SHEIKH HASINA THE TOP HONEST LEADER IN THE WORLD
– Sharif Shahab Uddin –
It is a global perspective that people in any country do not consider political leaders to be honest. Corruption and dishonesty usually go hand in hand in state affairs in which ruling party leaders from top to bottom are found to be involved in one way or the other. Even in countries ruled by strict regimes, allegations of corruption by politicians, high government officials and even presidents or prime ministers keep surfacing form time to time. The presidents or prime ministers of those countries are apparently regarded as honest people but investigations often reveal their illegal involvement in corruption in amassing wealth.
Honesty is a very expensive gift from the Almighty. Some are born with the traits and some have to earn it. The greatest Bengali of all times, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an epitome of honesty from the very beginning. He never compromised with honesty. Though he could make millions through siding with the Pakistani rulers, he never allowed the thought to creep into his mind. He lived a simple honest life. He died a simple honest man.
In his footsteps came his worthy daughter, born with the traits of honesty and integrity. Throughout her political career Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proved she was untouched by corruption and dishonesty of any form. The world has watched the way she led her life and given the recognition she deserved. She has been chosen by People’s and Politics, a research firm of global politics, 3rd among five in its list of honest global leaders. It has been found in the research published recently by the organisation that Sheikh Hasina does not have any bank account abroad. Apart from her salary, no additional income has been found. The research has confirmed that Sheikh Hasina does not have any hidden assets.
It is an international recognition that has been awarded to a Bangladeshi political leader for the first time. No doubt it is a rare occasion for us all and the nation feels proud of it. It is not only a great honor for our Prime Minister, but also a great honor for the nation in particular. The People of Bangladesh have started getting positive results of the reformative measures taken by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
According to the Transparency International, the land recording and revenue sector are the most vulnerable corrupt sectors of the government. Now the sector is most transparent under the digital program of the present government. Nobody can influence the recording process in any way. By dint of her relentless effort and the development program undertaken by her government, she has already made the country a development role model of the world. And it has been possible only because of honest and sincere nation building work. It needs no emphasizing that without honest and sincere work nobody can achieve this goal.
To have earned the reputation of being most honest leader is a great feat indeed since the country was once declared the most corrupt nation by the Transparency International. It is a U-turn for Bangladesh in getting back on right track and that has happened under the able leadership of Prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
If we may recall, soon after the liberation the nascent state had plunged into chaos, confusion, uncertainty and lawlessness with the brutal killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. After that killing a military ruler captured the state power and they had let loose a reign of terror with a view to perpetuating military rule in the country. Long standing military rule had encouraged wide-ranging corruption and extremism to take root in every sector, thereby making some corrupt people beneficiaries.
The unconstitutional military rule destroyed all democratic institutions and rule of law, and denied basic human rights. Common people saw this as an opportunity to engage in all sorts of corruption to make money. As a result, several times, Bangladesh had been identified as the most corrupt nation by the Transparency International.
General Ziaur Rahman had announced with pride that he would make politics difficult. In order to perpetuate his illegal power, Zia started bribing some persons who were influential in their respective positions and put them in strategically key points in the administration. It is because of General Zia, the main organs of the government- the parliament, the judiciary and the administration, became corrupt. After General Zia, General Ershad came to power staging the same old drama. And he became the champion of corruption. After the fall of General Ershad, Khaleda Zia, widow of General Zia, came to power but she and her team could not stay away from blatant corruption. As a result, she is facing a corruption trial now.
The people of Bangladesh were getting frustrated with the corruption of their past leaders. When they found that Sheikh Hasina, the present Prime Minister of Bangladesh, has been chosen as the most honest state leader, they felt proud and thought ‘yes we can, and we have.’ It needs to be said that Bangladesh has honest leader of its own. It is Sheikh Hasina who introduced Bangladesh as a development role model.
“I have nothing left to lose”, Hasina often says as she overcomes the agony of losing her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of Bangladesh, mother, brothers and many other near and dear ones in the dark night of August 15, 1975. And yet she says her life is dedicated for the welfare of the people and the nation.
Sheikh Hasina’s achievement track record is very impressive. Immediately after coming to power in 1996 she signed the 30-year water sharing treaty of the Ganges with India. In 1997, her government signed Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord ending decades of insurgency in the region. It is noted that Britain signed a treaty with the Irish guerillas in presence of the then US president Bill Clinton, but it was not materialized. The Chittagong Hill tract Peace Accord brought about real peace in the area. And countrymen feel that only because of that achievement Sheikh Hasina should get Nobel Peace Prize.
During her current term as prime minister, Bangladesh and India singed the historic Land Boundary Agreement in 2015 ending 41years of border dispute. Earlier in June 2014, her determination also helped the country win against India in a maritime boundary battle after The Hague-based international court awarded Bangladesh 19,467 sq km area in the Bay of Bengal.
Despite the fact that adversaries at home and abroad tried to put scar on her honesty and devotion in serving the people and the nation, she went ahead with her pro-people programmes. They had left no stone unturned in getting Hasina and her government involved in corruption in obtaining fund for Padma Bridge. They finally succeeded in the withdrawal of World Bank from the project, which was vital for the economy of the country. In June 2012, the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the Padma bridge project, saying it had proof of a “corruption conspiracy” involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some individuals. But former top executives of SNC-Lavalin were acquitted by a court in Canada on February 10, 2017 in an international bribery case linked to Padma bridge construction in Bangladesh.
The ACC that filed graft cases in 2012 against the individuals submitted a probe report to the court in September 2014 to clear all the accused in the case of the conspiracy charges, saying none had been found guilty.
Hasina has been battling through the odds to make the nation a developed country. As a result, the per capita earning of Bangladesh is now more than that of Pakistan.
She is not totally out of danger because she has adversaries at home and abroad who are relentlessly trying to kill her after failing to humiliate her in the eyes of the people. Nothing has stopped her from taking the country’s image towards a new height and the whole world now can see a nation shining like a star. The world leaders now cast their respectful eyes on Hasina, a woman leader who has excelled in all departments be it in domestic affairs or diplomacy. Therefore, the people of Bangladesh should continue to support Hasina and strengthen her hands to survive conspiracy and take the nation to the zenith of success.
(The writer is the Editor in Chief of Bangladesh Post)
NOVEMBER 30, 2017