THE UNFULFILLED PROMISE OF A LIBERAL DEMOCRACY: THE CASE OF BANGLADESH

When Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation on December 16, 1971, the founding fathers sought to establish a liberal democracy that would uphold the rule of law and the fundamental human rights of individuals. However, this paper will demonstrate that after almost 50 years of independence, the promise of a liberal democracy has remained elusive in Bangladesh. The current government of the Bangladesh Awami League has resorted to one draconian measure after another to suppress any threat to its aspiration of perpetuating power, as is evident from the fact that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not shied away from resorting to: a) the draconian Digital Security Act, 2018 for persecuting critics of its mismanaged response to the pandemic; and b) heinous tools, such as extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance, to put down adversaries. Thus, this paper will put forward recommendations for ensuring the realisation of the elusive promise on which the nation was founded.