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Milam apprehends dangers in anti-corruption drive in Bangladesh


The former US ambassador to Bangladesh Wiliam B Milam while calling the present anti corruption drive as some sort of experiment has apprehended three types of danger. In an article written in the Daily Times of Pakistan Milam says the danger here is threefold. First, can the anti-corruption and the prosecuting agencies of this government put together cases that will hold up in court, and will the government be able to get a core of cases decided by these courts in the 18 months that remains to it?

Second, will the high courts uphold lower court verdicts? Here the problem is that a number of the higher judiciary are political appointees of the previous regimes and likely to rule as the party leaders want. There is also the danger that high-powered and high-priced lawyers, of which there are many in Bangladesh, who specialize in high court cases will be lured by large sums offered by the accused (who will still have very deep pockets) and be able to overwhelm the low-paid, inexperienced lawyers the state can afford.

Third, will the elected political parties, when civilians come back to power, try to unwind the anti-corruption program and free their arrested or convicted colleagues? In fact, will they try to undo the whole democratization effort? If they do, it might provoke, given the current feeling as I understand it among the mid- and junior-level officers, the danger of a less benign and much longer military intervention.

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