Bangladesh: Sold to the Lowest Bidder

Bangladesh: Sold to the Lowest Bidder

By Amad Uddin

Muslims of Bangladeshi origin living in the UK have become a settled community and the degree of their attachment to their ethnic motherland varies. Surveying the attitude of first generation Bengali immigrants would reveal that they regard Bangladesh as their real home even though they have been living here in the UK for many years. The people of this generation yearn for their homeland whilst pondering on many fond memories of their birth place. The latter generations, most of who were born in the UK, at best regard Bangladesh as a holiday destination and at worst see Bangladesh as a place of little interest and significance. 

As the new generation become more accustomed to living in the West it is important to remind ourselves that our primary identity - being Muslim - dictates that we should take interest in our Ummah's affairs or at least seek to be aware of the issues it faces. In the case of the Bangladeshi community the latter generation of Muslims need to open their eyes and ears to the country of their parent's birth place which at present is being sold to the lowest bidder. 

Since its independence from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh has projected itself as being a free, independent, and sovereign nation.  But on studying its 40 year history, which has included military rule as well as heralding the Zia and Hasina era, a very different picture emerges with regards to its independence and sovereignty

"Sovereignty ...the belief that states are in every sense quite distinct and separate from one another treating with one another as equals and owing no duty to any outside earthly authority" (Comparative Politics, an Introduction, Peter Calvert)

This question of sovereignty has been a pertinent one ever since the farcical Awami League government came into power in December 2008.  Under the present government Bangladesh has been literally selling of its whole infrastructure, natural resources, and political sovereignty to various countries. It is common sense to assume that a seller would seek to secure the best value when putting a product on sale. Anyone who analyses the activities of the recent government will see an administration that is selling the country off to the lowest bidder, India. The relationship with India of late has come under much scrutiny, far from being a mutual one it is clear to see that India benefits more than Bangladesh. 

Recently India granted a $1bn loan to Bangladesh which will be used by the government for multiple projects. The loan is the largest India has ever given to any country it comes with a 1.75% interest rate over a repayment period of 20 years. The deal will see India construct a $120m railway bridge on river Titas and the set up of a transnational power gridline between Bahrampur (India) and Bheramara (Bangladesh), costing $158, along with many other projects. It's quite clear when it comes to energy infrastructure Bangladesh is pretty much reliant and subservient to Indian interests, the list continues as the Awami League government signed a $1.7bn deal to have India build them two coal plants in the south. Bangladesh has allocated $245 Million from its annual budget for constructing the infrastructure necessary to import 500 MW of electricity from India    

India hasn't stopped there, in order to capitalise on its trade it has funded the construction of trade routes from the ports of Chittagong and Ashuganj. In May 2010 India exported 100,000 tons of rice to Bangladesh even though the country is one of the largest producers of rice in the World, Bangladesh also imports sugar from India. In January during her visit to India the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to the establishment of a railway link between Akhaurah and Agartala which will act as a trade route once again benefitting India. The strong foothold of India is clearer as Indian companies and financial institutions have submitted proposals to the Bangladeshi government amounting to around $1bn.  

The influence of foreign subjects on internal policy is quite established as well, the US has recently commended Bangladesh for its anti-terror initiatives. The Awami League recently played a pivotal role in outlawing Islamic based political parties, many of which have been outspoken on the government's foreign ties, there is no doubt that Indian and western influence has transcended the arena of economy, trade and infrastructure development. Indian security officials have even been training Bangladeshi embassy staff in Kabul.

USA, China, and the World Bank have also been busy in joining this booming bidding process getting contracts for ports, gas, and yes more loans.  From Peter Calvert's definition of sovereignty it is very clear that Bangladesh, far from being free and sovereign, is not on equal terms with its counterparts but rather subservient towards foreign interests. In the case of India it seems as though the New Delhi government has an 'access all areas' pass when it comes to Bangladesh, some may even claim that Bangladesh has become India's 29th state. 

Bangladesh has been a failed state since its inception, it has never been independent, and it has been dictated and controlled by countries like India, China, and the USA.  The time has come for the people of Bangladesh to embrace change and ditch the failed parties, and systems that ruined the country and people for decades.  What Bangladesh needs is a radical new approach.

Bangladesh needs a system where the ruler will be accountable to the Shariah and the Ummah. Under this system the ruler will look after the affairs of the people and natural resources will be used to benefit the state and not sold cheaply to foreign entities or large business. This system of governance will insure that the internal and foreign policy is based on Islam, people of different faiths will have their rights protected and will not be oppressed and victimised. Most importantly sovereignty will belong to the lord of this glorious universe Allah (swt) and not to whims of foreign entities.

Islam has a bought a complete legislative system that determines the relationships of the state with society, a system that provides solutions in ruling, economics, social, educational, domestic, and foreign policy. This system is the Khilafah system.