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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina may face serious challenges in 2024

Sheikh Hasina, the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, has been in power since 2009, and under her leadership, Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in various fields, such as economic growth, infrastructure development, and social development. However, as the country heads towards the 2024 general elections, Sheikh Hasina faces several challenges, which needs to be addressed forthwith. Otherwise, that could result in catastrophic results for Bangladesh.

Under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh has achieved impressive economic growth, with an average annual growth rate of 6.8 percent between 2011 and 2019. The country has also made significant progress in reducing poverty and improving access to education and healthcare. In addition, Sheikh Hasina’s government has invested heavily in infrastructure development, including the construction of new highways, bridges, and power plants.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made significant progress in empowering women and promoting gender equality in Bangladesh. She has introduced various policies and initiatives aimed at promoting women’s education, health, and economic participation. The country has also made significant progress in reducing child marriage, domestic violence, and discrimination against women.

Sheikh Hasina’s government has made significant progress in strengthening democracy and promoting human rights in Bangladesh. The government has taken steps to improve media freedom, promote freedom of speech and assembly, and strengthen the independence of the judiciary. Although there is criticism about the Digital Security Act (DSA), which is seen as a notorious tool for gauging freedom of press and expression. Taking undue advantage of this controversial law, plenty of individuals, including cohorts of militancy and religious bigots are targeting journalists and continuing to harass them, while in some cases, members of law enforcement agencies also play notorious roles in collaborating with those individuals in their vicious vendetta against journalists. Most importantly, when a journalist falls victim to the Digital Security Act, there are merely any initiatives from the state machinery in saving the journalist from undue harassment.

Despite tremendous achievements, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina faces several challenges as she heads towards the 2024 general elections. One of the most significant challenges is the issue of corruption. Bangladesh has long been plagued by corruption, and despite the government’s efforts to tackle the problem, it remains a significant issue. Critics of Sheikh Hasina’s government argue that corruption has increased during the past decade where government has failed to take decisive action against corrupt individuals.

Another challenge for Sheikh Hasina is the issue of religious extremism. Bangladesh has experienced a rise in religious extremism in recent years, with a number of violent attacks carried out by Islamist groups and religious bigots. Critics argue that Sheikh Hasina’s government has not done enough to address this issue, and that her government’s focus on security measures has not been effective in preventing attacks.

Back in December 2021, the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on several officers of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite force of Bangladesh Police on allegations of human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture. This sanction although was a result of frantic lobbyist efforts of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ideological ally Jamaat-e-Islami, unfortunately, nothing was done to counter such bids of BNP and Jamaat. In my opinion, if Bangladesh government would take appropriate measures in countering propaganda of the BNP and Jamaat, Dhaka could easily avoid the 2021 sanctions.

According to analysts, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina faces the challenge of maintaining her political dominance in the face of a resurgent opposition. The opposition has been weakened in recent years, with many of its leaders facing imprisonment or exile. However, there are signs that with active support from the Biden administration and several key figures of the Democratic Party, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, the opposition in Bangladesh is regaining strength, and some analysts predict that the 2024 general elections could be more closely contested than previous elections.

Sheikh Hasina has achieved significant progress in various fields during her tenure as Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Her government has made significant progress in economic growth, infrastructure development, social development, and human rights. However, she faces several challenges as she heads towards the 2024 general elections, including corruption, religious extremism, human rights, and a resurgent opposition. It remains to be seen how Sheikh Hasina and her government will address these challenges and maintain their political dominance in the months to come.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Weekly Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib


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