Victory Day: Let there be political stability

Prothom Alo illustration

Today, 16 December is a special day in Bangladesh’s history, the day when a long and bloody people’s war had come to an end through our ultimate victory. On this day back in 1971, occupying Pakistani military forces had officially surrendered and were ousted from this land.

However, in the previous nine months they had butchered three million people of this country and raped 200,000 women. Today on the Victory Day with great respect and love we remember that history of self-sacrifice.

We remember the undisputed leader of Bengal, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on whose call people from all walks of life joined the war and liberated the country.

Aside from achieving independence, the goal of this victory was to establish a democratic state and fair society, where all citizens irrespective of their race, religion and caste would enjoy equal political, economic, cultural and religious rights and where the rule of law would be established, meaning all the laws would be equally applicable to all.

With the victory on 16 December, the primary goal of our liberation war has been achieved, meaning Bangladesh has been established as an independent and sovereign state. The country has made significant improvement in the economic and social sectors in the last 52 years.

The poverty rate has been reduced remarkably while the rate of child mortality and maternal mortality has been decreased as well. Our average life expectancy has gone up, the nutrition condition and health system has improved and the education system has seen an expansion.  

However we couldn’t consolidate democracy, the main promise of the independence. The indexes of civilian independence, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are all descending.

Neither could we take our political culture to such a level where the parliament is indeed the centre of politics and where all political problems can be solved through discussions.

Among a lot of bad news this year, one piece of good news was the annulment of controversial Digital Security Act. But the act titled ‘Cyber Security Act’ that has been implemented instead will also cause harassment for the public.

However, whereas the accused used to be arrested as soon as a case would be filed under the previous act, most of the sections in the new law are bailable. But all the cases filed under the act that has been abolished, should be withdrawn.  

It must be accepted that the Victory Day this year has appeared before us with a whole new reality. After all, the whole of the current year had been tumultuous centering the election.

The public had expected that the political leadership would come to an understanding and the 12th national parliamentary election would be held with the participation of all.

That aspiration has indeed remained unfulfilled. The government and the opposition have taken a face to face stand centering the 7 January election.

While 29 parties including ruling Awami League, out of the 44 parties registered with the election commission have joined the election, the remaining 15 parties including main opposition, BNP have boycotted it.

At the same time, they have continued with their strikes (hartal) and blockades. On one hand, there’s the preparation of election on the other hand opposition’s programmes have created a sense of panic among the public. Let this panic be over quickly. And, let there be a proper democratic environment in the country.

While we celebrate the Victory Day this time, Israel’s cruel aggression on Gaza continues. Thousands of innocent people including children and women are being killed there.

We urge the peace-loving population of the world as well as the United Nations to quickly take effective steps to stop Israeli aggression on Gaza. And wish all citizens of the country a happy Victory Day.

Also Read