COMMENTARY: What next after health sector, police debacle?
August 13th, 2020 at 9:51 pm
COMMENTARY: What next after health sector, police debacle?

by Nadeem Qadir;

This piece is being written amid worries that all the good work Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has and is doing for us, the Bangladeshis, is being overshadowed by culprits as the international media naturally picks up these news as negative reports sell.

Thus the question, I fear with the rest of the country men, is that after the debacles in the health sector and the police which will be the next one. I pray no more.

I remember once upon a time how immigration officers in the western world look at us seeing our green Bangladesh passport because we were Henry Kissinger’s “bottomless basket,” but that changed with some good welcoming words over the past years.

Why? It is because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina changed the fate of her people and image of the country abroad, besides now she is treated a leader to reckon with due to where she has taken Bangladesh now in many fronts beating neighbouring giant India.

The health sector has been a disaster and it means the man in charge has failed, yes failed terribly and everybody thought he would bow out by apologising to the premier as well as the nation. It has not yet happened. But, everyone at least I know feels he should be shown the door and replaced by a good and honest manager.

One businessman shared his experience at a gathering of friends how a face mask worth 30 Taka and could be sold at 50 Taka for a good profit, but was told by an official to hike the price to 160 Taka while submitting papers at the health ministry. Which meant 60 Taka for each mask went to the officials’ pocket and think the number to be imported has been huge. Several crores taka in personal account in one stroke, yet these men need more making corruption rampant.

Police have come under criticism, but the sensational case of killing retired army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed exposed the extremes of graft and highhandedness of this security force meant to protect the country’s people.

The nation was in a shock when brutal killing of Sinha by police came to light. How can a police station chief (OC) has so much guts that he has been killing or threatening people of “cross fire” to get what he wanted? It is the impunity some policemen with the blessings of some high ups otherwise such trigger happy men could not continue committing crimes in uniform.

A factual and transparent probe into Sinha killing is expected to bring to light wrongdoings by some policemen.

Thus one worry which government organisation or ministry will be next and thus detectives from the police and the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) must be assigned immediately to plug any hole found before further embarrassment is caused to the government in power and Bangladesh in general. Prevention is better than cure.

More importantly those found guilty in any government organ must be given exemplary punishment, but not just transfers or making one an Officer on Special Duty (OSD). As eminent writer and journalist Afsan Chowdhury said in a Facebook post that such minimal punishments only allow corrupt practices to remain alive and moves to a new destination with the person in question.

Sacking them permanently and other punishments that would put them in shame can be one way of dealing with such people. This would also allow capable ones to move up the ladder and help fix bad practices.

Bangladesh bails
Nadeem Qadir award-winning senior Bangladeshi journalist and writer