Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do I stand behind the CTG? -part II

I think some are missing the point of the emergency. It is NOT to disrupt lives of the innocent. It is to bring order to a political climate that was out of bounds in the late part of last year.

In the initial stages at times the Emergency Powers were used a bit indiscriminately. However as time passed and rule of law established itself then the unintended damage it might have caused have come down. Due process that we were shouting about in the early months of this regime is something that is now being adhered to.

Again I am not saying whatever the CTG government is doing is the best, but it is making an honest, sincere and well-intentioned effort to make amends for the past mistakes.

The two examples that Nazzina has brought up are good. [ Pls refer comments of the post Do I Stand Behing the CTG?] Because in case of Mr. Richil an investigation has been put together. I believe his body was exhumed for another autopsy. Those responsible for this gruesome incidence will be bought to justice.

In case of Tasneem, the authorities maintain that he was NOT detained for his journalistic work, but rather because of receiving huge amounts of unexplained overseas funds. According to published transcripts it appears that he was planning to use that money to fund anti-state activity. Now I am not saying it is true or not. Tasneem never cleared it to me. [Incidentally I have tried to contact Tasneem many a times. I have left messages, sent sms and emails. I have been in direct contact with his father who is worried about his son’s welfare. Tasneem has decided to remain incommunicado. Hence the disclaimer and the benefit of the doubt rather than a full frontal attack on reported transcripts.]

As some of you know, public perception in Bangladesh is often tracked through opinion polls. Our studies have shown very high approval ratings for the CTG. Which brings me to Tanvir’s point. You are right CTG does not have an election that it needs to win. But to ensure that the reforms brought in are successful in the long run, it still needs to win the hearts and minds. For that they need to ensure that the citizens of our nation are fully behind the decisions taken. In my mind one of the shortcomings of the CTG has been to clarify the reasons for decisions they are taking.

Of course not having an election to be answerable to also allows the CTG not to be a populist government (as opposed to a popular government.) Some hard but necessary decisions can be taken and implemented. Take for example the Chittagong Port. Years of corruption and misuse have been reversed in matter of weeks. Productivity of the Port are at all time high and decisions are being made on the future of our export gateway.

I think it is a misunderstanding that we believe that arrests will be made if everyone of us speak out. That is not true. Bangladesh enjoys a high level of press freedom. I am at times amazed by the harshness of a lot of reports I read in many papers or hear on TV. Till date no one has been arrested for an opinion they have had. As explained in the Tasneem’s incidence, it is for his other alleged activities that he was questioned. Not because he had an opinion about the CTG.

In absence of any political opposition, it is journalist and blogger like us who can constructively critique the government. This will help them to moderate their actions and benefit from the collective wisdom of this nation’s quite capable human resources.

Supporting any government cannot be done blindly. Neither can opposing it. Decisions need to judged on merit of that particular case. Many progress have been made and many more remain. Some have gone to our liking, some have not. But at the end of the day we have a CTG that is dedicated in its effort to bring order and prosperity to our nation. And till that remains their objective, they have my full support. And I hope the support of every citizen who wants the same.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Do I stand behind the CTG?

A reader of my blog recently asked me

So you basically you stand behind each and every wrong doings this government is doing?

I think this needs a proper answer instead of being hidden in the comments section. So here goes:

Do I agree with each and everything my parents do? Or for that matter my sister? Or my wife? Or my friends? No! Do I stand behind them and support them whole-heartedly. Yes. Do I wish for their success? Do I hurt at their failure? Do I give them advice or a shoulder to cry on? Do we promise time and time again to hold hands and do the best we can? Yes, yes, YES!!

Do I agree with “each and everything” the CTG does? Of course not. They are making mistakes. Some silly, some serious, some willing and most unwillingly. But are they on the right track? Most definitely. Are they better than the alternative? (though it is setting the bar very low) Does anyone have any doubts?

Given our circumstances now, I think the CTG is doing its part in bringing order where there was chaos, in bringing peace were there was confrontation, in bringing patriotism where there was individual thievery, and in bringing hope where there was despair. At times they are succeeding. At places they will stumble. It is a lot of ill, a lot of dirt, a lot of filth that one needs to clean up. For every 10 task they undertake, maybe they will not get a few right. But as God is my witness I am so happy that they are doing what they are doing rather than the nightmare that waited us a few months back.

But it is not their task alone. Each one of us has to ask what part we can play in the effort. It is easy to criticise but when it comes to doing, it is a different ball game. Are we all ready to play? To paraphrase JFK “Ask not what the CTG can do for the country but ask what you can do for the country.”

Mahi B. Chowdhury's Stand

This morning Mahi B. Chowdhury resigned from his post at the Orgainsing Secretary of LDP as well as his Presidium post. His stated reason was that he was not elected to those posts. And if reform is to happen, and LDP or he is to talk about it, how would it look if they did not lead through example.

And it is a great example Mahi is putting out. I believe such a pro-active step is a sign of what the younger generation can bring to the table. I am at this intant not getting into Mahi's or LDP's politics (or their agendas). But what it shows is the willingness to reform. The willingness to accept the responsibility of making a mistake in the past and setting the agenda for the future. I do hope others will lead by his example.

Best of luck to Mahi B. I hope this is a sign of him maturing into a great leader.

Update: Mahi B. Choudhury launches a "platform" titled The Reformists. I belive it is not a political party but rather a "movement" to generate reform within politics itself. I look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeves.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mastery of Self: A playshop that will change your life

As some may know our company Nazimcorp Resource Gateway is involved in bringing various human resource and self development training / programs to corporates in Bangladesh. Amongst the most popular is the Mastery of Self playshop conducted by Ranjan D'Silva. It uses NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to help oneself overcome obstacles in life and achieve - for want of a better word - enlightenment. Sort of finding ways to "re-wire" yourself to help you set and achieve goals. I personally have done this course not once but twice and believe it is really an effective program. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to all.

Due to popular demand we have organised a public playshop (as opposed to only restricted to one company!) to be held in Dhaka over two weekends (June 9th-10th & again continued 16th-17th). It will be held at the Lakeshore Hotel and seats are limited. So I hope you take up the opportunity to take part in this fabulous playshop.

You could visit the site www.nazimcorp.com/masteryofself for more details

Trust me, it will change your life.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The World Islamic Economic Forum

Every time I mentioned that I was attending the 3rd World Islamic Economic Forum’s Conference, I noticed a perplexed face staring back at me. What in the world am I doing at an “Islamic” Forum?! True, I am not a your typical Islamophile – if there is a word like that! But hey I’m a true blue economist, ain’t I? (Thank God my Economics teachers don’t read this blog!)

When I first read about this Forum I was very intrigued. What was it trying achieve? Figure out the Islamic side of Economics? Or maybe teach economics to the Islamic states? Or maybe even Islam to the Economists. To my amazement, after three days in Kuala Lumpur, I figured out it was all this and much more.

Formed as an offshoot of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), the WIFE basically has the mandate to encourage trade between Islamic Ummah to benefit the member nations and at the same time find ways to lessen the dependence of the usual trading partners from the “developed” world (OECD countries).

The big picture is very interesting. For example OIC nations have 21% of the World’s population but only 5% of the global GDP. The Muslim countries give to the world 70% of its energy requirement and 40% of its raw material. Trade between OIC nations are less than 15% of their total trade compared to 70% of intra-EU trade.

The income disparity of this group is something that is very interesting as well. At one end there are rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and on the other Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and of course my favourite Bangladesh. Some middle income countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and India (given their Muslim population makes them the third largest “Islamic” country) are doing well but still a long way to go.

These rich nations sit on trillions of dollars of petro-dollars that don’t often find useful venues of investment. The poor countries have millions of human resources that don’t have the opportunity or capital to be made productive. It doesn’t take an economist to see that by matching the two will lead increased prosperity for both.

Though trade; exchange of ideas; appreciation of each other’s needs; improvements of education; and flow of capital and labour the Muslim Ummah can achieve greater wealth and affluence for all its citizens. In a nutshell that my friend, is the basic lesson from the conference.

I hope in the near future elaborate of a few of the points that rose during the WIEF.