Published:  12:00 AM, 10 December 2015

Terrorism and politics: State of security in Bangladesh

Terrorism and politics: State of  security in Bangladesh
These days when we talk about security, the first thing that comes into mind is the prevalence of terrorism in any country or region, although security sounds nothing more than a mere phenomenon.  But there is no denying that terrorism poses threat to security which endangers the lives of common people. The prime reason for that is, terrorists in most of the times don't follow the long developed conventions of the formal nature of conflicts e.g. war, insurgency etc and often target the innocent commons.
Therefore, it becomes ethically binding for all lawful entities both national and international to fight or prevent terrorism and there sources in whatever way they can either physically ( e.g. cooperating with the law enforcers at grass-root level etc) or ideologically. Instead, we see this perilous issue is drawn into political power struggle endangering state stability to a great extent. We have seen what sectarian terrorism has done to erstwhile stable countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria. Even Pakistan and Afghanistan were also relatively stable at times when the spectacle of terrorism didn't deteriorate as worse as now. It was expected that sensible lawful political forces together would keep terrorists completely out of everyday politics and cooperate with each other to eliminate them from the society. In Bangladesh, we have been able to keep terrorism at a minimum level despite the chances for extensive growth of its.
Yet, incidents that have taken place recently like the killing of Italian and Japanese gentlemen here in Bangladesh, not only create a temporal vulnerability of foreigners to the attacks of terrorism, but also cast a suspicion about its possible political link given the unique timings of their occurrence. Right before, the Australian cricket authority declared that their team was not coming to Bangladesh in response to their pre-scheduled tour which exposed the worsening security situation in Bangladesh to international media. This certainly will bring some adverse ramifications in the case of diplomatic and foreign investment for Bangladesh.
The present govt., with its overt commitment and fairly good record of taking measures against any form of terrorism, will probably do its part to restore the situation as much as it can. And the public will surely support the government in this regard to restrain such perilous practice in Bangladesh; yet some damage has already been done by the incidents regarding foreigners' safety and general security in Bangladesh.  
In politics 'blame game' practice is a matter of real worry. It seems in some cases that priority of our politicians isn't stabilizing the situation and bringing the real culprits to justice.
Also it was imprudent on part of the Australians to cancel the cricket tour. The cancellation would simply send the signal to the terrorist that their tactic works and might encourage them to replicate it. Fight against terrorism is supposed to be a global endeavor where all sensible dispensations would co-operate with each other. Australian behavior was in contrary to this convention. Bangladesh had enough capacity to provide full proof security to few cricket venues and routes. Moreover a certain chance of terrorism to happen prevails almost everywhere in the world.  While Australians had been scraping the Bangladesh tour in fear of terrorism, ironically their own security agencies could not prevent a terrorist attack near a police station in Australia itself. The liberal world needs to deal with that and try to improve things collectively. All national and international stake-holders ought to understand that just two incidents aren't the end of hope for a country of over 160 million people.
Coming back to home front, we need a wider political consensus so that our political parties keep terrorism and terrorism linked matters completely out of every day politics and take a united stand against all forms of terrorism. 'Terrorism' is a potential  evil , especially in a Muslim majority society, that can essentially destroy a state. Especially terrorism linked to Islamic radicalism wouldn't spare any liberal, semi-liberal, leftist , centrist and even center-right. It's a crazy monster which while on a roll would smash anything and everything logical and rational and create a realm of utter fear and tyranny e.g. Al Baghdadis or Mollah Omar's so called caliphate . We don't want our beloved motherland to become a sectarian or monarchical theocracy, a highly restricted illiberal societies,  like Iran or Saudi Arabia either. These possibilities are in stark contrast to our progressive national aspiration epitomized in the spirit of the liberation war of Bangladesh, a revolutionary even that has defined our identity, values and entity.
Therefore, it's really worrying when political bickering begins following terrorist incidents and divides us instead of uniting. Politicians instead of jumping into instant conclusion and mud slugging , should allow the law enforcing and intelligence agencies to hunt down the real culprits and bring them to quick exemplary justice through our judicial system to send a chilling signal along the spine of the potential followers that if they dare misstep they will face the inevitable. All law bidding citizens and organization, be it political or non-political,  should also cooperate in law enforcer's effort to crack down the hubs, supply line and funding of the radicals / terrorists. It's also the responsibility of civil society and media to create a public opinion momentum against such despicable terrorist acts and highlight the grave peril of its diffusion in a society.   
Unfortunately, few more major and minor international stake-holders are also over reacting to these recent incidents in Bangladesh, which is not helping the situation at all. Whenever anything of terrorist nature happens in any corner of the vast Islamic world some people tend to find a link of that to a current international terrorist group be it Al Qaida or ISIS.  There are some analytical nuances that is required to be taken into account while analyzing a terror threat or situation. We need to understand that radicals and terrorists have a plethora of groupings and sub- ideologies. Different groups operate at different spheres related to their interests. Sometimes they draw inspiration from common selected quotes of the scripture or ideologues , but they are not always necessarily linked to each other physically. Many are just local religious radicals/ terrorists with immediate local ambition. Again, when a terrorist attack happens some small or splinter terrorist groups falsely claim responsibility to have a publicity of their own. Therefore drawing a conclusion just on the basis of one or two unanimous claims doesn't seem to be a wise thing to do, which unfortunately some western sources seem to be doing. There is already a suspicion that it might have something to do with the geo-politics. If that is true , that would be a bad thing and undermine the collective anti-terrorist efforts in the region.
In the end , all must realize that in the reality of global connectivity the global peril called 'Terrorism' has to be confronted at every level by a grand alliance of sensible and with more cooperation and synchronization. That's the only way we can save the modern free world that we knowingly or unknowingly love so dearly.
The writer is a political and IR analyst and a contributor to
newspapers in Bangladesh and abroad

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