Where martial law is yet to be lifted

Bangladesh has remained under military rule for a year now

It has been a year since the Bangladeshi army staged a quiet coup, installed a regime of civilian ‘advisors’ and imposed an emergency. According to Freedom House, over the last year, Bangladesh’s “political rights rating declined…due to a military-backed replacement of the caretaker government in January and suspension of planned elections, as well as the imposition of a state of emergency under which political activity, freedom of assembly, and media freedom were curtailed”.

Photo: Flickr-Anonymous Photographer

During this one year, the military junta has attempted to gain domestic legitimacy by a very visible crackdown on political corruption. It has managed to avoid international scrutiny not only by keeping a low profile, but has gained from the fact that the world’s attention is turned towards Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Yet military rule is unlikely to provide Bangladesh with a sound basis to address its numerous internal problems, and by extension, problems that affect India. The longer Bangladesh is under military rule, the greater the danger that problems will surface only after they have reached crisis levels.

The fact that one whole year after seizing power the generals are nowhere near announcing a timetable for a restoration of democracy proves that now is as good a time as any. We all wish we had better politicians, but the truth is that Bangladesh, like any other country, must do with the leaders and political parties it has got.

It is time for the generals to beat the retreat.

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