Saturday, May 26, 2007

"Phantom of the Opera"

Journalist Julfikar Ali Manik sees a steely resolve behind Bangladesh army chief Moeen U. Ahmed's quiet anonymity to put Bangladesh back on track. "When Bangladesh president Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency and appointed Fakhruddin Ahmed to head the caretaker government in January, his seemingly precipitous actions kicked up a swirl of speculations. Was the military scripting the cataclysmic changes? Or was the upheaval even a prelude to direct army rule? Bangladeshis pondered over these questions, expressed their views in whispers," Julfikar writes in Outlook India." (Read article)
Weeks later, on February 8, that speculative swirl evanesced because of the speech Bangladesh army chief Lt Gen Moeen U. Ahmed delivered at the Bandarban cantonment in the southeastern hills. He confirmed the army's support to the caretaker government. But, he also added, "the army has no intention to take over. We are not even running the government. But we would like to see this government succeed as we want to put the country on the right track through concerted efforts of all". "The general's speech was telecast on most TV channels, providing people a glimpse of the man whose hand now rocks the political cradle of Bangladesh, the swish of whose baton conducts the symphony of tunes emanating from the caretaker government—about eradicating corruption, introducing electoral reforms, punishing those who have looted public money or indulged in terrorism. The immense popular interest in the telecast was as much testimony to the power he wields as to the anonymity he has courted in the nearly two years he has spent as army chief."

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