TIME TO GET TOUGH
After the shocker of Air Vice-Marshal (retd) A.K. Khandaker, the one from Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui is something Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina or popularly called “Apa” does not deserve.
She has enough enemies in and outside the country, and any in-house debacle is something unwanted, especially from senior party leaders or cabinet ministers.
Khandaker tried to rewrite history by demeaning Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and has been dumped except by those who tried to profit out of it. On the other hand Latif Siddique has tried to ignite a “forest fire” by speaking against the holy Hajj as well as Tablighi Jmaat, the second largest Muslim congregation after the Hajj and held in Bangladesh. Siddique will soon find out the results of his behaviour as per the laws of the land.
He should also be punished for treachery for putting his leader, government, party and above all the country in a delicate situation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ignored Khandaker’s foolish imagination in his book “1971: Bhitorey-Bairey,” while she acted promptly against the unwanted comments of Latif Sidduique.
Latif Siddique has violated the constitution in many ways, according to analysts. The Bangladesh constitution prohibits hurting any religious sentiment and also it is a violation of code of conduct of a lawmaker.
Sheikh Hasina on return from UN on Thursday was quoted as saying that “A sane person cannot make such comments hurting people’s religious sentiment. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. I have also performed Hajj and Omrah several times. So if anyone from my cabinet and party makes such statements it will not be tolerated.” She said he will also be expelled from the ruling Awami League party. Siddique was earlier sacked from the cabinet.
Managing a delicate post January 5, 2014, election is no joke and the prime minister has done marvels by overcoming her domestic and international critics. And at this time when a senior leader like Siddique hands gun powder to those elements, he has backstabbed Sheikh Hasina. Even worse, on a larger scale he has betrayed the people who do not want to see either a military rule or that of religious extremists.
One must look back at history. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was betrayed by some of his close associates or someone who had been greatly favoured by the assassinated leader. He was forgiving and these elements exploited it and finally killed him.
Sheikh Hasina should remember that and should not show any kindness to anybody close or far from her. She must be tough with elements who speak without thinking or act unacceptability should be dealt with a tough hand.
“Apa” I must appeal to you that please do not show kindness or leniency as the country needs you at this critical juncture where unwanted forces are always conspiring to make your life miserable. But Sheikh Hasina has stood strong as she is the daughter of Bangabandhu and the forces have been neutralised politically.
I look forward to seeing a tough “Apa” for the sake of the nation.
As a foot-note, Kudos to the prime minister for her very successful trip to the United Nations.
Nadeem Qadir, a senior journalist, is a UNCA Dag Hammarskjold Scholar in journalism.