Cleaning up in Dhaka

Cleaning up in Dhaka
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First Published: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 10 30 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 08 24 PM IST
 A political crisis can also be an opportunity to re-examine ideas and issues. The postponement of the elections may have stalled the democratic process in Bangladesh. But it has also given the administration, the political class and society in general an opportunity to take a fresh look at the electoral system. A free vote is the basic requirement of democratic politics. The high court in Dhaka... may have, therefore, wanted to help the cause of democracy in the country (B)y deferring the elections by at least three more months... the (high) court (in Dhaka) wanted... to clean up the electoral rolls. Unfortunately, the past five years of Begum Khaleda Zia’s rule saw politicization of the administration on an unprecedented scale.
The big question is: who will clean up the mess? Tired of months of political turmoil... sections of the people welcomed the army’s intervention. This public sentiment was reflected by Mohammed Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, during his visit to New Delhi. But it could be simplistic to over-emphasize the army’s role in restoring a democracy. It would be more so in a country which has unhappy memories of army takeovers of civilian governments. s soon as it has ensured the end of street violence, the army should return to the barracks. The restoration of democracy should then be the responsibility of the civilian administration and the political parties. The emergency has robbed Bangladeshis of most of their basic rights. The restoration of the political process will mean nothing until the people get back these rights.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 10 30 PM IST
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