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.