Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bangladesh Voter List : Make the Army useful

Bangladesh politics has again dived in uncertainty as the 14-party alliance has refused to hand in their nominations without the correction of voter list. I have never been an ardent supporter of Awami League lead 14-party alliance. But I agree with them on this issue. Reason being, for the first time in my lifetime I have seen Awami League coming up with a constructive idea which they are not following up with street violence and hortals (strike).

The voter list of Bangladesh is largely inaccurate. It has been inaccurate since the inception of the country. The country doesn’t have an ID card system like Pakistan or India. Bangladeshi citizens aren’t issued with social security numbers either. So it’s really hard to keep count of the actual population. Moreover, 60% of the population are illiterate, which doesn’t help when it comes to census. Most of the population don’t even understand the need of a census. Some of the rural areas are always left untouched during the census.

I have never been a voter in Bangladesh; I was nearly 20 when I left Bangladesh. I know that my father never went to vote, in fact, I don’t remember anyone voting from my family or my friends from school and college.

According to the election observers, there are more than 10 million fake voters in the voter list. This information was supported by the local print and electronic media. I could see on the TV how the frustrated people on their TV interview expressing their concern after not finding their name on the voter list.

The 14-party alliance are demanding the poll reform by the correcting the voter list. The President and the Chief Adviser Prof. Iazuddin Ahmed is as confused as ever. He can’t decide whether to listen to BNP (his employer!!) or to apply some common sense and go for correcting the voter list. The election commission in Bangladesh is supposed to be independent. But this independence is ceremonial as I understand, as government seldom intervene the decision of the election commission. I think if the chief adviser wants to correct the voter list, there is still time to do it. I think this time it should be the members of Bangladesh Army who should be engaged in creating the voter list instead of the school teachers. School teachers often get influenced by the various party members when they prepare the voter list. This problem shouldn’t happen to the members of the army. Bangladesh Army is really professional and they are appreciated by the people worldwide. Bangladesh Army is the biggest contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions worldwide. If the members of the Bangladesh Army can help to bring peace worldwide, why can’t they help bringing peace in their own country?

I know some people would say that, the army shouldn’t be involved in civilian administrative activities like creating a voter list, I totally agree with them. Then again, extreme situation demands extreme measures. If we can’t use the army now, then when can we? We do not need an army to fight India; we have no chance of winning a war with India. Only reason we should have an army is to keep the stability of our country, and I think the stability of the country is at stake at the moment. Moreover it’s the most cost effective option too; the election commission won’t have to pay a single penny to the involved army personnel as opposed to the school teachers who are paid a considerable amount of money from the election budget.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree--the army is collecting salary any way; lets use them for collecting the Voter list data, and while we are at it, lets create a good, secure ID as well.