move by the government to arrest leaders of the opposition should be seen as a step in the right direction with regard to restoring law and order in the nation.

While the move is obviously politically motivated, it sends out a very important message –  the leaders of the respective political groups are ultimately responsible for any illegal activities carried out in their name during periods of unrest i.e. hartals.

This move should give pause to those members involved in the political process to think twice about actually “enforcing” what is supposed to be a voluntary nationwide shutdown. The message from the leadership of the opposition to their activists on the ground should be crystal clear; any illegal activities they may be involved with will have direct repercussions at various levels of their party hierarchy.

The irony of the situation lies in the fact that, in retaliation to this government initiative, the opposition party is doing exactly what put them in this unfortunate situation to begin with. It seems high time for them to recognise the futility of this form of protest.

Additionally, this same rule needs to be applicable across the board. Those in power must be entirely objective when it comes to doling out such punishments. They must ensure that the same repercussions exist, and are enforced, for their own leadership, if the situation warrants such action. There cannot be a double standard.

In the meantime, the government should use this action as a bargaining chip in pushing forth real reform to the nation’s political processes. They can use this leverage to compel the opposition into a more participatory style of politics based on dialogue and compromise. The ball is now in the government’s court to see what creative and positive outcomes they can wrangle out of the situation.

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