Shouldn’t remain thankful to India forever: Akbar Ali Khan

Akbar Ali Khan

The unabated corruption is taking place in the country resulting in the rise of black money, former advisor to the caretaker government, Akbar Ali Khan, has said.

With the patronisation of the government, disparities are also increasing in the country, he added.

Eminent economist and former cabinet secretary made these remarks on Monday in a meeting—marking the golden jubilee of independence—organised by Centre for Governance Studies (CGS).

Akbar Ali said different types of furors will break out again if a attention is not paid to the discrimination. Attention has to be paid to this problem if peace and prosperity are desired in the country.

Addressing as a chief gust at a hotel in the capital, the former caretaker government adviser expressed his views on different issues including democracy, rule of law and disparity.

Talking about the inequalities, the economist said, the dream of socialism, which lies in liberation war spirit, is to diminish disparities among the people. But the inequality is increasing in the country.

Around 65 per cent of the countries across the world have less income inequalities than Bangladesh. Only 33 per cent of countries have the same pattern of income inequalities as Bangladesh has, he cited.

The discrimination has increased in the country in last two and three decades just because of unabated corruption, Akbar Ali said.

The economist opined nationalism in Bangladesh has been achieved completely and so there is no reason to express concerns over the issue.

“The concern is about democracy. We believe in liberal democracy. This democracy is not just about holding elections, it’s also about showing respect to others, participation of civil society and the establishment of rule of law—are still weak in Bangladesh.”

He said there are many political parties in the country. But no one believes in democracy, they just utter words over democracy. Secularism will not be sustained if democracy is absent in the country.

Akbar Ali Khan brought up the issue of the relationship between Bangladesh and India in his speech. He said, “Obviously, there is a contribution of India in achieving independence in 1971. For this reason, we don’t need to remain thankful to India forever.”

“Both Bangladesh and India know that there is no instance of remaining ever-thankful anywhere in the world. It’s not a personal friendship. It’s a friendship between nation and nation and state and state. When our interests will be identical, then there will build up a relationship between state and state.”

“If there is a conflict of interest between us, then ever-thankfulness wouldn’t be expressed,” he added.

Referring to the context of a meeting with Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and defense minister in 1971, he claimed, “They clearly said we want you to live independently. They never imagined that Bangladesh would bow down forever to anyone. It will never be possible.”

Akbar Ali Khan also talked about the achievement of Bangladesh in 50 years of independence. He said, around 70 per cent of people during the liberation war were living below the poverty line.

Now the rate of poverty has decreased to 20 per cent. It is an unimaginable achievement. However, poverty has not only declined in Bangladesh but it also declined in all countries of the world, the economist added.