Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman, and other top officials in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP, বাংলাদেশ জাতীয়তাবাদী দল) were indicted on charges of corruption yesterday, making it even more likely that Bangladesh will not soon end the political crisis that began with January’s elections — a vote boycotted by the BNP and other political parties not supporting Zia’s rival of three decades, Sheikh Hasina.
While there’s plenty of evidence that just about every top figure in Bangladeshi politics is likely guilty of some form of corruption, the timing of the charges is suspicious. There’s nothing inconsistent with the notion that Zia (pictured above) and her allies are culpable for graft and that Hasina’s governing Bangladesh Awami League (বাংলাদেশ আওয়ামী লীগ) is using the countries judicial system to pressure Zia and the BNP. Zia’s supporters are already calling the charges a government conspiracy against her. True or not, the decision will only further divide Zia and Hasina, making it less likely that the two leaders can negotiate a truce, however warily, to end Bangladesh’s political and governance crisis.