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Is Bangladesh moving towards one-party state? The controversial jailing of ex-PM Zia and persecution of dissent raises fears months ahead of general elections.
Fear of a repeat, when the parliamentary elections were boycotted by almost all the opposition parties and marred by large-scale violence and killings, runs high in Bangladesh as the ruling Awami League AL government faces allegations of a concerted persecution of its opponents.
Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh are due by December. It's a government and a political party which believe that they are not accountable to anyone. It's a dangerous sign in a democracy.
Asif Nazrul, Professor Dhaka University Nadia Tabassum Khan, an employee of a multinational company in Dhaka, told Al Jazeera that the Awami League has suppressed all dissent to such an extent that she doesn't think "anyone would dare to protest against them".
Hasan Habib is the owner of a real estate company based in Dhaka. He says "the enmities between the two leading political parties" have made the voting process "a nearly impossible task". Nearly a month later Zia was granted bail.
However, the country's Supreme Court stayed the bail within a week "without assigning any reason", effectively putting the year-old leader in jail till May 8, when the next hearing on her bail application is expected to be held.
The arrest and subsequent imprisonment of the former prime minister, which Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party BNP called the Hasina government's conspiracy to keep the opposition party out of politics, led to widespread violence in cities across Bangladesh, with BNP supporters clashing with police and ruling party members.
Police records say nearly leaders and supporters of the BNP were arrested on the day of Zia's Hr report of multinational company in bangladesh. Since February this year, over 3, members of the opposition party have been put behind bars. Hasina and Zia - both women are related to former Bangladesh leaders - have dominated the country's politics for more than two decades.
In fact, the bitter rivalry between the country's most powerful "begums" has pushed Bangladesh in the grip of violence and unrest for years. The BNP alleges that over of its supporters have been killed and nearly "abducted" by the police and thrown in various jails since The party claims around more of its missing workers have either been killed in extrajudicial encounters or have been forced to disappear.
The main opposition party says it has not yet decided on a plan of action following the Zia verdict. The party has largely resorted to non-violent protests against the crackdown on it.
However, as permissions for political rallies are denied, many in the BNP are losing patience with the strategy of holding peaceful protests. The spectre of large-scale violence now threatens to destabilise the parliamentary elections in the country scheduled to be held in December this year.
Last week, German think-tank Bertelsmann Foundation released a report that said the country is now under an autocratic rule. Listing 13 countries "where the political situation has become significantly worse", the report said in five of these countries, namely Bangladesh, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda, "democracy has been gradually undermined for years" and that they no longer meet its minimum standards.
Scepticism over elections Political commentators in and outside Bangladesh concur with such a damning reading of the Hasina government, especially in the context of the state conducting free and fair elections.
InHasina had returned to power for a second consecutive term through a controversial and bloody national election, which was boycotted by the centre-right BNP.
In her year tenure as the prime minister of Bangladesh, Hasina has been accused of using the state's law enforcement apparatus as well as the judiciary to suppress the voice of the opposition. Rights groups, both local and international, have reported a deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh in recent years.
Bangladesh rights group Ain o Salish Kendra ASK says as many as people have allegedly fallen victim to enforced disappearances since while over people are still missing. On March 13 this year, Jakir Hossain, a leader of Chatra Dal, which is the BNP's student wing, died in police custody after he was allegedly tortured by the police.
A Human Rights Watch HRW report last year said the Bangladesh government had secretly arrested hundreds of people, mostly activists and political figures, opposed to the Hasina government. Complete freedom, claims government The Awami League government, however, dismissed the allegations.
When Al Jazeera asked Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu about the political persecution as alleged by the BNP, he said the opposition party enjoys "complete freedom" in its exercise of the democratic rights.
When reminded of the controversial national election, which the BNP had boycotted and which has renewed fears of a similar undermining of the electoral process in Bangladesh, Inu said; "The election was held as per the constitution.
The BNP's decision of boycotting it was a political decision and they now realise it was a wrong decision on their part.
He said he was eager to know what data Bertelsmann Stiftung had looked at. Senior Awami League leader Faruq Khan told Al Jazeera the rights groups' accusation of human rights violation in Bangladesh is not true.Swisscontact Bangladesh Job Circular has been found on my website BD Jobs Careers- benjaminpohle.com for the user information, Swisscontact is the business-oriented independent foundation for international development cooperation.
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Dhaka, Bangladesh - The controversial jailing of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the state persecution of dissent have raised fears that the next parliamentary election could turn. Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading telecom company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa.
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