Analysts have commented that violence and misinformation or rumors are the two main obstacles in the path of economic development under the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In a webinar titled ‘Violence and Misinformation: Impediments to Economic Prosperity in Bangladesh’, they felt that international allies should stand by Bangladesh in dealing with this crisis. They credited the continuity of the government for 15 consecutive years, citing the progress of Bangladesh, especially large infrastructural developments (mega projects) like Padma Bridge, Karnaphuli Tunnel and Metrorail.
Councilman, freedom fighter and writer presided over the webinar. Nurun Nabi. Professor Abdur Chowdhury, Professor ABM Nasir, security analyst Chris Blackburn, political analyst Seth Oldmixon and senior researcher Dr. Mazharul Islam Rana.
Speakers noted Bangladesh’s significant progress in expanding the social safety net by providing social services including stipends to freedom fighters, the elderly and the disabled to lift millions of people out of poverty. Besides, they also claimed that Bangladesh can achieve more progress if the opposition party led by Jamaat-BNP does not create anarchy and violence.
In the discussion, Professor Abdur Chowdhury said, ‘Goldman Sachs and Chase’ has identified Bangladesh as one of the five emerging economies in the world. It is an amazing progress from a war-torn country in 1971 to this stage. Bangladesh is on track to become an upper middle income country by 2031. Bangladesh is working with skilled labor force from its vast human resources.’ He advocated economic and political stability in Bangladesh, especially foreign investment in continuous and diversified sectors.
Chris Blackburn quoting a recent poll by the International Republican Institute (IRI) said, “Despite all the current economic issues, Sheikh Hasina has a 70 percent approval rating. Recently the French President said – France will support the third continuation in Bangladesh because of Bangladesh’s continued support in the strong fight against religious fundamentalism.
Blackburn noted that the Jamaat-BNP-led monopoly of disinformation affects the economy of Bangladesh, so both European and American partners should come forward to combat the spread of misinformation against Bangladesh.
Dr. Mazharul Islam said, ‘The anti-independence forces have continuously spread misinformation, false information and created a conspiracy to kill Bangabandhu and the same anti-independence forces are active today under the guidance of the fugitive BNP leader Tarek Zia, the fugitive accused in the Bangabandhu murder case and Jamaat-e-Islami. They spread misinformation about visa bans, upcoming elections, and recent threats from the US State Department about persecution of minorities.’
About the role of the US embassy, he said, ‘The embassy should be involved with all political parties. Jamaat is a complex and difficult issue, they are not considered as a political party. BNP’s relationship with Jamaat has put the United States in a difficult position. But if the BNP-Jamaat comes to power in Bangladesh, the US will have to maintain relations with that government. Balancing the different political parties of Ambassador Peter Haas is a very difficult task.’