04/27/2007versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

Dhaka revokes the deportation of Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, the two former women prime ministers.
Bangladesh’s army-backed interim government, in place since October 2006, revoked its decision to force into exile two among the most influential politicians of the country. We are referring to former women prime ministers, Sheikh Hasina, the Awami League party leader, and Khaleda Zia, head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP.
Militare presidia una strada di DaccaWhat happened. Last week Hasina, back from her holidays in the United States, was stranded at London airport as unwelcome person, because of the strikes and demonstrations organized by her party in January. She was also charged with corruption and murder, related to the death of ten people during those riots. Khaleda Zia instead was put under house arrest in Dhaka, and she had to promise she would leave for Saudi Arabia in order to obtain the release of his son, who had been arrested a few days before. The two women, who once fought together against dictatorship and then became rivals in the democratic contest, were rejected by authorities engaged in the expulsion process started on January 11th, with the declaration of the state of emergency. Thanks to the state of emergency the authorities up to now have arrested hundreds of political activists belonging to both parties. It seems that dozens of prisoners have died in state prisons creating a widespread sense of fear among the population who feels threatened by the police, the army and the troops of the Rapid Action Batallion (RAB). On Wednesday 25th the interim government backed out and removed the limitations on the two women who can stay in the country, but it is still unclear whether they will be allowed to participate in the elections that the government has promised will take place by 2008.
Sheikh HasinaPressures. “I thank the people of Bangladesh, the world media, the political leaders and our country’s friends. I want to thank all those who put pressure on governments,” declared Sheikh Hasina from London. “People have won,” declared Hannan Shah of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, “it has been reaffirmed that people’s fundamental democratic rights cannot be suspended” repeated Abdul Jalil from the Awami League. Murder charges against Sheikh Hasina have not been withdrawn, but she will at least be able to re-enter the country. As for Khaleda Zia, the government denied having put any pressure on her. It seems that the about-turn by the authorities was mainly determined by the pressure of international diplomacy and media, especially from the United States. McCormack, US State Department Spokesman, warned: “If the interim government does not take the right decisions, it will put in danger the democracy of the nation”. Government’s campaign against the two women was part of a wider anti-corruption operation, carried out during the state of emergency in order to re-establish authorities’ control over the country. Corruption is a widespread problem in Bangladesh and at the beginning the government’s plan was seen with favour by the population. People, however, did not thoroughly support the authorities’ attempt at getting rid of two difficult politicians such as Hasina and Khaleda. Many believe that their presence in the country will prevent the reforms envisaged by the interim government, but according to the BBC in Dhaka, “the government seems to have seriously underestimated people’s sentiments”.
Keywords: zia, bangladesh, hasina
Topic: Elections, Politics
Area: Bangladesh