AL wants to establish one-party politics in Bangladesh

wikileaksThe Saudi embassy in Dhaka on 10 May 2012 sent a diplomatic cable to Riyadh, stating that the ruling Bangladesh Awami League “is trying to establish one-party politics in Bangladesh,” according to Wikileaks.
The Saudi embassy in Dhaka made no comment about the cable. The Saudi embassies in other countries and the country’s foreign ministry have also remained silent over its diplomatic cables revealed recently in the Wikileaks.
Abdullah Bin Naser Al Busairi served as the Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh from 2008 to November in 2014.
Bangladeshi politicians said he (Al Busairi) used to speak excellent English and was very friendly.
A BNP standing committee member said he was quite open about his critical views on Bangladesh’s politics.
On 10 May 2012 (19 Jamadi-us Sani 1433), Saudi ambassador Al Busairi in his diplomatic cable informed the Saudi foreign ministry in Riyadh, “I think the attention of the United States and the United Kingdom towards Bangladesh has increased. Even after that Bangladesh’s economic progress is continuing. As a result, the country will create a significant position in both political and economic spheres in near future but it hinges on the political stability. The current Sheikh Hasina-led Bangladesh government is continuously enjoying support from the US and India which have given it leverage to keep the opposition under pressure by arrests and repression. And the government is trying to establish one-party politics.”
In a diplomatic cable sent from Dhaka just three months before sending the previous one, the then Saudi foreign minister Saud Al Faisal was told: “The main objective of the Bangladesh government in conducting the war crimes trial is to make political gains and to take revenge against some important persons.”
The full copy of this cable was not available.
When contacted, the executive director of Transparency International, Bangladesh, Iftekharuzzaman, and the secretary of Citizens for Good Governance, Badiul Alam Majumder, tacitly supported the Saudi Arabia’s opinion about AL’s desire to establish “one-party politics” in Bangladesh, but both of them disagreed with Saudi Arabia that there was a political motive behind the war crimes trial.
BNP standing committee member Abdul Moyeen Khan, declined to make any comment on the Saudi cables.
About the “AL’s desire to establish one-party politics”, the BNP leader, however, cited an example of the attacks by the ruling party men on an iftar programme of his at Narsingdi and said, “It is evident from such incidents happening regularly across the country that multi-party democracy no more exists in Bangladesh.”
It was possible to identify the blue initials of Al Busairi on the cable sent on 10 May 2012 in the wake of the abduction of BNP leader Ilias Ali on 17 April 2012.
Busairi in his one-page cable wrote, “Though the government has encountered multi-pronged agitation and instability this time, a BNP leader has already been abducted.”
It was seen in different cables that Saudi Arabia was keeping watch on the visit of different US ministers and officials to Bangladesh.
Busairi had attached the list of officials including the US foreign secretary who visited Bangladesh in early 2012 with his cable.
Another separate cable was found, titled, “The Report on Political Situation in Bangladesh.” The Saudi foreign minister, Saud Al Faisal, on his letterhead sent the cable of Dhaka to King Abdullah in November 2012.
He also sent the copies of the cable to the heads of country’s intelligence agencies and to the home minister.
The report, however, did not include the analysis of significant political events in Bangladesh.
The message sent to King Abdullah from Dhaka’s Saudi embassy in November, 2012 said many people were killed and injured during the violent clashes between the activists of ruling Awami League and opposition BNP.
Moreover, massive clashes between the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and members of law enforcing agencies were held across the country, leaving many of both sides hurt and killed and numerous Jamaat leaders and activists were arrested.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina harshly criticised the protest and violence conducted by Jamaat activists.
Besides, home minister clearly said that Jamaat was creating violence to destabilise the country and disrupt its security.
The minister also warned that law enforcing agencies would quash Jamaat attempts with an iron hand. Ruling party MPs (members of parliament) also came down hard on violent activities.
The MPs congratulated the prime minister for her declaration of bringing the persons who opposed war crime trial. (It is to be mentioned that the message mistakenly bears the word ‘criticise’ here instead of congratulate.)
After that, the message says that MPs thought that the threat (of stopping war crimes trial) was against the Constitution. They rejected the suggestion of US ambassador in Dhaka to have talks with the Jamaat leaders.
When conducting violence, the Jamaat supporters attacked the motorcade of the law minister and a few vehicles and motorcycles of police.
On the other hand, opposition alliance leaders criticised the law enforcing agencies’ decision to prohibit a rally protesting the hike of railway fares, terming this as ‘excessive’.
They (opposition leaders) demonstrated in Dhaka and several few other major cities.
They were waging a movement protesting the government’s repressive policy on opposition politicians and its massive corruption, and demanding restoration of the caretaker government to hold general election.
During this political turmoil, US assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights visited Bangladesh and met with Bangladesh home minister.
The next part of the cable could not be found.
Another cable whose date could not found gives a hint of Dhaka Saudi embassy’s feelings over the trial of war crimes.
It is assumed that the message might have been written some time during 2010 to 2012.
Saudi embassy told Riyadh’s foreign ministry through an official note, “The incumbent government, through all its diplomatic efforts, was able to attain support of United Nations, the US and the European Union for the trial of war crimes committed in 1971. However, the international community stressed that the trial must be held following international standards and it should be transparent.”
The message adds, “Half of those arrested for war crimes represent the opposition including Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP. None of the arrested, so far, belongs to the ruling party or any of its alliance parties, which proves the main intention of the trial is political and the opposition is protesting the trial. The people are unhappy over the deterioration of country’s security and economy.”
The first charge-sheet of the war crimes was submitted to the International Crimes Tribunal in 2010 and by 2012 a total of nine Jamaat and two BNP leaders were charge-sheeted.
The cable says that Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal informed late King Abdullah, “The embassy (in Dhaka) thinks the government may hesitate to conduct the trial as it fears clashes between several political parties and supporters of the government. The government fears instability and insecurity. The ultimate outcome of the trial will be hanging the accused and this may pitch the country into a dark hole.”

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