Foreign Policy Blogs

Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce Stands Against Rightist Party Protests

The Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce stood out against the Islami Oikya Jote’s calls for a nationwide protest and strike.  A hard rightist party associated with the opposition BNP, the IOJ had called for a widespread “hartal” to protest a national women’s development policy it claimed countervailed accepted dogma in teh Koran.

The policy issue at question is a move to incorporate equal rights for women in nearly every sector of the economy and wider society.  The cabinet approved the move in early March–a campaign promise fulfilled, real results delivered.  According to The Daily Star the Chamber of Commerce released a statement which denounced the call for strikes and announced that “calling hartal on the issue is illogical as there’s nothing fishy in it, and the government’s explanation has been accepted by all.”

This is the business community standing up for pragmatic policy moves and against intolerance suited up in political camouflage.  This is a welcome turn, a sure sign of growing political economic maturity that seems to complement the Awami League’s skilled ability to invite international interest and investment into Bangladeshi soil.   Not surprisingly the BNP has yet to announce whether it supports the IOJ’s call for strikes. Nevertheless a BNP spokesperson wondered out loud whether, indeed, some elements of the women’s development policy might not stand against the Koran.

This is opportunism at its best and most insincere



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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