Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yunu's second letter

Yunus' second letter

Dear Citizen,

I am writing to you again. First, let me express my salam to you. I could never imagine that I would get such massive response from the letter I wrote to you on February 11, 2007.
ACCEPT MY SINCERE THANKS AND GRATITUDEYou have encouraged my entry into politics with such logic and emotions that I could not help being astonished. I again felt the infinite blessings of Allah on me. From your replies, I have come to realise that how deep into your hearts you have let me in and you have put me in a position of great trust.
You have come forward and advised me with the desire to create a new politics for a new Bangladesh. A handful of young volunteers have been struggling to keep up with the incessant flow of mails, emails, fax and sms that you have sent to me after reading my letter in the newspapers. Your letters are continuing to flood in. The replies ranged from the people in remote villages of Bangladesh to the enthusiastic expatriates. I have received many valuable advices through your letters. I thank you from the depth of my heart. I express my gratitude to you. I also thank those who have asked me not to join politics out of their love for me. To them, I only have to say that only Allah can give us respect. If one wants respect, that person should earn it himself or herself. I want to go ahead with what I think is my duty. Overall, the message that you have clearly articulated to me, is that people from all walks of life want to go forward with me with a wish to bring widespread changes. I have no way to disappoint them.
I AM JOINING POLITICS WITH YOUR ADVICEIn light of your enthusiasm, I have decided to take part in your efforts for creating a new politics. I will join politics and establish a new party. Please pray, so that I can fulfill your wishes and so that Allah's blessings are with me, as always. The foundation of my new party will gradually build up through the same consultative process I have used to come to this decision.
I have received many proposals regarding the name of the party and have decided on proposing the name 'Nagorik Shakti' (Citizens' Power) to constantly remind the people of the creation of a new politics through unleashing the hidden power among all citizens. In short, we can use "Shakti" for promoting the party. We want to establish our beloved country among the frontline countries with the slogan "March ahead, Bangladesh." We want the central motto to be the pledge being echoed inside each proud citizen today: "We Can."
I have expressed on several occasions my ideas and opinions on the objectives and programmes the party requires to build a new Bangladesh. In this regard, I am enthusiastically trying to discern the hopes and desires of the nation. The messages that I have received from you recently, contained some questions, some opinions and some preferences on this matter. You wanted to know what would be my party's goal and purpose? I will outline the goals and purpose of the party later. The party itself will decide on it once it is formed.
Let me say which aspects would characterise 'Nagorik Shakti' as a political party. I have been saying these for years. The politics of this party would be to move towards the future by coalescing the people under a unified goal; not to go around in the circles of the past by creating divisions. The activists in the towns and villages would be in charge of the party's policy making. Those who break the law will not be allowed to become its leaders. All the nominations from the party for all elections, including national parliamentary elections, would be given by the local committee; and they will decide on the candidate by comprehensively considering their honestly and competency. To maintain public relations, it will follow alternatives to grand rallies. Women and the youth would be the lifeblood of this party, they would come to the leadership in huge numbers. This party will not judge everything from the party perspective; rather it will consult all other parties, non-political citizens, experts, expatriates and others. They will move forward together. Overall, this party would be the beacon of national unity and implementation of the nation's dreams.
OUR POLITICSOur politics would be the politics to materialise the dream of the liberation war. This politics would be a politics of unity, a politics of peace, a politics to establish honesty, a politics of labour, a politics to change the fate of the people as quickly as possible by reviving a new work ethics, a politics to send poverty to the museum. This politics will be non-communal, secular, democratic, good governance, free from corruption and against politicisation. It will be the politics of equity for women in all spheres, building the future of young generation and not to bow down to foreign power and to stand in the world holding the head high. I am urging all the citizens to come forward actively in support of this politics to make it a success.
IMPERATIVES FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THIS POLITICSCome, let us start our work from this moment to establish these characteristics. Let our preparations begin by maintaining the existing provision of internal politics. Key areas of our activities at this moment will be our respective constituencies, villages and wards; take initiative to form, as many possible, 20-member 'Primary Preparatory Team'. If you are staying outside your area, try to visit your area and contact people to take the initiative. It is your task to do the work of the organisation in your area. It is also your task to select honest and competent candidates and make them win in national and local elections; others will not do it for you. And it is also your duty to contribute money and other resources for it according to your ability. Those who can afford, can set up preparatory offices and contact centres of 'Nagorik Shakti' with their own initiative and financing, if necessary at your shop or personal workplace or own house, and hang signboards and banners in this regard. It will be better if these are many in number in an area. Write name of the party and our declaration (March ahead, Bangladesh) in clear letters on them. Make arrangements as best as you can to receive phones, letters, faxes, emails from people, give information and receive people's opinion and let me know. Let the volunteers work here. Send us information and get recorded after forming a 'Primary Preparatory Team' or setting up preparatory offices and contact centres. Also encourage your friends to form preparatory teams. The success of 'Nagorik Shakti' will depend on your zeal and efforts. For the time being, begin your preparatory stage work on the basis of the draft outline as written below. The draft will be finalised after receiving opinion of all.
FORM PRIMARY PREPARATORY TEAMThose, who will be member of the party, set up one or more offices in each ward of the villages of Bangladesh. Form preparatory teams in each ward as many as possible. Each 'Primary Preparatory Team' will comprise of 20 members with one convenor. These will be formed on the basis of different groups. Innumerable such preparatory teams of same groups may be there in each ward or you alone can form several such teams. Make sure that the number of teams of women members is equal to those of the men. Special initiatives have to be taken to form teams of women. To form teams, the groups would be: 1. male students, 2. female students, 3. adolescent male workers, 4. adolescent female workers, 5. young male workers, 6. young female workers, 7. young male social workers, 8. young female social workers, 9. young male service-holders, 10. young female service-holders, 11. young male professionals, 12. young female professionals, 13. young housewives, 14. farmers, 15. workers, 16. professionals, 17. service-holders, 18. small entrepreneurs, 19. businessmen, 20. young male businessmen, 21. young female businessmen, 22. housewives, 23. elderly men, 24. elderly women. It is not mandatory that each of the groups will have to form team. If any group has small number of members they may form team after joining members of other groups.
Elect a group-convenor in a ward (mahalla in the cases of metro cities) from among the convenors of all the teams in the ward. The group-convenors will form a convenors team. One of the tasks of the convenors team is that it would form a 'Ward Preparatory Team' with honest, competent and enthusiastic people of the ward. It will be your collective task to bring in the right people in this regard. Electing at least one third from among women for the 'Ward Preparatory Team' and other teams at all levels is a must; but equal number of male and female members is desirable. Form Union or town or Metro-ward preparatory team with three elected members of each 'Ward Preparatory Team' or 'Mahalla Preparatory Team' in case of metro cities. With three elected members from each such team, form 'Constituency Preparatory Team'. The 'Constituency Preparatory Team' will play the key role in nominating the panel of honest and competent candidates for national and local elections and it, after getting approval at party selection at all levels of union/town/metro-ward, will later be sent to central committee. The district and national level teams can also be formed this way. By electing 'Constituency Team' at this moment quickly, we will have to begin the task of finding out honest and competent candidates for national and local elections. You yourselves will be able to turn these preparatory teams later into well-formed committees. After forming group-based 'Primary Preparatory Teams' as many as possible, you go forward to form preparatory teams at next levels. We will distribute detailed policy to all about the formation process of 'preparatory teams' at different levels to make things clear to all. I myself will begin the task of forming a general preparatory team with those among you who will be identified as more successful leaders among you and the experts.
The ward level team will have many duties. They will be responsible for local development and political organisation. Its key duty will be freeing the area from poverty. Key among its political duties will be to review continuously who will be eligible for contesting in the elections and for which post, and taking the responsibility of electoral task, to perform the task of nominating candidates.
THOSE WHO ARE WORKING OUTSIDE THEIR AREASThose, who are working in a distant workplace outside their village, take a week's leave and go to your village. Going there, form as many as possible Primary Preparatory Teams and come back. These processes will not start if you do not go there. Preparatory teams would form one after another as soon as you go there. Encourage union parishad chairmen and members to establish ward-level preparatory teams. Now there's no scope in criticising politics from your living rooms. Now is the time to overturn the political culture of the past. You are the sole creator of this change. If possible, take a long leave from work and go to your home. It is doubtful whether the chance to change politics would ever come again. Do not let it slip away with indolence. Your fate and the fate of future generations are in your hands.
SUPPORTERS GROUPSThose who cannot come within the organisational structure because of personal reasons, please establish Nagarik Shakti Supporters Group from wherever you are or join your local supporters group. Three to 20 people can join each supporters group, including members or non-members of the party. Let me know the creation of the supporters group and its future developments. Even friends who are located in different areas can establish a supporters group. You can create your supporters group through emails, telephones or even through a blog on the Internet. Contact others and encourage them to create supporters groups. This force is needed to enforce the required change.
Dear Expatriate brothers and sistersI am especially thankful to you. I have received a huge number of emails and telephone calls from you. You have expressed your trust in me. You have clearly stated your interest in bringing change to the country's political arena. Now is the time to start work. Create supporters groups in the countries of residence. Establish its offices at your workplace or your home. Build up communication centres. Effectively use the modes of communication, discussion and disseminating information available through the Internet. Take steps to create supporters groups in your own village or your town back in Bangladesh. If possible, visit the country for a week or two. Go to your locality and create supporters groups. Ensure financial assistance for them. Identify and then talk to honest and competent candidates and then encourage them to join Nagorik Shakti. Constantly maintain contact with us and describe your activities. Give us your advice at every step. If possible, take leave from work or your business to come back during elections. This is your chance to earn the honour of establishing a new politics in the country with your own hands.
Dear YouthYou are the greatest strength of this country. You will establish a respectful future for this country. You surely want widespread changes in the political arena, then you must come forward with innovation and enthusiasm. You will have to build up organisations across the country. You must create effective and proactive support by establishing Nagorik Shakti Supporters Groups in schools, colleges and universities. You must echo the clarion call of "March ahead, Bangladesh."
Call to the women of the countryHalf of the country's people are women. But, your role in the decision-making process is ignored. You have to come forward in publicising the new identity of Bangladesh. You can become a very powerful force in the materialising the dream of a new country. Gather your relatives and friends. Build up Nagorik Shakti Supporters Group. Everyone from Rural women to urban women, teachers, doctors, nurses, and students, all have to come forward. Now is the time to shed your dilemmas, fears, anxieties, and divisions to march forward in resolute steps. Come forward to ensure this beautiful nation becomes a country of peace.
You are the Citizens PowerI will be very happy if preparatory teams are set up in each locality. Those who have and will express such, I will understand that they have come forward to implement the dream of creating a new politics with their own labour, money and assets. You are the citizens' power. I want to work with you. I strongly believe that many others would follow in your footsteps. The challenge ahead of you is big, and time is short. But you cannot forget that citizens' power is a very powerful force. All of you have a strong belief in your heart "I can." We want to awaken the entire nation with the declaration "March ahead, Bangladesh." The merciful Allah will help us.
I am extremely sorry that I could not reply to your messages separately. I will certainly try to do so. But you must continue your communication with me. Your letters are shining the light on the path ahead. Please do not take this light away.
My address, fax number, phone numbers etc will remain unchanged. I am again providing them below. Others have expressed interest in volunteering on conveying your messages to me and vice versa. I will create more opportunities for them. Those who want to assist me in whichever way, please let me know in writing. I urgently need you. Otherwise, arrange the conveyance of people's messages to me by creating preparatory offices and communication centres in your own areas. I am waiting for your progress reports, advice and opinions.
Thank you and greetingsMuhammad YunusFebruary 22, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yunus names his party.

Yunus names his party, decides to contest next polls
Staff Correspondent

Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus on Sunday primarily announced the name of his political party as Nagorik Shakti (citizens’ power), saying the organisation would contest the next parliamentary election. The father of micro-credit, who in an open letter earlier this month sought people’s opinions on his joining politics, said he had finally decided to enter the new realm. Yunus said his party would be formally launched soon. ‘Since my decision to launch a political party is finalised, I will of course contest the polls if everything goes smoothly’ he told New Age on Sunday, adding, ‘There is no question of backing out.’ Yunus, however, said he would have more consultations with the people before the formal launch of the party. ‘The objectives of my organisation will be doing healthy politics keeping away from the path of violence pursued by the country’s [other] political parties… I will do the politics of unity,’ he said. Asked what would be his next step, he said he would write to people again seeking their final endorsement of the principles and objectives of the proposed party. He said he did not invite any one to join his party but would consider it if people from other parties express their willingness to join. About the criticism by major political parties of his decision to venture into politics, Yunus on his return from Chittagong told journalists at the Zia International Airport that they [other parties] would make their comments. ‘I do not deal in words, my business is of work. I will do politics of unity.’ He indicated that his proposed party might field candidates for all 300 constituencies in next parliamentary elections. ‘I think the situation has come to such a pass that there is no scope for backing out,’ Yunus said. About his party-building plan the Nobel laureate said he envisaged organising people from villages and wards by forming 20-member preparatory committees in each unit who would identify themselves as ‘Yunus Samarthak Gosthi or Yunus supporters’ club.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


My personal letter to you

Dear citizen,

I am writing this letter to you with the hope of receiving a personal reply from you. You might have noticed in what situation many people requested me to join politics and why I had to consider it with utmost importance. I, like you, witnessed where our political culture has brought the country and how it attempted to destroy the country's future possibilities. The way the present caretaker government is trying to create an acceptable atmosphere by carrying out necessary reforms has made me optimistic along with all citizens of the country. In this situation, I feel it with my heart that I should, showing due respect to the people's expectation of me, participate in the mission of taking the nation to the height it deserves. It is now clear to all that it is not possible to reach the goal maintaining the existing political culture; it is only possible by bringing a comprehensive change to the culture. Through my work and experience, I feel with all my heart that the people with their innate sense of endeavour and creativity can achieve the impossible if political goodwill, competent leadership and good governance can be established. If I have to form a political party in response to the people's desire, it will be dedicated to this very objective.
I have received pure love and respect from people of all ages ranging from the poorest to the most powerful, I do not know when again a Bangladeshi individual will have this good fortune. By the grace of Allah, I am a very fortunate man. There is nothing left for me to desire. I know that joining politics is to become controversial. I am ready to take the risk if you think me joining politics will help in ushering of a new political climate.
It is high time to form the proper political structure conducive to the huge task of building a Bangladesh we all dream of, by freeing ourselves from all past frustrations. I need the active participation and assistance of you and all others like you if I have to go forward with this mission. I need your advice on how I should go forward. I also want to know how you want to participate and assist in this task. The efforts of you and me to realise everybody's desire for a new politics in order to build a new Bangladesh will get strength if these can be learnt from you in the form of a letter.
You can give your advice in your own style on any topic regarding the formation of a new political party. I can point out some topics as examples: a) how the party can stay involved with the people of all villages and neighbourhoods and work to realise their expectations; b) how the party can be helpful to the common people in their daily struggle and in solving their problems; c) how the organisations of the party can be built on the basis of spontaneous devotion of men and women of all ages and professions; d) what can be done to encourage the eager, enthusiastic, honest and competent people of all levels to align with the party and to become active in it; e) how the honest and competent among them, having public support, can be nominated for different local and national elections; f) how can we ensure transparency and honesty of all the people involved with the party, and of the party itself; g) how democracy can be established within the party; h) how can the flow of opinions directly from the grassroots level be ensured; and i) how the officials and employees serving in state institutions can be prevented from turning into activists of political parties -- your thoughts and advice on many such questions are vital.
At the same time, it is important to know what role you (and your friends) can play in the party, how you can actively contribute or support, is also very important to know. For example, you can play the role: a) of a member of a village or neighbourhood-level organisation; b) of a pioneer of the party's welfare initiatives; c) of a local organiser; d) of an organiser of a community organisation; e) of an activist taking party calls widely among the people; f) of an adviserresearchertheoretician for the party; g) you can contribute to the party by using your special skills or expert knowledge in its service; h) by taking a leadership role in popularising the party as an enthusiastic supporter; i) by demonstrating your organising power; and so on.
I want to know your opinion and get your advice whether you are a political leader, activist, leader or worker of an association or organisation, industrialist, businessman, professor, teacher, shopkeeper, farmer, labourer, artist-writer-thinker, professional, journalist, service holder, housewife, teenager, youth or an expatriate Bangladeshi.
Please write a short or detail personal reply to my letter. Your friends, all members of your family, neighbours, classmates and colleagues can also put in their thoughts in the same letter. You can reply through email and distribute copies of it among all your acquaintances. You can also send a short reply through SMS and encourage all your acquaintances to do the same. You can send copies of my letter to your relatives and friends abroad and encourage them to reply. It will not be possible to come out clean from old politics if a strong momentum for a new politics is not created. We will not be able to reach our goal with feeble support.
I hope my letter and your reply to it will only be the beginning of our sincere communication. The communication established will be able to go forward actively towards a common goal from now on.
You can use my following address to send your reply or may arrange to send it to me in any other way.
Contact Address:
Dr Muhammad Yunus
HAL Mars6/D, 66 Outer Circular Road
Moghbazar, Dhaka 1217
Fax: 9334656
You can call the following numbers for inquiries about the letter:
01713082277, 01717760870
Waiting for your reply.
With thanks and greetings,
Muhammad YunusFebruary 11, 2007(Translated from Bangla by The Daily Star)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Army has no intention to capture power in Bangladesh"

Army has no intention to capture powerArmy chief Lt Gen Moeen also says armed forces not running country, under new situation politicians won't be able to do politics squandering moneyUnb, BandarbanArmy Chief Lt General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday categorically said the military has no intention to capture power or run the government, but they are assisting the caretaker government to put the country back on the right track.
"The army has no intention to take over. We are not even running the government. But we like to see this government successful as we want to put the country on the right track through concerted efforts of all," he said.
General Ahmed reflected some harsh truths about the trend of politics, mindset of politicians and governance while exchanging views with representatives of the civil administration, political party leaders, journalists and representatives of government and non-government agencies at Bandarban Cantonment
The army chief said the nation needs efficient and honest politicians to move forward as "our politicians do not understand anything beyond their self-interest."
He said a new situation has been ushered in now in the country where politicians will not be able to do politics squandering money. Those who could not do politics so long for want of money will now get the opportunity.
Explaining the background of the promulgation of a state of emergency in the country by the president, General Moeen said the past caretaker government had tired to forge consensus between the two parties for holding a credible election. But it failed, as neither of the two was ready to budge an inch, which resulted in deterioration of the situation.
In this context, he recalled the grisly scene on Dhaka streets on October 28 last year when some people trampled to death another man-a scene "never seen anywhere in the world. This brutal scene was not only witnessed by people at home but also abroad and "everyone has hated us".
He noted that unilateral elections (Jan 22) would not have been accepted at home and abroad and all, including army, BDR, police and ansars, would have been blamed for that debacle.
Under the circumstances, the president decided to impose the state of emergency. He also decided to step down from the office of chief adviser and appointed a new chief adviser. He said new advisers were appointed on the criteria of honesty, competence and sincerity.
"Now it needs people's support. This opportunity will not come time and again," the army chief said, adding that it "should not happen so".
General Moeen urged all to come forward to make a fresh start in national life with a clean slate. "Let's cooperate with this government so we can steer the nation forward," he said.
In an apparent emotion-choked voice, the army chief said the country was destroyed in last 35 years. He likened the predicament of the country to a derailed train.
"We need a heavy crane to put the train back on the track--and strength of the people is the crane. Once you can put the train on the track, it will move smoothly," he said in metaphorical terms about the imperative of a rescue operation in such situation.
Citing corruption an example of degeneration of the polity, the general deplored that because of disputes over who will get the "10 percent" kickbacks, a $ 200m machine-readable passport project could not be implemented.
He said government provides subsidy for fertiliser to help the poor farmers, but, unfortunately, those fertilisers were smuggled out of the country by the vested quarters.
Referring to recent incidents of arson in garment factories that earn 70 percent of country's foreign exchange, General Moeen deplored that this export industry was burnt and destroyed in a planned way. "There is politics behind it," he said, adding, "We even do not try to understand our own well-being."
" We have eaten up the vitals of the country over the years, leaving the country like a skeleton."
About national or voter ID card, General Moeen said some intellectuals said that it will require Tk 1000 crore and five years time. But, he said they have made a calculation that suggests that ID card for the voters is possible within 10-12 months at an estimated cost of Tk 300 crore.
Lashing out at massive corruption, the general wondered how the expensive BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford cars could ply the streets in Dhaka when people in America even have to think twice before buying such luxury cars. "Where does the money come from? This is our farmers' money," he said.
Referring to non-payment of electricity bills, he said the rich people and companies whose monthly income is Tk 5 lakh or Tk 10 lakh do not pay the bill. But if any action is taken against the defaulters, they go to court for writs. "If we could not change this situation, our next generation would call us name," he told the meeting.
General Moeen said the present government has separated the judiciary from the executive in seven days and is trying to reform the Election Commission. He said the reforms will be brought in the Election Commission so that corrupt politicians cannot do politics.
Criticising the mindset of the politicians, the general said the time has come to stop the politics capitalising on money. The nation needs a competent political leadership so Bangladesh could achieve development and progress like Malaysia and Singapore.
He told the meeting that 90 per cent people support the present caretaker government and the government should now move the country in right direction with the strength of this support.

We whole heartedly support above statement but keeping the democratics process intact for the future generation.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bravo to the people who have the guts to make it Happen

The suited-booted picture of the corrupt politicians,businessman and political pimps.

Midnight crackdown on 'corrupt' politiciansSQ Chy, Nazmul Huda, Falu, Iqbal Hasan, Saifur's son, Nasim, Salman among the big fish nettedStaff CorrespondentThe joint forces finally made a move against the hitherto untouchable corrupt bigwigs of BNP and Awami League (AL), detaining seven former ministers and several other top politicians of both the parties, the names of which have become synonymous to unbridled corruption over the years.
The high profile detainees include Nazmul Huda, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Mohammad Nasim.
The arrests, which came three weeks into former central bank governor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed led caretaker government's declaration of war against corruptionists and criminal godfathers, were made in the first three hours of yesterday.
Preparations are on to bring graft charges against the detainees, according to sources.
The joint forces also have the names of 41 other top politicians and businessmen on their wanted list and will soon make an announcement for them to surrender, the sources said.
Apart from former communications minister Huda, and former prime minister Khaleda Zia's parliamentary affairs adviser SQ Chowdhury, other detainees from the BNP fold are former state minister for civil aviation Mir Nasir Uddin, former Dhaka-10 lawmaker and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's political secretary Mosaddak Ali Falu, former state minister for power Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, former state minister for labour and employment Amanullah Aman, former deputy minister for land Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, former lawmaker from Khagrachhari Abdul Wadood Bhuiyan, former lawmaker from Sylhet Naser Rahman who is also former finance minister Saifur Rahman's son, and former lawmaker from Comilla Manjurul Ahsan Munshi.
Arrestees from AL are former home minister Mohammad Nasim, Adviser to AL and Beximco Vice-chairman Salman F Rahman, former state minister for planning Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, former member of parliament (MP) Lotus Kamal, and Swechhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Devnath.
The security forces also raided the houses of Ali Asgar Lobi, a former BNP MP, Hasnat Abudullah, former chief whip and cousin of AL President Sheikh Hasina, Jubo League Chairman Jahangir Kabir Nanak, and its Secretary Mirza Azam, but did not find any of them.
The forces seized two firearms and 137 bullets from Ruhul Quddus Talukder's house at Alaipur in Natore town and his village home at Ramsa, Kazipur early yesterday.
None of Jamaat-e-Islami however was arrested during the drive and none of the detainees were produced before the court or handed over to police till filing of this report yesterday evening.
According to well placed sources, the detainees are being interrogated in army custody but details of it could not be learnt immediately and the government did not make any official statement in this regard.
However, advisers to the caretaker government Barrister Mainul Husein and Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin yesterday said the detainees were arrested 'most probably' on charges of corruption.
Although military governments cracked down on politicians in the past, successive political governments miserably failed to rise above narrow party interests, and rather arrested and harassed only rival politicians.
Former military ruler HM Ershad however was punished for corruption and served time in jail, creating the lone exception in the political culture.
Since assuming power on January 12, the seemingly resolute interim government uttered strong words promising curbing of corruption, and depoliticisation of the administration and public institutions.
Saying that pervasive corruption and plundering of national wealth by a handful of dishonest people pushed the national economy, society and politics into a disastrous state, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin said in his January 21 address to the nation that tough actions would be taken soon in a methodical way to curb corruption.
THE DRIVE Although the joint forces detained over 41,000 across the country since the declaration of emergency, top corrupt politicians and businessmen, excepting BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tareque Rahman's business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun, remained untouched until yesterday.
The operation to apprehend the big fishes began after the clock had ticked zero hours. Split in several teams, the joint forces comprising members of the police, armed forces, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), having the power to arrest anyone without a warrant under the rules of emergency, raided the houses of the 'corrupt' top politicians and businessmen.
The combined forces picked up Mohammad Nasim around 1:30am yesterday from his Dhanmondi residence in the capital, his family said.
"Entering our house, the forces asked him (Nasim) to go with them. As I asked why and where they are taking him, they gave no explanation and said they had orders from their bosses," wife of the former home minister told reporters. The forces searched the chest of drawers of Nasim and took away some of his diaries too.
"When I asked, from where we'll get information about him, the officers remained silent for a minute and suggested us to contact the local police station," Nasim's wife added.
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was taken into custody from his Dhanmondi house at about 2:30am. His family moved to another house after his arrest, Salauddin's personal assistant Mujibur Rahman told The Daily Star. "We are totally in the dark about where he is being kept," he said.
The joint forces last night arrested Falu from his house in Old DOHS in the capital.
Sources said the forces picked him up at 10:45pm after he had returned from Biswa Ijtema. Before his arrest, Falu met Khaleda in Hawa Bhaban.
Falu surrendered to the joint forces after calling them asking whether they had been looking for him as they had raided his house the night before. He asked the forces to come and pick him up from his DOHS residence if they wanted to arrest him.
Falu had gone under the shelter of immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia since the start of the current anti-crime drive. The joint forces were in communication with him over the last few days warning him that the consequences would be dire if he did not surrender, which led to his surrender last night.
Falu has amassed a huge amount of wealth during the five years of four-party regime and was also one of the main conspirators behind the scam of siphoning crores of taka from Oriental Bank.
UNB quoted Nazmul Huda's family as saying that the forces picked him up from his Dhanmondi residence at about 1:15am.
Meanwhile, Mohiuddin Alamgir's wife Sitara Alamgir told reporters that the security forces detained her husband at 3:00am.
The joint forces arrested Naser Rahman from his Banani residence in the capital around 1:00am, according to a family source.
Wadood Bhuiyan was picked up from his residence in Khagrachhari hill town in the early hours of yesterday, according to sources.
Pankaj Devnath was picked up around 2:30am from his Dhanmondi flat, according to his family.
After arresting them, the joint forces took them to undisclosed locations for interrogation.
The family of Salman Rahman expressed concern, saying they do not know the whereabouts of Salman.
Meantime, family members of some of the arrested BNP leaders expressed concern about the whereabouts and conditions of the arrestees.
Talking to reporters after their meeting with Khaleda Zia in Hawa Bhaban last night, Humayun Quader Chowdhury, son of SQ Chowdhury, Sabera Aman, wife of Amanullah Aman, Barrister Mir Helal, son of Mir Nasiruddin, Javed Helal Mahmud, son of Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, Rezaul Hasan Munshi, son of Manjurul Ahsan Munshi, and Barrister Nazmul Huda's daughter expressed the concern.
CRACKDOWN TO CONTINUEThe caretaker government will continue the crackdown on corruptionists irrespective of their positions in the society or in political parties, adviser Mainul Husein and MA Matin said yesterday.
"If evidence of corruption are found, the government will not hesitate to take steps against the top politicians," Mainul told reporters yesterday.
"Only proofs of corruption will matter in taking such actions, neither the identities of the persons nor their positions in parties will be considered," said Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Matin adding that actions will be taken even against those at the highest levels in political parties.
Hours into the declaration of the state of emergency, security men arrested former AL lawmaker Kamal Majumder in Dhaka. Among those who were arrested later are Giasuddin Al Mamun, Chittagong BNP leader Dastagir Chowdhury, and Tangail transport leader Murad Siddiqui.
Security men recently also barred Gias Quader Chowdhury, Salman F Rahman, and Tanjim Ahmed Sohel from going abroad.