27 January, 2021

Gene-Clad Aura

The new power centre is—no surprise—the PM's son

Altaf Hossain/Maatrik
Gene-Clad Aura
It’s a typical subcontinental malaise—of rulers’ children and relatives wielding tremendous clout, even emerging in some cases as de facto rulers. It happened in India, it happened in Pakistan and it is happening again in Bangladesh. Meet Tarek Rahman, Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia’s eldest son, the latest rising scion of South Asia.

There’s little extraordinary about Hawa Bhaban, where Tarek Rahman resides. It’s a nondescript two-storey building located in Dhaka’s posh residential quarters of Banani. And yet Hawa Bhaban invariably surfaces in discussions in drawing rooms, in restaurants, at public places of any importance.

Even the media has started to openly talk of the enormous clout Hawa Bhaban has over the government. Last week, for instance, the daily Janakantha reported on Hawa Bhaban’s interference in deciding the name of the new cabinet secretary, the country’s highest-ranking bureaucrat.

"You can’t do any business without giving a share to Hawa Bhaban," thundered ex-PM Sheikh Hasina at a recent public meeting. Sensing the...



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