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A Long-awaited Tea Party

July 2, 2013

tea

It is very sad to know that government has formed a commission to reform Grameen Bank, Bangladesh’s microcredit pioneer that empowered millions of poor women and earned Nobel Prize for the country.

We have also learned from the media that government has a plan to abolish existing Grameen Bank operational structure and to split it into 19 independent units— a final nail to Grameen Bank Coffin.

Fortunately, within the government we have seen significant opposition to such plan.

Since the present govt.’s assumption of power, the issue of Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank has become a matter of paramount importance to the top brass of ruling regime.Prof. Yunus has been identified as one of the architects of military-backed care-taker government. As a former victim of that regime, govt. continues a tirade against him and has meted out harsh treatments to his institution.

But why did the govt. let the former Chief Adviser of the caretaker govt. and the then Army Chief leave the country? Why did the ruling party not broach the matter with court and seek justice if it really thinks it is a victim of 1/11?

So far we have seen govt. only publicly criticizes the actors of 1/11 regime, but it took a harder stance on Grameen Bank and on Prof. Yunus who was not directly involved with the past caretaker govt.

Another interesting thing, other political parties who started their journeys during the 2-year-long period of caretaker regime have not yet met the wrath of present govt.

Many say and belief the cause of the ongoing feud between the govt. and Professor Yunus lies in awarding Bangladesh’s first Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Yunus. Present PM was also eagerly expecting the prize after signing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty, but this incident reduced the chances of another Nobel Peace Prize for Bangladesh.

Govt. simply stepped into a matter, motivated by jealousy and vengeance, which is not included into its electoral promises.

Most people do not buy govt.’s account that the bête noire Professor Yunus has to be blamed for the cancellation of Padma Bridge funding and the suspension of GSP facility.

Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank are not ideological enemies of this govt. If govt. displays the fraction of the zeal it manifested to oust Professor Yunus from Grameen Bank to ban Islami Bank Bangladesh, then it will mark a quantum leap forward in the fight against Islamic extremism.

But time and again, with heavy heart, we have seen Islami Bank Bangladesh sponsored World Cup Cricket during this govt.’s tenure and it has been allowed to patronize various govt. programs. Key political leaders of ruling regime took part in photo shoot with controversial figures like Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, a member of Muslim Brotherhood, which is ideological cousin of Jamaat-i-Islami, in international fora. Some quarter of the ruling party extended its support to Hefajat-e-Islam’s campaign and to woo them dismantled the Gonojagoran Mancho, country’s sole platform for non violent movement.

These images and incidents not only hurt us, but seriously jeopardize govt.’s image at home and abroad.

We, the ordinary citizens, expect that our top leaders and national heroes will be devoid of ego and pettiness. After the Rana Plaza disaster and the suspension of GSP facility, country’s export sector will go through a critical time in the long run. All stakeholders, political and civil, should come under one umbrella to chalk out a plan to meet the future odds to the economy. In order to do that everyone has to make some conciliatory moves.

At the beginning of Grameen Bank debacle, Professor Yunus expressed his desire to meet the Prime Minister. I think this is the right moment to invite Professor Yunus at PM’s office for a tea party where both will discuss the disputing matters at length and will come out with fruitful results.

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