Webinar: Judiciary being used to keep BNP out of polls 

It is now evident that the 12th parliamentary elections will not be fair, competitive, or participatory. Ruling Awami League is sending BNP, the key opposition, out of election as well as politics, and planning to hold the voting within themselves, fielding some dummy candidates. They are using the law enforcement agencies as well as the judiciary to make all these arrangements. 

Speakers came up with the observation in a webinar hosted by the Forum for Bangladesh Studies on Friday. 

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik alleged that there was a particular form of theft in 2014, and it came in a different form in 2018. Now, another type of theft is set to take place in 2024. 

The veteran lawyer feared an unrest due to the method the government is using to hold the next election. He expressed concern over the possible developments between 7 January, 2024 and 2025. 

“Security, comfort zone, economic, political life, remedy to injustices – all will come to a standstill. Against such a backdrop, some people may turn unstable and go astray,” he added. 

Shahdeen Malik also feared that the country may turn into an uninhabitable place within a year if the 7 January election retains its current course. He, however, wished that his fear would not come true. 

Generally, some 25 cases in every 100 lawsuits result in convictions, while the remaining cases see acquittal of accused. But it is in stark contrast to the cases against the BNP men as more than 90 per cent of accused are being convicted here.

Describing the scenario, he said it is not enough to only serve justice, but it should be credible to the public. 

Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul said the political leaders are declining to become candidates unless there is a type of surety. It proves that the government is preparing for another ‘staged election’, by sending the BNP off politics and electoral field through imprisonment and threat. 

Manzil Morshed, president of the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh; Ridwanul Haque, former professor of Law Department at Dhaka University; among others, spoke on the occasion. 

Columnist Zahed-ur Rahman moderated the session, while Mahmudul Hasan, professor of International Islamic University, Malaysia, delivered welcome speech.