Setting the record straight on Bangladesh’s political landscape


An article recently published in Foreign Policy magazine discussing Bangladesh’s political situation requires careful examination, as it contains several inaccuracies that need clarification. The piece delves into the political dynamics of Bangladesh, its relationships with major global powers, and alleged election rigging by the Bangladeshi government. However, the article’s representation of Bangladesh’s political history, especially the claim that the Awami League (AL) under Sheikh Hasina orchestrated vote rigging before the 2014 election, is fundamentally flawed.

In truth, the 2014 general elections in Bangladesh were conducted under the Jatiya Sangsad, or the ‘National Parliament’. It’s essential to note that any alleged irregularities in the election process, if they had occurred, wouldn’t be solely attributed to Sheikh Hasina. Conducting elections involves multiple entities, with the ultimate responsibility lying with the electoral institutions, not individual politicians.

Moreover, it’s crucial to highlight that the 2014 election received endorsements from world governments and various democratic institutions.

These international approvals lend credibility to the election process and the legitimacy of its results. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was one of the few entities alleging election rigging, a charge that was largely seen in the context of their disappointing performance. Such insinuations seem more like political rhetoric rather than grounded in substantive evidence.

The 2014 election, in which the public overwhelmingly chose Sheikh Hasina as their leader, was marked by a distinct lack of controversy surrounding her legitimacy. Contrary to the Foreign Policy article’s narrative, the majority of Bangladeshi people expressed their democratic right and affirmed Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in a manner that was both legal and transparent. The BNP’s boycott of the polls didn’t cast a shadow over her victory but instead underscored the trust and confidence that the Bangladeshi people had in her leadership. Rather than viewing the results as a product of manipulation, the 2014 election should be recognized as a testament to Hasina’s widespread popularity and the public’s belief in her ability to guide the nation forward.

To gain an accurate assessment of Bangladesh’s political evolution and current situation, understanding this context is essential. Since gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh’s political landscape has been shaped by various complexities. The article correctly discusses economic growth and development projects like the Padma Bridge but fails to fully recognize the multifaceted nature of political life in Bangladesh.

The article’s focus on the AL’s rule overlooks the critical role of the BNP in the lead-up to the 2014 general election. The claim that the elections were “heavily rigged” to benefit the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government is an oversimplification of a nuanced situation. While the AL’s victory was partly influenced by the BNP’s boycott, it doesn’t directly equate to fraudulent conduct by the AL, as they weren’t the ruling party during the 2014 election.

The article briefly mentions Bangladesh’s relationships with major powers but doesn’t delve into the country’s strategic position. Dhaka’s foreign policy isn’t solely based on alignment with major powers but is also shaped by economic, cultural, and historical factors.

Surprisingly, the article overlooks a significant aspect of the geopolitical drama – the BNP’s lobbying efforts to instigate US sanctions against Bangladesh. In a clear attempt to discredit the legitimate government and destabilize the political climate, the BNP sought to exert influence in Washington, advocating for punitive measures against their own nation. This lobbying campaign not only damaged Bangladesh’s international image but also threatened its economic stability and growth.

The article also neglects to mention a critical issue regarding the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)’s designation as a Tier-III terrorist organization by a US court. This crucial detail significantly impacts Bangladesh’s domestic and international politics, raising serious concerns about the BNP’s actions and intentions and questioning their legitimacy as a democratic actor. The failure to address this issue demonstrates an incomplete understanding of Bangladesh’s complex political climate and highlights the need for comprehensive details.

Additionally, the article sidesteps an integral issue concerning the plight of minorities in Bangladesh, particularly during the BNP’s rule. Historically, the BNP’s governance was marked by severe and systemic persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, creating a climate of fear and discrimination.

The BNP’s unsettling inclination towards anti-Semitism, demonstrated through disturbing public discourse, further undermines principles of tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity essential in any thriving democratic society.

Furthermore, the BNP’s alignment with extremist Islamist militant group Jamaat-e-Islami underscores their willingness to affiliate with forces championing radical ideologies, threatening national security and social harmony in Bangladesh.

Ignoring these crucial aspects related to the BNP’s governance and ideological posture in the article presents a perspective that does not accurately reflect the intricate dynamics of Bangladesh’s political landscape. The selective omission of these key elements hints at a lack of comprehensive understanding of the nation’s political reality.

To gain a thorough and fair analysis, it is of utmost importance to approach Bangladesh’s political narrative with a balanced perspective.

Oversimplifications or misinterpretations can distort the perception of the nation’s democratic progression and its role on the international stage, which is continually evolving and holds considerable significance.

The actual situation in Bangladesh is far more complex and layered than what the Foreign Policy article portrays. Recognizing the accurate historical and current context is imperative for a more nuanced understanding of the country’s political landscape, which carries far-reaching implications regionally and globally.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here