Bangladesh PM’s ‘martial law’ comment reflects people’s deeply held belief
The blunt statement on September 7 of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a virtual meeting with the Armed Forces Selection Board—that "we should exclude Martial Law from military lexicon"—was both surprising and refreshing
The blunt statement on September 7 of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a virtual meeting with the Armed Forces Selection Board—that "we should exclude Martial Law from military lexicon"—was both surprising and refreshing. The surprise was its timing and the freshness was that of the content. The PM minced no words in stating that our military should remove the words "martial law" from its vocabulary. What she meant was that not only should such things never happen again, but the very thought of it should be banished from our military's mind. That is because, as she rightly pointed out, military rules of the past did not do our country and its people any good, nor did they do any good to people anywhere in the world.
In spite of that record, military coups did occur all through history with the most recent examples being Thailand and Egypt, both proving to be unsuccessful and unpopular. From the side of the armed forces, coups proved to be disastrous as well—making them corrupt, inefficient, arrogant and disdainful of the "bloody civilians", resulting in the creation of a wall of mistrust and suspicion between the armed forces and the people.
The PM may have familial reasons for her views on military rule, but her thoughts fully reflect the views of the public based on their own experiences of seeing the destruction of democracy and all the institutions of accountability and transparency. It is our deeply held belief that even an elected government of innumerable weaknesses is preferable to a military dictatorship of umpteenth virtues.
Of the many bad things that Pakistan left us with, the legacy of military coups is perhaps the worst. Never would Bangladeshi officers stage a coup, let alone kill the Father of the Nation, if not for their Pakistani training—though, sadly, many of them took part in our Liberation War.
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