By Mehran Shamit
TORONTO, Canada – A recent visit back to Bangladesh after almost five years left me shocked by the huge changes my country had been through.
Over the last five years, many things did develop, but for ordinary Bangladeshis, life is worse than before.
In a country of more than 164 million, about 80 percent of the population is still in poverty. Corrupt governments holding power fail to implement policies that adequately help and support people to improve their situations.
Instead, the current government supports and encourages consumerism and capitalist ideals by allowing international companies to use Bangladeshi workers, including children, as cheap labour.
There is a tremendous gap between the rich and poor that’s growing as a result.
The government neglected Bangladeshis in the past and this time they denied the existence of 14 million Bangladeshis living in the country.
According to in 2010. But in its 2011 census, the government claimed to have about 150 million, which really means that it would rather hide the existence of some of the population rather than announce a number that more decently matches the international figure.
Dhaka, the capital city, is being more developed than any other city in Bangladesh and it’s attracting more people to come from smaller cities and rural areas, making the city overpopulated.
Dhaka has more opportunities and jobs and it also has English medium schools and better doctors and hospitals. It’s the main city where international companies and organizations and big Bangladeshi businesses and industries are all located.
Nearly all private universities in Bangladesh are also based in Dhaka, causing more people to come and live there.
|United States State Department map|
Driving somewhere 10 minutes away takes at least an hour because of the amount of traffic. There are also lots of power outages and it’s horrible because of the extremely hot weather.
Bangladesh is becoming very unsafe for people. Everyday more and more people are being killed and the government is doing very little to bring justice.
In a recent incident, a three-year-old girl named Nuha was shot and killed by robbers when she was traveling with her parents to Cox’s Bazar from Dhaka. A gang stopped their car at night near Khutkhali in Cox’s Bazar, but when their car started driving away, they fired from the back and a bullet struck Nuha’s head, killing her.
If the government fails to provide security in one of Bangladesh’s most famous and expensive tourist spots, then what kind of security do ordinary Bangladeshis have?
Instead of dealing with issues like these, the government is too busy encouraging police brutality and finding ways to stop opposition political parties from protesting their failures.
When the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and its allies called for a peaceful 48-hour general strike or hartal across the country, the police purposely stopped their protests, causing many clashes.
The police brutally attacked BNP’s Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farooque, who is also a member of parliament. They attacked him with batons, injuring him and cracking his head. Many other opposition MPs were also attacked.
When MPs are attacked this way by police, the security of ordinary Bangladeshis come into question and it shows the lack of law and order implemented by the government.
The police are government workers and they are the real examples of how brutal and unfit the government is to run the country.
In another recent incident, Supreme Court lawyer MU Ahmed was arrested and suffered a heart attack in police custody after he was tortured and died 16 days later. I can only imagine what sort of torture a person has to face to have a heart attack.
If this is how a Supreme Court lawyer is treated, then how are the lives of ordinary Bangladeshis safe in the hands of the police?
Even with a cruel and immoral government like this, Bangladeshis have the strength to never stop hoping for a better and more prosperous Bangladesh.
I really hope one day that does become the reality for my country.