What may happen in Bangladesh on October 28?


Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has called for a massive rally in Dhaka on October 28, which is expected to be attended by more than half-a-million party activists. BNP already has formed political, media and military cells which would use optimum force with the target of unseating ruling Awami League government, while party leaders are already instructed to arrive in Dhaka by October 25 with preparation of staying in the city “at least until October 31”.

It may be mentioned here that the last day of the BNP-Jamaat Islamist coalition government was October 28, 2006, when Prime Minister Khaleda Zia had tendered her resignation to President Iazuddin Ahmed, a loyalist of BNP. Prior to this, Khaleda Zia had made all necessary arrangements of returning to power by placing Justice KM Hasan to become the head of caretaker government. Prior to becoming Chief Justice, KM Hasan was an active member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Then the main opposition Awami League pressed objection at such an arrangement of BNP as it would result in an engineered election helping BNP-Jamaat nexus in returning to power.

Centering 28 October back then, tension prevailed in Dhaka city in particular as well as throughout the country. Awami League declared a rally while on the same day BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami organized two separate rallies. The belligerent preparations by both sides gave rise to apprehensions of serious violence. At this stage, Dhaka Metropolitan Police deployed more than 15,000 members of the law enforcement agencies in Dhaka on 28 October, prohibiting any gatherings or rallies. Police went to arrest leaders of Awami League and its 14-party alliance.

While Awami League wants to hold the next general election under the constitutional provisions, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its Islamist partners want to return to power without any election. BNP in particular is looking to create a Pakistan-type situation in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Tarique Rahman has already instructed members of party’s “military cell” which is lead by sacked army officer Hasinur Rahman to “apply force” while Hasinur Rahman reportedly is chalking-out plans of massive terrorist acts from the night of October 28, once law enforcement agencies try to disperse BNP men who would lay a seize and sit on the streets.

According to analysts, as Awami League was adamant back in 1995-96, BNP now is desperately looking for returning to power – by hook or crook. As once again the two sides are at loggerheads as October 28 draws near – speculations run rife in the public mind. Everyone is asking what will happen on October 28?

Commenting on October 28, Dhaka’s leading vernacular daily Prothom Alo said, “The government and Awami League at the moment are placing highest importance on BNP’s grand rally slated for 28 October. Many of the party leaders consider this as a final hard-hitting and lethal action of BNP as the government nears the end of its term. That is why they plan to create pressure so that the BNP rally will not be too large or to prevent it from even taking place at all”.

Seeking anonymity, a highly-placed source in BNP said, the party is looking to exert maximum pressure from October 28, which shall continue until November 7. BNP leaders and its loyalist media outlets are trying to propagate and show its October 28 rally as a “peaceful political program”, while they are hiding the actual agenda of the party.

The source said “This is the last chance for BNP to unseat the government. If we fail, then the party shall have no alternative to participating in the upcoming general election”.


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