Published:  12:46 AM, 09 August 2017

We are not amused

The Election Commission operates under its own rules. It does not need any suggestion from any individual on how it should be doing its job. But that truth was somehow lost on the ruling Awami League's Publicity and Publication Affairs Secretary when he stated the other day that if it wished, the EC could cancel the BNP's registration as a political party. Hasan Mahmud described the BNP as an illegal political party since it was brought into being under military rule. Perhaps he would have done better by making a reference to the Jatiya Party too, for the JP too owes its birth to military rulers.

The point today is not that the BNP or any other party is illegal or otherwise. It is something else, which is at a time when the nation is in great need of healing the divisions that undermine its march to the future, when it is trying to go back to the secular principles on which its freedom was based, politicians need to be careful about their pronouncements.

We are not amused and neither is anyone else about the reference to the urine tests of the leaders of the BNP's students' wing by the Awami League leader, who happens to be a former minister as well. By taking the urine tests issue further through suggesting that the leading figures of the BNP should also appear for such tests and that through these tests most of them will be rendered incapable of doing politics, Hasan Mahmud gives us reason for worry.

The remarks are in bad taste and should be taken note of by the senior leadership of the Awami League. Politics is a field where enlightenment is the name of the game. It is a truth everyone in politics, in power or aspiring to it, ought to remember.

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